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Mary Smiroldo

Corrales, NM
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  • 197
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  • 84
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  • That Churchill Woman

  • A Novel
  • By: Stephanie Barron
  • Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 40

 The Paris Wife meets PBS’s Victoria in this enthralling novel of the life and loves of one of history’s most remarkable women: Winston Churchill’s scandalous American mother, Jennie Jerome. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful piece of Historical fiction

  • By Paul W. Freely on 03-15-19

Weak

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

Reviewed: 02-26-19

Reading and learning about historical figures is something I very much enjoy. I especially like hearing the “back story,” of famous people from the point of view of the wife, daughter, a maid, or other Involved person. “First Daughter,” is an excellent example, relating the role of Thomas Jefferson’s daughter and her influence in his political career. Another is “Jules and Julia,” the wife of Ulysses S. Grant, and her maid.
“The Churchill Woman,” however, is not in the same category. The writing, and especially the narration, fall far short of either of these. The story of Jenny Churchill turned into a cheap characterization of her romantic affairs, and very little about the part she played in the life of her son, Winston. At times, I became confused as to whether the title referred to Winston’s mother or grandmother! If the title had been “The Churchill Women,” it would have been much more appropriate.
In fact, a three part book about his grandmother, mother, and wife, and their influence on Winston’s life would have been much more interesting. Maybe I should write one!
My last comment concerns the narrator. I know Saskia Maarleveld narrates many novels. Fortunately, I have only listened to only two of them. Her voice is raspy and grates on my nerves, but because I wanted to hear the story, I tried to endure it. Her male voices are exactly the same, and, in a word, awful! I usually do not enjoy multiple voices narrating a book, but, in this case, it would have been extremely preferable. I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone.


3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Weight of Ink

  • By: Rachel Kadish
  • Narrated by: Corrie James
  • Length: 23 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,589
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,411
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,405

Set in the London of the 1660s and of the early 21st century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city, and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. As the novel opens, Helen has been summoned by a former student to view a cache of 17th-century Jewish documents newly discovered in his home during a renovation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Compelling characters question life choices, ethics, religious rules, love and desire

  • By CHRISTINE on 11-02-17

In Depth

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

Reviewed: 01-30-19

Jewish history in depth! For the true Jewish historians, this book will delight you. Had I known the extreme detail with which this audiobook delves into very early Jewish history, I may have chosen differently. Not that the history is uninteresting to me, I often felt lost not really understanding what was historical, and what was fiction. I will say that the book was extremely well written and researched, and the narration was impeccable. Had it not been for Corrie James’s command of so many languages and dialects, I would have most likely given up. In fact, there were several times I almost did! The characters were very believable, although I had little attraction to any of them. The story itself was interesting, but it was much too drawn out. During the last several hours I found myself checking to see how much time was left.

  • The Almost Sisters

  • A Novel
  • By: Joshilyn Jackson
  • Narrated by: Joshilyn Jackson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,771
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,671
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,664

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy - an unexpected but not unhappy development in the 38-year-old's life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My new favorite Joshilyn Jackson!

  • By Jenna Walker on 07-23-17

Entertaining

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

Reviewed: 01-19-19

I have read all of Joshilyn Jackson’s novels, so I was delighted to find this one. Although entertaining, I am not a big fan of comic books, superhero stories or movies (sorry). I was less attached to the main character because of this, and found my mind wondering when the story delved into the comic book episodes. The essence of the story was uplifting and full of hope, thus worthy of four stars. Still, I look forward to Jackson’s next novel with her lovely descriptions of the south, it’s customs and traditions. Being a Southerner myself, my mouth begins to water with the food of my family described in all it’s glory!

  • Virgin Earth

  • Tradescant Novels, Book 2
  • By: Philippa Gregory
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 25 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47

As England descends into civil war, John Tradescant the Younger, gardener to King Charles I, finds his loyalties in question, his status an ever-growing danger to his family. Fearing royal defeat and determined to avoid serving the rebels, John escapes to the royalist colony of Virginia, a land bursting with fertility that stirs his passion for botany. Only the native American peoples understand the forest, and John is drawn to their way of life just as they come into fatal conflict with the colonial settlers.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A Big Rotten Apple of a Book

  • By Eva Gannon on 12-29-18

Disappointed!

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

Reviewed: 01-12-19

I have read all of Philippa Gregory’s novels over the years, and I waited impatiently for the release of this one. However, I was deeply disappointed. I enjoyed the subject matter since I am an avid gardener, and did come away with a greater appreciation for the value of rare plants. But...more than once, I found my mind wondering, especially during John’s time with the native Americans. I always take special notice of the extensive historical research that is evident in Gregory’s work. The inaccuracies involving the behavior of this particular Indian tribe (or any true American Indian tribe of that period), was apparent throughout those segments of the book! It was especially unnerving when the Indian braves are chanting “ E AGLE, E AGLE!”They may as well have been shouting “Awesome, Dude!” It came off as very modern slang, which has no place in this time period! Then, after 20+ hours of listening, (SPOILER ALERT), the ending was so weak and incredibly ridiculous, I was really sorry I wasted my time! Hopefully, Gregory will get back to the brilliant writing for which she is known! There must me more tantalizing stories about Henry VIII, his court, the Boleyn family, etc., that we have come to love through Philippa Gregory’s writing. I’ll be waiting!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Ragged Edge of Night

  • By: Olivia Hawker
  • Narrated by: Nick Sandys, Olivia Hawker
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 721
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 615
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 612

Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage - in name only - to a man who can help raise her three children. Anton seeks something too - atonement for failing to protect his young students from the wrath of the Nazis. But neither he nor Elisabeth expects their lives to be shaken once again by the inescapable rumble of war. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Ragged Edge of Night must be made into a movie

  • By M. King on 10-04-18

A True Story!

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

Reviewed: 11-13-18

Not until the author’s note at the end of this incredible story did I realize it had actually happened. However, long before the author’s comments, I had already begun to draw some amazing and frightening parallels between the Reich’s leadership, and the actions and damaging rhetoric we are, as Americans, enduring since the 2016 election. Some of the earlier reviewers of this novel seem to be unable to recognize the analogous conflicts of then and now. The Ragged Edge of Night is a well told and well performed story that gives us hope and even courage to do better and be better even when those in power threaten our very way of life.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Haunting of Hill House

  • By: Shirley Jackson
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,669
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4,258
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,266

Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well written horror tale

  • By Crystal on 02-11-14

Awful!

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

Reviewed: 11-01-18

That pretty much sums it up! The only redeeming feature was the narrator. Ridiculous story. Didn’t make any sense. A total waste of time and credit!

  • The Masterpiece

  • A Novel
  • By: Fiona Davis
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 381
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 357
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 355

For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different. For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future. It is 1928, and 25-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public's disdain for a "woman artist". Nearly 50 years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay's life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If you want a novel that has everything...

  • By Debra Jo on 09-10-18

Boring!

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

Reviewed: 10-29-18

Finally stopped listening with 3 long, boring hours to go. I kept waiting for something to happen, but it just droned on and on. Cassandra Campbell is a highly rated narrator, but I have never understood why. She has a sing- song voice that I find unbearable irritating. Her voice combined with a terribly boring story....it’s unbelievable that I lasted so long.

  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz

  • A Novel
  • By: Heather Morris
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4,569
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,183
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4,155

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (German for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners. Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism - but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A hopeful perspective on a harrowing time

  • By melyssa57 (A Page Before Bedtime dot com) on 10-10-18

Unbelievably Moving

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

Reviewed: 10-10-18

Listen to this book! Tell your family to listen to this book. Tell your friends to listen to this book. I would recommend this book as required reading for all high school age children. As a 70 year old non- Jewish woman, I know that this story will stay with me for the rest of my life.

  • The Love Letter

  • By: Lucinda Riley
  • Narrated by: Camilla Rockley
  • Length: 16 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 584
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 546
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 543

1995, London. When Sir James Harrison, one the greatest actors of his generation, passes away at the age of 95 he leaves behind not just a heartbroken family but also a secret so shocking, so devastating that it could rock the English establishment to its core. Joanna Haslam is an ambitious young journalist assigned to cover the legendary actor's funeral. The great and the good of the celebrity world are there. But Joanna stumbles on something dark beneath the glamour: the mention of a letter James Harrison has left behind, the contents of which others have been desperate to conceal for over 70 years. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Throughly enjoyable read!

  • By LB on 09-03-18

Good Start, but....

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

Reviewed: 10-08-18

I began listening to this book with a lot of hope, but by the last three hours, I was checking the time to see how much longer I had to endure the very predictable end. The whole mystery got lost in all the love affairs and nonsense that pervaded. Until, that is, until the last seven minutes when all was revealed in a flurry! Camilla Rockley was the only saving grace for this one!!

  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

  • A Novel
  • By: Jamie Ford
  • Narrated by: Feodor Chin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,524
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,309
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,320

In the opening pages of Jamie Ford's stunning debut, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet

  • By Christopher on 04-02-09

So glad it’s over!

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

Reviewed: 08-28-18

I can’t understand why this book got so many positive reviews. It started slow, and got worse! The only thing half way interesting was the history of the Japanese “concentration camps” that existed in different locations throughout the US. Shameful! The story line was so predictable, and getting there was excruciatingly slow. The narrator had an annoying habit of pronouncing every contraction such as
“Couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t, with a strong emphasis on the “d,” as in coul-Dent, woul-Dent, shoul-Dent. That is NOT how people truly speak, and distracted greatly from an otherwise decent job.
I wish I had my credit back. I kept looking to see how much more time was left before this book was finished!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful