LISTENER

A. A. Baldwin

Fort Smith, AR USA
  • 32
  • reviews
  • 162
  • helpful votes
  • 70
  • ratings
  • The Alice Network

  • A Novel
  • By: Kate Quinn
  • Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
  • Length: 15 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,846
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,448
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,359

In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • We are standing on the shoulders of giants...

  • By Marie on 02-25-18

Interwoven stories of war and the results of war

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

Reviewed: 01-15-18

I've read some very good books lately but this one was completely gripping. I did not want to stop. It jumps between World War I and post World War II, tying together the lives of several people in post-war Europe including an aging former spy, a pregnant young college student, and an ex-con with a love for automobiles. And that's just for starters. Almost everyone has lost someone in one or both of the wars and almost everyone is dealing with loss and grief. That doesn't sound exciting, but it is.

The story line switches back and forth from WWI to present day 1947 effortlessly, weaving the stories that bring together this unlikely trio trying to right wrongs and uncover secrets, or keep them covered, as may be. Every character has flaws but also has wonderful strengths in time of need.

A beautiful story of retribution and redemption, of death and life. I think anyone who reads this will enjoy it very much.

The narrator, Saskia Maarleveld, is very good.

  • The Teeth of the Tiger

  • By: Tom Clancy
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
  • Length: 16 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,602
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,039
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,045

Charged with spotting terrorist threats, the top-secret "Campus" has its hands full when Middle East thugs and Colombian drug lords join forces. New Campus recruits include Jack Ryan Jr., son of master spy John Patrick Ryan, now President.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • NOT CLANCY'S BEST

  • By John on 08-08-04

Good but, too many repeated segments.

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

Reviewed: 03-31-17

Great book! Good performance by Stephen Hoye. There has been at least 10 segments where blocks of 30 seconds of reading were repeated. Please edit these out!

  • The Left Hand of Darkness

  • By: Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,325
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,123
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,124

A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can change their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Almost 50 and still amazing

  • By kwdayboise (Kim Day) on 06-07-17

Many themes that are applicable to today's world

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

Reviewed: 03-01-17

So, this is one of those sci-fi books everyone should read. It's the second I've read in the Hainish Cycle but they aren't really a series just seemingly,ever so loosely, very loosely connected, at least for the two I've read so far. But they are both fantastic reads (the other I have read is The Dispossessed which is equally good but totally different.

The Left Hand of Darkness is a story of first contact, not in the traditional science fiction "first aliens to show up on earth" sort of way, but with the first humans making contact with another very distance planet and its peoples sort of way.

The planet alone is so different from what we are used to and the people are so very different in the way they think and live (not really different much physically or in the sorts of jobs they do and what not).

While reading this book, you'll be thinking on deep questions, some of which might be very timely these days, including,
- What is gender?
- What is patriotism?
- What is cold?
- What is monarchy?

The subject of refugees comes up a few times and it made me think even more about the current refugee situation we have here on earth. The subject of patriotism is mentioned several times and requires the reader to reflect on what this really is and how it shapes us.

This book was published before my fifth birthday and I am now over fifty, yet the themes feel like they fit right into many of society's current conundrums. Of course, some themes are clearly universal.

Have I mentioned that it is beautifully written? I actually listened to this as an audiobook from Audible and the narrator, George Guildall, is excellent.

If you have any interest at all in the human condition, in the interaction between people, and in deeper intertwined themes of diplomacy, refugees, patriotism, and brotherhood, then you should read this book. If you are breathing, then you should read this book or listen to the audiobook.

124 of 131 people found this review helpful

  • Fluency

  • By: Jennifer Foehner Wells
  • Narrated by: Susanna Burney
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,710
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,556
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,562

NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960's. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it. Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it's an adventure she can't refuse.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Fluency is anything but fluent

  • By D. Backshall on 07-15-17

Awesome female protagonist in space mission! YES!

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

Reviewed: 03-15-16

This book was strange and fun and creative and enjoyable. So, it starts with the typical NASA needs an astronaut with some special language skills so they go looking and find one and then it becomes all about the mission, and how this language expert fits in and her job, more of less, on the mission, which is very important.

Because it's a space mission, the number of characters is pretty small because How many people can you pack into a space capsule or rocket or whatever thing you are sending them in? Really? So keeping up with them isn't very hard.

Without including anything to tip off the main points, let me just say that the language skills the expert needs to develop are pretty cool and unique and the beings they encounter are also very different. The premise is plausible, as well, which is pretty cool.

This was a very enjoyable book. I listened to it on Audible, and the narrator, Susanna Burney, is very good. I think this book would be even better read rather than listened to, though, because I think I would like to SEE the way the unfamiliar works are spelled and so forth, so I plan to read (again) it in a few months.

The sequel to this novel was published this week, so that is going on the Spring break reading list!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Curse of Chalion

  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Lloyd James
  • Length: 18 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,130
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,903
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,909

Amidst the decaying splendor and poisonous intrigue of Chalion's ancient capital, Cazaril is forced to confront not only powerful enemies but also the malignant curse that clings to the royal household, trapping him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death for as long as he dares walk the five-fold pathway of the gods.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What makes a hero... LMB knows

  • By Terri on 04-12-12

Fantastic opening to a series

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

Reviewed: 01-21-16

In the last couple of months I have read all of Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. I am not sure what I expected in this totally different book/series (fantasy not sci-fi, to begin with, otherwise I had no idea) but it is awesome. The main character is multi-faceted and interesting and the story is told from his sometimes troubled and confused viewpoint, which changes over time as he learns more about what is really going on.

Once again, I am enthralled by Bujold's creativity and her gift with the written word. The fantasy and magic elements are really cool but not overly bizarre. Accordingly, the fictional world's religion is quite unique and interesting, as well. This story includes plenty of heroes and villains, good and evil, endeavors successful and unsuccessful, and events ordinary and extraordinary. It has vengeance, love, hate, hope, and despair, not necessarily in equal portions.

I listened to the audiobook via Audible. The narrator, Lloyd James, does a fantastic job.

  • Paladin of Souls

  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 16 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,074
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,203
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,216

Three years have passed since the widowed Dowager Royina Ista found release from the curse of madness that kept her imprisoned in her family's castle of Valenda. Her newfound freedom is costly, bittersweet with memories, regrets, and guilty secrets, for she knows the truth of what brought her land to the brink of destruction. And now the road, escape, beckons...A simple pilgrimage, perhaps. Quite fitting for the Dowager Royina of Chalion.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Sequel

  • By Dave S on 04-02-05

Beautiful writing, strong complex female lead

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

Reviewed: 01-21-16

This second book in the Chalion series picks up a bit after the previous book (The Curse of Chalion) leaves off. The focus, however, is on the dowager Rowena Ista (sort of the queen mother) and her own adventure in middle age, some of it extremely unwillingly after so much turmoil in her younger years (as mentioned in the previous book). A number of the previous characters appear here but she is the focus and many new characters are folded in. It is a sort of coming of age story but not for a young person, rather for a middle-aged person who is discovering her new purpose in life.

It is beautifully written and covers all the emotions and actions that can be imagined in a fantasy world of strange four and five godhead religion and powerful but strange magic. It was a joy to listen to the audiobook via Audible. Since the story is told from the female protagonist's view, the narrator is different from the excellent male narrator of the first novel in the series. Kate Reading delivers a fantastic read, indeed.

  • Winterfair Gifts

  • A Vorkosigan Adventure
  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 2 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,419
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,002
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,010

In the festive season of Winterfair on the planet Barrayar, Lord Miles Vorkosigan is making elaborate preparations for his wedding. The long-awaited event stirs up romance and intrigue among his eccentric family and friends, particularly for bioengineered space mercenary Sergeant Taura and shy, diffident Armsman Roic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really Enjoyed

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-30-09

Novella with more romance than sci-fi

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

Reviewed: 01-02-16

This is a novella about Miles and Ekaterin's wedding, and about some of the secondary characters, as well. It's short but interesting. It's more romance than sci-fi, really, although there is some suspense and an evil plot afoot, for sure.

It's lighter fare than the usual Vorkosigan adventure, but tasty.

The narrator of the audiobook, Grover Gardner, is very good. It's about 2.5 hours in length.

  • A Civil Campaign

  • A Miles Vorkosigan Novel
  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 18 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,960
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,319
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,331

Lord Miles Vorkosigan has a problem that all his new power can't solve: unrequited love for the beautiful Vor widow Ekaterin Vorsoisson. Ekaterin is violently allergic to marriage as a result of her first exposure. But, as Miles learned from his late career in galactic covert ops, if a frontal assault won't do, go to subterfuge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bujold does Jane Austen--nicely

  • By David on 10-16-09

A clash of politics, intrigue, and romance...

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

Reviewed: 01-02-16

So, finally a Miles adventure that is not all about mercenaries, shooting, kidnapping, and so forth, but more about Barrayaran history and politics, hereditary wheeling and dealing, the council of counts, medical ethics, and romance.

Of course, the emperor's impending wedding is central, as expected. So, almost all the action takes place in the capital of Barrayar, Vorbar Sultana.

Yes, indeed, this is a bit different from the usual, but still very Miles... and Mark... and Vorkosigan. But with a bit more romance and comedy mixed in with the usual intrigue. Parts of it are hilarious!

I listened to this book via the Audible app and the narrator, Grover Gardner, is awesome.

  • Barrayar

  • A Vorkosigan Adventure
  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,312
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,748
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,746

In the wake of interplanetary war, former commander Cordelia Naismith has deserted her own planet to marry the leader of the defeated enemy, Aral Vorkosigan. On his home planet of Barrayar, two rival factions are eyeing the recently vacated throne, and Aral, recently appointed Regent of Barrayar by the Emperor on his deathbed, must stand between them. Lord and Lady Vorkosigan, Aral and Cordelia struggle to establish stability in a fragile government thrown into confusion by the transition of power.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lois Bujold always delivers!

  • By Karen S. Coyle on 02-04-10

Awesome sci-fi: strong characters, male and female

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

Reviewed: 12-09-15

I loved this whole book. Seriously. I liked the previous (chronologically) book but it had a few things that annoyed me. This one, however, was just right. Lots of action, lots of weird cultural things to learn about, both Barrayaran and Betan), further development of a number of characters from the previous book and a few new ones, weird technology, crazy politics and military shenanigans, outdoorsy action, just the whole gamut of interesting plots and places. This book made me laugh and cry and both shocked and amazed me, at times.

By the end of this book, the reader knows quite a bit about Barrayar, its culture and history and so forth. The reader learns along with the protagonist, Cornelia. We also learn about Cornelia's home, the Betan colony, through contrasts in technology, culture, beliefs, and behavior become apparent.

I listened to this book on audible, mostly, and read parts as well. The narrater, Grover Gardner, is excellent.

I can't wait to move on to the next book in the series chronology.

  • Coming Clean

  • By: Kimberly Rae Miller
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Rae Miller
  • Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,599
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,246
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,251

Kim Miller is an immaculately put-together woman with a great career, a loving boyfriend, and a tidy apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. You would never guess that Kim grew up behind the closed doors of her family’s idyllic Long Island house, navigating between teetering stacks of aging newspapers, broken computers, and boxes upon boxes of unused junk festering in every room - the product of her father’s painful and unending struggle with hoarding. In this moving coming-of-age story, Kim brings to life her rat-infested home and her childhood consumed by concealing her father’s shameful secret from friends.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It's Like a Car Wreck...

  • By Elisabeth on 02-09-14

Surviving and emerging from a hoarding childhood

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

Reviewed: 10-26-15

The author recounts her childhood growing up in a household of hoarders. She describes not only the physical state and difficulties, but the mental state and emotional difficulties, as well as the many ways she tried to cope. At times it's a dark story, of course, but through it all, it was clear her parents, no matter what their limitations, did love her, regardless.