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Karen W. Lam

Vancouver, BC Canada
  • 81
  • reviews
  • 134
  • helpful votes
  • 89
  • ratings
  • Where the Crawdads Sing

  • By: Delia Owens
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 12 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 36,953
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,767
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,636

For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life - until the unthinkable happens.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Seattle blues on 08-17-18

Gorgeous Writing, Lovely Story

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

Reviewed: 01-13-19

I wasn't sure whether to trust Reese Witherspoon's recommendation - given that I loathe almost everything Oprah picks for her book club so worry about every celebrity endorsement- but this was absolutely riveting. Not a book I normally would choose to read but so glad I did. The writing is lush and for the audio version, the narrator is perfect. Highly recommended.

  • Snowblind

  • By: Ragnar Jónasson, Quentin Bates - translator
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 8 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 172
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 153
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 154

When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theater, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one and secrets and lies are a way of life. Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts as Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness - blinded by snow and with a killer on the loose.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Unexpected and different

  • By green ice cream garden on 10-12-17

Slow, dull and plodding

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

Reviewed: 12-31-18

This is ten hours of my life I will never get back. The writing is clumsy and amateurish. The plot takes forever and all the details about each character are ultimately pointless. And finally, the ending is pat and ridiculous. What a waste of time. Why on earth is this so popular?

  • Lethal White

  • A Cormoran Strike Novel
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 22 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,632
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,212
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,181

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy's story, Strike and Robin Ellacott - once his assistant, now a partner in the agency - set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best 22 hours of the last week

  • By Jennifer on 09-27-18

Thoroughly Enjoyable (albeit Longwinded)

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

Reviewed: 10-07-18

I really enjoy the series and Lethal White is a good follow-up to the previous in the series. I do think, however, that the author is running into the same issues as with the Harry Potter series: the books are running longer and longer with more and more inconsequential details - not to mention repetitive character descriptors. The mystery/crime itself works well, but the banalities of the characters' lives sometimes throw the balance of the story off. For example, having to go into Robin's full wedding, the party guests, felt excessive and indulgent. I enjoyed the book but think it would have been stronger with a tighter rein on the details.

  • Good Omens

  • By: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
  • Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,254
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,397
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,427

The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • You'll laugh yourself silly

  • By goddess_of_pipework on 11-28-15

Amusing...

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

Reviewed: 09-16-18

...but not quite as good as I had expected. Everyone I know loves this book and I probably went in with too high of expectations. It's entertaining but somehow a little too clever and a bit dated. I am very much looking forward to the television adaptation, and I think that the tone will be smoothed out in the series. Still, I enjoyed it and it clips along at a good pace.

  • The Song of Achilles

  • A Novel
  • By: Madeline Miller
  • Narrated by: Frazer Douglas
  • Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,914
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,367
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,348

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wasn't Expecting to Like It- BOY! was I wrong!!

  • By susan on 06-11-14

The Song of Achilles' Whingy Lover

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

Reviewed: 08-27-18

I loved Circe so much that I had high expectations of this novel but unfortunately, it was a painful slog by comparison: the writing is solid but this time, the narrator is such a wet dishrag that it makes The Iliad into a chore rather than a tale of adventure. Patroclus has no discernible talent, agency, intelligence or wit; rather, his only attribute is his being lover to Achilles, who appears to be a golden-haired beefcake who is also lacking intelligence, wit or... The Iliad is reduced to a kind of homoerotic love story which in itself would be interesting if either of the main characters had personalities to speak of. I made it to 80% mark and decided I didn't care how this particular book ended, given that I do remember the Iliad from undergrad days.

  • Thunderhead

  • Arc of a Scythe
  • By: Neal Shusterman
  • Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
  • Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4,012
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,759
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3,745

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times best seller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just Shut Up

  • By B.A. Wilson on 09-04-18

Fabulous Sequel

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

Reviewed: 08-18-18

I loved the first book but I'm always wary of sequels: they rarely live up to the promise of the debut. But this was (arguably) even better. The world is richer, the stakes are higher and the moral issues even more profound. I love the match of the narrator with the material. For the first time, I look forward to the third book in this series!

  • The Cruel Prince

  • By: Holly Black
  • Narrated by: Caitlin Kelly
  • Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,971
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,734
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,725

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him - and face the consequences.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Mixed feelings . . .

  • By S. E. on 03-09-18

Great Story, HORRIBLE Narration

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

Reviewed: 08-08-18

I have been a huge Holly Black fan since reading Tithe years and years ago and so excited to hear her newest as an audiobook. Oh dear God. The most overwrought and irritating narration I have ever suffered through. As much as I loved the story, the narrator made me keep shrieking "oh, do shut up!" at regular intervals. The teen characters were offensively Valley Girl-esque and the male character voices made my teeth clench. Next book of the series, I will be reading it the old fashioned way. Highly recommended as a book, but NOT as an audiobook.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • The Ruin

  • By: Dervla McTiernan
  • Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,845
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,593
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,593

When Aisling Conroy's boyfriend Jack is found in the freezing black waters of the river Corrib, the police tell her it was suicide. A surgical resident, she throws herself into study and work, trying to forget - until Jack's sister Maude shows up. Maude suspects foul play, and she is determined to prove it. Cormac Reilly is the detective assigned with the re-investigation of a seemingly accidental overdose 20 years ago - the overdose of Jack and Maude's drug-and-alcohol-addled mother. Reilly is under increasing pressure to charge Maude for murder when his colleague Danny uncovers new evidence....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Book of the Year

  • By Sharon on 07-11-18

Strong Debut, Easy Listening

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

Reviewed: 08-01-18

Nicely crafted crime thriller with solid characters and well-plotted storyline. The best thing I can say about any detective story is that there's no Scooby Doo ending, but one that feels satisfying and well-earned. I would happily follow along with the next instalment of the series.

  • Then She Was Gone

  • A Novel
  • By: Lisa Jewell
  • Narrated by: Helen Duff
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,248
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,184
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,132

Fifteen-year-old Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenage golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her. And then she was gone. Now her mother, Laurel Mack, is trying to put her life back together.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love all Lisa Jewell's books.

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-21-18

Solid Writing, Predictable Story

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

Reviewed: 07-22-18

A fast and fun summer read: not particularly surprising but the writing and characters are above par, which made the book enjoyable. There are no real surprises or shocking twists, and the ending is a little too pat for my liking. For the audiobook, the performance is also solid but the American accent is appalling. Luckily, that doesn't happen throughout. Recommended as light beach reading.

  • Shogun

  • The Epic Novel of Japan: The Asian Saga, Book 1
  • By: James Clavell
  • Narrated by: Ralph Lister
  • Length: 53 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,777
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,446
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,440

A bold English adventurer; an invincible Japanese warlord; a beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love - all brought together in an extraordinary saga of a time and a place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust, and the struggle for power.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • amazingly well done!

  • By Ruby Dickson on 04-24-15

Hopelessly and Painfully Dated

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

Reviewed: 07-19-18

I'm at chapter 6 and I just can't do it. If I were a Clavell-depicted samurai, I would commit seppuku rather than to soldier onwards - at least I'd leave with my dignity intact. The book is extremely dated, which sounds ridiculous given that it is intended as a historical novel, but it just bogs down with the perspective of an old white dude writing about his fetish for orientalism. The colonial perspective is cringe inducing at every level. I wonder how the miniseries fares....no, don't answer that.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful