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  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

  • By: Anne Brontë
  • Narrated by: Mary Sarah Agliotta
  • Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 364
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 326
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 325

Probably the most shocking of the Brontës' novels, this novel had an instant and phenomenal success and is widely considered to be one of the first sustained feminist novels. A mysterious widow, Mrs. Helen Graham, arrives at Wildfell Hall, a nearby old mansion. A source of curiosity for the small community, the reticent Helen and her young son Arthur are slowly drawn into the social circles of the village.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A good story ruined by the narrator

  • By i. Ski on 04-17-14

Comedy Gold

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-05-19

In ignorance, I bought several low-priced classics, not realizing that the narrator was so bad. At first I was angry, but after a while, it became quite amusing. Ms Agliotta reads so quickly, it sounds like I have my speed set on 1.5 x the normal speed. But the funny part is her utter inability to pronounce so many words. For example, the word "oblige" occurs frequently in this work. She inexplicably pronounces it as though it's spelled "oblage." It's not because she can't pronounce a long i, because when she came across the word "piqued," she pronounced it "piked." I burst out laughing when she stumbled over the word "ennui" (EN-yoo-ee). But perhaps the best mispronunciation was when she mentioned a "drought horse." What on earth is a drought horse? I thought. Then I realized she was talking about a "draught horse."

Anyway, the novel is quite good. But I'm afraid I cannot recommend the narrator, no matter how much cheaper this version is. The only possible exception is if you're a rather raucous middle-aged book club reading the classics together. If so, here's a fun suggestion: You could make a drinking game out of Mary Sarah's blunders.

  • Hard Country

  • A Novel
  • By: Michael McGarrity
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,374
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,273
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,262

National best-selling author and New Mexico native Michael McGarrity takes listeners to the wild territory of the late 19th-century American Southwest for this epic tale. After the deaths of his wife and brother, John Kerney gives up his West Texas ranch and heads south in search of a new home. Soon Kerney is offered work trailing cattle to the New Mexico Territory - a job that will forever change his life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A fine tribute to New Mexico

  • By Nancy on 07-03-12

Grim

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-13-18

Each page grimmer than the one before it. If you really enjoy cruel, depressing novels. This one's for you.

The grizzled old voice doing the narrating was better than the story he read. But that's not saying much.

  • The Hike

  • By: Drew Magary
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,871
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,642
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,631

When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike. Once he sets out into the woods behind his hotel, he quickly comes to realize that the path he has chosen cannot be given up easily. With no choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself falling deeper and deeper into a world of man-eating giants, bizarre demons, and colossal insects.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best ending I can remember

  • By David on 05-08-17

Meaningful

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-09-18

The Hike seemed quite shallow in the beginning—rather like a Stephen King wannabe. But in the end it was quite meaningful. The final twist was amazing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Book of Lost Things

  • By: John Connolly
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,001
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,742
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,741

High in his attic bedroom, 12-year-old David mourns the loss of his mother. He is angry and he is alone, with only the books on his shelf for company.But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness, and as he takes refuge in the myths and fairytales so beloved of his dead mother, he finds that the real world and the fantasy world have begun to meld. The Crooked Man has come, with his mocking smile and his enigmatic words: "Welcome, your majesty. All hail the new king."

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • For Those Who Enjoy Playing with Fairytales

  • By alison on 01-06-13

Surprisingly Good

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-09-18

At a few points nearer the beginning, I was prepared to 2- or 3-star this one. But The Book of Lost Things grew on me. Connolly is a good writer and Crossley an excellent narrator.

The plot is gripping and though it seems at first to be for children, it turns out to be much more mature both in detail and in message. The author's re-telling of fables and fairytales is disturbing, but in a way that most readers like to be disturbed.

The main character's love for books was evident throughout the story. But what was touching in the end was the power of one particular book to keep a character who'd sold a big part of his soul from entirely losing his humanity.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Pirate Hunter

  • By: Richard Zacks
  • Narrated by: Michael Prichard
  • Length: 18 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 841
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 521
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 526

Captain Kidd has gone down in history as America's most ruthless buccaneer. However, Captain William Kidd was no career cut-throat; he was a tough, successful New York sea captain who was hired to chase pirates. Across the oceans of the world, the pirate hunter, Kidd, pursued the pirate, Culliford. One man would hang in the harbor; the other would walk away with the treasure. The Pirate Hunter is both a masterpiece of historical detective work and a page-turner.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Aaaargh Matey, Listen to this tale!

  • By Karen on 04-20-04

Poorly Written

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-09-18

This book was bizarre in that it ended in the middle with Kidd's death, and then started again. I'm not saying that it appeared to end, and then appeared to start again. I'm saying it literally said The End, half way through the book, then continued by starting all over from very near the beginning, and telling the story again.

It was poorly written in many other ways as well. Here's an actual quote from the book: “In this calm, the enemies were stuck in an endless battle, like boxers during a round with no end.” The writer also unnecessarily fell into stereotypes of women, ethnic groups, and adherents to certain religions. For example, it's one thing to quote a 17th century figure referring to island women as "dark-skinned lovelies," but it's entirely another use that term not as a quotation, but using the writer's own 21st century voice.

Speaking of voices, Prichard's was good, but the breaths he took at the end of sentences and phrases sounded so unhealthy as to be distracting.

I appreciate knowing more now than I did about William Kidd. I was just not fond of this particular audiobook.

  • Unwholly

  • By: Neal Shusterman
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,402
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,261
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,264

Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simultaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Adding Parts to the Greater Sum

  • By Dubi on 06-07-17

What Is a Person?

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-15-18

This book is a worthy sequel to the first book in the series. It digs deeper into the themes of existence and personhood. Just as in today's political landscape, the notion that corporations are people with more rights than actual people makes its ugly appearance here. And there's a Frankenstein sort of theme happening as well.

This book is intense, and I'll need a bit of a break before I start the next in the series.

Daniels, by the way, is a good narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Baker's Secret

  • A Novel
  • By: Stephen P. Kiernan
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,643
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,364
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,353

Only 22, Emma learned to bake at the side of a master, Ezra Kuchen, the village baker since before she was born. Apprenticed to Ezra at 13, Emma watched with shame and anger as her kind mentor was forced to wear the six-pointed yellow star on his clothing. She was likewise powerless to help when they pulled Ezra from his shop at gunpoint, the first of many villagers stolen away and never seen again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Help is really on the way

  • By Georgia on 07-15-17

Worth a Listen

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-08-18

Cassandra Campbell's narration was perhaps the best thing about this book. She voiced Emma, the main character, perfectly, and her French accent was effective while still being perfectly easy to understand. Also, the tempo at which she read was appropriate.

The book itself was quite good, but there were a few things about it that drove me crazy. The main one was the seemingly adolescent treatment of the village priest and religion itself. It seemed the author had a bone to pick with people of faith, and the portrayal of the priest at the beginning proved unfair by the end. And the other criticism I'll share was the two-dimensional nature of most of the characters—really, all of them except Emma. They often seemed to be little more than stereotypes of people than real people. Even Emma herself came off as a bit wooden for most of the book.

Even taking the criticisms into consideration, The Baker's Secret is still very good.

  • Turtles All the Way Down

  • By: John Green
  • Narrated by: Kate Rudd
  • Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,466
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,895
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,893

It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly small amount of actual turtles.

  • By Meg on 11-03-17

Not Satisfying in the End

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-07-18

Of course I wanted resolution in the end. And of course there wasn't really resolution. I know this book wasn't written for my demographic, by the way.

Green, as always, does an excellent job of getting into a teenager's mind and saying what needs to be said. There is, in fact, quite a lot of good stuff in here. And he does a great job incorporating actual literature into the body of the book.

But I like happy endings, and this just didn't qualify.

Kate Rudd did a near perfect job, though.

  • Confessions: Robbie

  • Confessions Series, Book 1
  • By: Ella Frank
  • Narrated by: Charlie David
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 292
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 279
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 277

Relationships are complex. Love is ever-changing. And when it comes to rules of the heart, they were made to be broken. That's what Robert Antonio Bianchi was telling himself, anyway. Otherwise, he really had no excuse for what - or who - he'd done. If there was a bad decision to be made, Robbie always had a knack for making it. And thus, begins the story of the priest, the princess, and the prick. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Loved the book, hate the audio

  • By njgrl on 12-19-18

Not for Me

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-28-18

Sorry, but I just can't get into novels in which a gay man is portrayed so effeminately. Guys who wear red onesies with pompoms or pink thongs are just a huge turn-off.

Also, the author made extensive use of French. Fine. I minored in French. but the average reader didn't

Which brings me to the final thing: The narrator didn't speak French and totally butchered it. Not to mention he didn't seem to know where to put the stress on any of the words in English. But kudos for making the effeminate main character sound as feminine as possible!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies

  • By: Robert J. Allison, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert J. Allison
  • Length: 18 hrs and 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 538
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 479
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 481

The history of colonial America is a story of extraordinary scope, with Europeans, Africans, and the native peoples of North America interacting in a drama of settlement and conflict that lasted nearly three centuries. Go back in time and relive this epic story in 36 spellbinding lectures. While concentrating on British North America, Professor Allison also covers developments in the colonial outposts of Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the all-important British possessions in the West Indies, which were the source of the most lucrative crop in the New World - sugar - and the reason for the enormous growth in the slave trade.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Subject Matter is wonderful, Narrator no so much

  • By Jeremy Tillman on 02-25-15

Worst. Lectures. Ever.

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-25-18

Allison could not possibly sound more bored as he drones on about his misconceptions about colonial America. You'd think such fanciful inventions would get him more excited. But whatever.

He introduces his subject matter by talking to us about "language families" and informs us that both Hindi and Persian were, and I kid you not, both GERMANIC languages. It went downhill from here.

He seems unbothered by the European treatment of Africans and indigenous Americans (whom he insists upon calling "Indians" throughout these lectures—even though he admitted early on that this was an insulting term). It's important, he says, that we not force our modern sensibilities on 16th and 17th century minds.

But then he does precisely that throughout the lectures when discussing New England. While atrocities in other parts of the Americas were fine, apparently, anything negative about New England was highlighted, discussed, and laid at the feet of the "Congregationalists." This became particularly frustrating in two places.

In one, Allison quoted Gov. Berkeley of Virginia as being an admirer of New England. He'd like, he said, to create a New England in Virginia but without the Puritans. Allison interjected, quite unnecessarily here, that he didn't blame Berkeley for this sentiment. But then goes immediately from agreeing that Puritans are horrible people and that he agreed with Gov. Berkeley to quoting Berkeley's reasons for hating the Puritans. Was it their intolerance? By no means. It was their commitment to free education and to printing books. So Allison, supposedly a PhD from Harvard, takes the side of the bigot who's against education and books over the people who are committed to education and literacy.

In another lecture, Allison discusses the New Englanders' rebellion against Old England when they had their charter taken away, and were denied representative government, a say in their own taxation, and their right to gather as communities to discuss their own affairs. Throughout this lecture, he somehow presented the New Englanders as being unreasonable, and the colonizing power as being wronged by these horrible people who wanted a say in their own affairs. Why? Because they were Congregationalists.

One final thing I'll mention from closer to the end of the lectures, he criticized the New Englanders for trying to change the customs of the indigenous peoples (remember, he calls them "Indians") and said this was something the French and the Spanish didn't do. Then immediately says that the French and the Spanish actually did do this, but his point had already been made: Oppressing the indigenous peoples (i.e. "Indians") was fine as long as you weren't Protestant.

Obviously somewhere along the way this professor had a run-in with Congregationalists, and has devoted his life to insulting them. If you, too, hate them, then this series of lectures is for you. Otherwise, you might want to avoid this misnamed "Great Course"—or do you really want to trust a "scholar" who thinks that Hindi and Persian are Germanic languages?

0 of 1 people found this review helpful