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Ellen

  • 20
  • reviews
  • 58
  • helpful votes
  • 58
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  • The Great Alone

  • By: Kristin Hannah
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,925
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,910
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,809

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: He will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Long, Hard Slog Through Endless Despair and Heartache

  • By Morro Schreiber on 04-11-18

If you liked Nightingale, don't bother with this

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

Reviewed: 02-18-18

Within the first 10 minutes of listening, Ms Hannah managed to insert a dozen ancient cliches. When I got to Leni's description of her father as "movie-star handsome" I'd had enough. This author had --insert your own cliche here--: phoned it in? rested on her laurels? published the book she'd actually written in high school? At that point I gave up. An author who gives her readers that little credit doesn't deserve readers who read closely and care.

  • LaRose

  • A Novel
  • By: Louise Erdrich
  • Narrated by: Louise Erdrich
  • Length: 14 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,115
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,026
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,014

North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence - but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he's hit something else, a blur he saw as he squeezed the trigger. When he staggers closer, he realizes he has killed his neighbor's five-year-old son, Dusty Ravich.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story; wonderful narration by the author.

  • By sgonk on 08-22-16

An exception to the rule

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

Reviewed: 04-06-17

I've been reading Louise Erdrich for 25+ years, always with deep interest and delight. LARose continues that experience .
I used to have a rule, never to listen to a recorded book read by the author, so often did the author-read books disappoint. Here's the exception.

  • Inside the O'Briens

  • A Novel
  • By: Lisa Genova
  • Narrated by: Skipp Sudduth
  • Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,074
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 960
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 959

Joe O'Brien is a 44-year-old Boston police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, a proud father of four children in their 20s, and a respected, seasoned law enforcement officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As a person at risk for HD

  • By Stephen Rasmussen on 04-18-15

Huntington's disease primer masquerading as novel.

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

Reviewed: 06-07-15

This was less a novel than an attempt to increase awareness of the terrifying causes and symptoms of Huntington's Disease. While that increased awareness is a worthy goal, it does NOT make for even a decent novel. Characters are one dimensional and utterly predictable and the author takes the easy way out at the end. SPOILER: in the very last scene a character who has been conflicted about finding out whether or not she was gene-positive reaches for the envelope that will give her this information.....and the book ends there. Really? Poorly written, poorly narrated; the only thing that redeems this book is that it brings to light the ravages of this disease. I'd rather have read about the disease in a doctor's office pamphlet.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Weight of Silence

  • By: Heather Gudenkauf
  • Narrated by: Jim Colby, Eliza Foss, Cassandra Morris, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,138
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,875
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,875

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A jewel

  • By Sara W on 07-17-10

If you're a fan of predictable plots, go for it!

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

Reviewed: 05-23-14

Where to begin? After listening to 20 minutes of this novel, the listener is able to chart out, in minute detail, everything that is to occur. Characters are all stick-figures: one dimensional, predictable. Narration fares no better. The female narrators read in such a saccharine manner that it is almost unbearable, while all the male readers sound like junior high school students reading aloud for the first time in front of their class. Nothing can save this novel. I bought it on the strength of the reviews and was very disappointed. The writing is so bad that in comparison it makes even a mediocre author like Jodi Picoult look like Dostoevsky. Stay away!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Round House

  • A Novel
  • By: Louise Erdrich
  • Narrated by: Gary Farmer
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,189
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,911
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,915

One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and 13-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • MADE THE LISTS OF BEST BOOKS!

  • By Tony on 01-14-13

Buy this title if you can stand the narrator....

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

Reviewed: 02-06-13

Erdrich is one of my very favorite authors, so I looked forward to listening to The Round House. The narration was extremely odd and halting, almost as if the narrator had just recently learned to read. The wrong words in a sentence were emphasized, the pace was inconsistent, and it was very distracting. I strongly recommend The Round House, but even more strongly recommend that you buy the actual book and read it, not listen to it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

It audiobook cover art
  • It

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Steven Weber
  • Length: 44 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,878
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,273
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,282

They were just kids when they stumbled upon the horror of their hometown. Now, as adults, none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them all back to Derry, Maine, to face the nightmare without end, and the evil without a name.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I thought I was desensitized

  • By Parola138 on 02-19-11

annoying narration

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

Reviewed: 01-16-13

The story is about what I expected and wanted as a diversion. However, Weber's narration seldom drops below frantic, loud, obnoxious yelling, and I found myself sometimes yanking my earphone out when I couldn't stand it anymore.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Unorthodox

  • The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots
  • By: Deborah Feldman
  • Narrated by: Rachel Botchan
  • Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 577
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 490
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 491

In this captivating memoir, Deborah Feldman takes listeners on an eye-opening journey into Orthodox Jewish culture. Raised in the suffocating world of Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidim, Feldman was told what to read and who she was allowed to talk to. Married off at 17, she suffered from anxiety and was shamed by an inability to please her older husband. But after giving birth to a son at age 19, Feldman realized it was time to tear up her roots and make her own path in life.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A one-sided glimpse into a secretive world

  • By Ella on 03-10-12

Unremarkable

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

Reviewed: 07-30-12

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I found the narrator's baby-ish voice very annoying and will try to avoid her in the future.

What could Deborah Feldman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The story needs a better( and more insightful) author. Potentially an engaging tale, the book's prose is on the level of a good high-school/freshman composition writer and thus disappoints.

Technique aside, there were huge chunks of the story that the author simply did not deal with: at some point the author indicated that although she was considering leaving the marriage, it would be impossible to take her son with her due to the objections that her husband would certainly voice. Then all of a sudden she's moved out with--with her son--and we never hear anything about her interaction with the husband on the subject. There were several such inconsistencies.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The timbre of her voice seemed too childish/childlike; not well suited to narrating anything other than kids' books. I found it affected and grating.

You didn???t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

For someone unfamiliar with the customs of the Orthodox I think it would probably be an interesting read. As a Jewish reader (although not an Orthodox one) I was still hoping to gain some insights into this branch of Judaism, but that didn't happen.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Forgotten Country

  • By: Catherine Chung
  • Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
  • Length: 9 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25

On the night Janie waits for her sister Hannah to be born, her grandmother tells her a story: Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, their family has lost a daughter in every generation, so Janie is charged with keeping Hannah safe. As time passes, Janie hears more stories, while facts remain unspoken. Her father tells tales about numbers, and in his stories everything works out. In her mother's, deer explode in fields, frogs bury their loved ones in the ocean, and girls jump from cliffs and fall like flowers into the sea. Within all these stories are warnings.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Tedious story; annoying narrator

  • By Ellen on 05-28-12

Tedious story; annoying narrator

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

Reviewed: 05-28-12

What disappointed you about Forgotten Country?

Almost everything disappointed me about this novel. I rarely fail to be engaged by a book, but I cared nothing about the characters, their challenges, their goals, their present or past or future. It was agonizingly repetitive and drawn out.

Would you ever listen to anything by Catherine Chung again?

No.

How could the performance have been better?

By selecting another narrator. For some unfathomable reason, the narrator chose to portray the main male character (the father) in a voice that was pitched 2 octaves higher than any of the female characters. Worst narrator I think I've encountered in my audible.com history

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I only struggled through it because I had no other book to listen to at the moment.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Moonlight Mile

  • By: Dennis Lehane
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 536
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 381
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 381

Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood 12 years ago. Kenzie and Gennaro risked everything to find the young girl - only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home. Now Amanda is sixteen - and gone again. Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most. Their search leads them into a world of identity thieves, methamphetamine dealers, and more....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Endurance

  • By Stephen on 02-24-15

Decent storyline; distracting narrator

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-19-10

Lehane is one of the best in the genre; this is NOT the best of his works. The plot was a bit contrived and all of the characters except for Patrick and Angela were not fleshed out sufficiently.
The narrator was trying--I think---to produce a Boston accent, but it wasn't consistent and often he sounded British rather than 'Southie'. As a Boston native, I found this distracting.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Lit

  • A Memoir
  • By: Mary Karr
  • Narrated by: Mary Karr
  • Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 698
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 475
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 475

Lit follows Mary Karr's descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness - and her astonishing resurrection. Karr's longing for a solid family seems secure when her marriage to a handsome, Shakespeare-quoting poet produces a son they adore. But she can't outrun her apocalyptic past. She drinks herself into the same numbness that nearly devoured her charismatic but troubled mother, reaching the brink of suicide. A hair-raising stint in "The Mental Marriott" awakens her to the possibility of joy, and leads her to an unlikely faith.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Compelling.

  • By Pamela Harvey on 01-30-10

Rule #1: Authors should not narrate their own work

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-10

Mary Karr's is not an unfamiliar nor unsympathetic story: a poet/wife/mother/alcoholic struggles with her disease while trying to manage her life. Often witty, sometimes downright funny, and certainly well written, the volume suffers from lack of editing; we get anecdote after anecdote of Karr getting drunk, managing to find her way home and berating herself. Rinse and Repeat. It gets tiring and tiresome. In terms of listening, I stand by my conviction that it is the VERY rare author who reads his/her work well. The narration is unpolished and at times halting. If you must read this book, I'd buy it in paper.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful