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Janna Wong Healy

Los Angeles, CA
  • 73
  • reviews
  • 304
  • helpful votes
  • 100
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  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog

  • By: Muriel Barbery
  • Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat, Cassandra Morris
  • Length: 9 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,778
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,590
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,615

An enchanting New York Times and international best seller and award-winner about life, art, literature, philosophy, culture, class, privilege, and power, seen through the eyes of a 54-year-old French concierge and a precocious but troubled 12-year-old girl.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It surprised me

  • By Pyles on 04-21-10

Understated Elegance

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

Reviewed: 08-19-18

Ultimately, I liked this book. But getting through to the end was a bit tough as it is very philosophical with very little plot movement or character development. After a while, the philosophies expounded began to sound similar and therefore repetitious.

But...when we finally see the intersecting of Renee (the concierge) and Paloma (the precocious little girl) and see them both blossom from their relationship, the book becomes much more enjoyable and meaningful (and then I felt bad for being bored earlier...because there was a point to the author's various ruminations after all).

The book is beautifully and, yes, elegantly written. And I was quite moved by the ending.

The narration was spot-on perfect. Both narrators (portraying Renee and Paloma) gave exceptionally fine performances.

I suppose I should go back and listen to the book again; I'm sure I won't be bored the second time around.

  • The Woman in the Water

  • Charles Lenox Mysteries
  • By: Charles Finch
  • Narrated by: James Langton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 260
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 227
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 225

London, 1850: A young Charles Lenox struggles to make a name for himself as a detective...without a single case. Scotland Yard refuses to take him seriously and his friends deride him for attempting a profession at all. But when an anonymous writer sends a letter to the paper claiming to have committed the perfect crime - and promising to kill again - Lenox is convinced that this is his chance to prove himself. The writer's first victim is a young woman whose body is found in a naval trunk, caught up in the rushes of a small islets in the middle of the Thames.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Satisfying prequel to this great series

  • By Gail N. on 03-01-18

A Fun Little Mystery

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

Reviewed: 08-19-18

This is a nifty little murder mystery which is a prequel to an entire series featuring this same detective (even though this one is published after the others).

The atmosphere is great and so are the characters. The detective isn't quite as prescient as Sherlock but he is a clever thinker and figured out the criminal from a minimum of clues. The story winds around and keeps you entertained till the very end.

The narrator does a fine job, although it was sometimes difficult to discern one character from another. Still, his voices for the two main characters -- Charles Lenox (the detective) and his butler Graham (who does much of the heavy research) are quite good.

It was a fun ride.

  • Their Lost Daughters

  • A Jackman and Evans Thriller
  • By: Joy Ellis
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 550
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 516
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 517

Deep in the muddy fields of the Lincolnshire Fens, a teenage girl is found wandering, delirious, claiming to have been drugged at a party. Metres away, the drowned body of another girl is found on an isolated beach. And all this on a small stretch of land where, nearly 10 years ago, the shocking disappearance of a young girl remains an open case.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well written, excellent performance

  • By 🌿🌸Susynne🌸🌿 on 06-16-18

Dreary and Predictable

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

Reviewed: 07-09-18

In a word: meh. I wanted to like this mystery but the best part of it was Richard Armitage's narration. I found the story to be sometimes diverting but mostly, it was dreary and predictable. I was not surprised by any of the twists or turns and the writing was pedestrian and lacking in insight.

Most importantly, I never got a chance to know the two detectives -- they went through their paces and did a good job of uncovering the crimes but without any hint at their personalities or knowledge of their private lives, there was no sense of satisfaction when they solved the crimes successfully.

Richard Armitage is, as usual, phenomenal. He is such a wonderful narrator. I would listen to him read the phone book. Really.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Word Is Murder

  • A Novel
  • By: Anthony Horowitz
  • Narrated by: Rory Kinnear
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,395
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,316
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,308

The New York Times best-selling author of Magpie Murders and Moriarty brilliantly reinvents the classic crime novel once again with this clever and inventive mystery starring a fictional version of the author himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes, investigating a case involving buried secrets, murder, and a trail of bloody clues.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Something New

  • By Alice on 06-26-18

The Word is EXCELLENT

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

Reviewed: 06-21-18

After listening to Magpie Murders and loving it, I wasn't sure any book by Anthony Horowitz could be better. I was so wrong. This one is wonderful -- a creative and fun mystery that is at once meta and mind-bending and curious and suspenseful...all the elements of a mystery story that are important to the reader.

You're pulled in right away when a woman walks into a funeral home to plan her own funeral and it moves apace from the first word to the last page. I loved how the author puts himself in the story as a character who has been approached about writing the biography of a cranky but brilliant police detective. It might sound like an egotistical mechanism but Horowitz peppers his novel with a humor that is self-effacing and wry. As the two wander around London, we get to know them both in addition to watching them solve the murder. In addition, and importantly, the ending is not at all predictable, which is the best part of any mystery, isn't it?

The narration by Rory Kinnear is phenomenal. He's got a great voice that is easy to listen to and easy to understand. And he does a great job with the various characters.

I highly recommend this novel. It's a fantastic listen.

  • The Little Stranger

  • By: Sarah Waters
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 15 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 990
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 719
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 715

The Little Stranger follows the strange adventures of Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. One dusty postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline - its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at 20 to nine.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A creepy story, with atmosphere for days

  • By Lesley on 10-13-14

I Wanted to Like It...

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

Reviewed: 06-09-18

This is, plain a simple, a ghost story. It is nicely told (even if it feels a tad overstuffed with minutiae at times) and ends as you'd expect it to (which feels a bit unsatisfying).

I wanted to like it more than I did. But, the story of the Ayres family (mother, daughter Caroline and brother Roderick) and how their haunted lives intersect with the local physician, Dr. Faraday, is predictable as there really is nowhere to go with this genre of story.

Simon Vance is, as usual, an excellent narrator. But, ultimately, the story left me cold.

  • Brideshead Revisited

  • By: Evelyn Waugh
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Irons
  • Length: 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,411
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,317
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,312

Evelyn Waugh's most celebrated work is a memory drama about the intense entanglement of the narrator, Charles Ryder, with a great Anglo-Catholic family. Written during World War II, the story mourns the passing of the aristocratic world Waugh knew in his youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities; in so doing it also provides a profound study of the conflict between the demands of religion and the desires of the flesh.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Extraordinary

  • By Vieux Carré Blonde on 12-12-12

What Took Me So Long to Discover Brideshead?

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

Reviewed: 06-09-18

I was not alive in 1945, when Evelyn Waugh’s highly revered and most famous novel was published. As an English major in college, I had heard about this thoughtful, beautifully written story of friendship, love and religion…yet didn’t read it. I realize now that I was foolish for not investigating this book sooner. But, I have redeemed myself. I just finished reading the novel (or, to be precise, I listened to the lovely voice of Jeremy Irons as he read it to me) and I am better for the experience. I urge you to explore and enjoy Mr. Waugh’s enduring story.

By now, most people know the basic story of Brideshead -- how Captain Charles Ryder, in the waning days of WWII, is sent with his troops to bivouac at Brideshead Castle, a place he knows well. Being there brings back memories of his youth when, in 1923 and a freshman at Oxford, he meets Lord Sebastian Flyte and the two become fast friends. Charles' coming-of-age story begins with this friendship (which ultimately disintegrates over Sebastian's alcoholism) and moves on to the love affair he has with Sebastian's sister Julia and the ultimate demise of it due to her inability to divorce herself from Catholicism.

There are few books published today that delve so deeply into character and plot development and Mr. Waugh’s prose is beautiful. (Charles: “I could tell him, too, that to know and love one other human being is the root of all wisdom.”) Alternately, the audiobook narrated by Jeremy Irons is a fantastic option for readers. I found myself wanting to get into my car and drive anywhere just so I could continue listening to the story. Towards the end of the novel, I did what I normally don’t do: I listened to the book while I was wandering around my house doing simple chores because I found I could not put it down. Jeremy Irons' narration is nothing short of sublime.

No matter your option, Brideshead Revisited is a wonderful investment in your time and you will learn not only about aristocratic life of 1920s England, but you’ll love exploring the friendship between Charles and Sebastian, the romance between Charles and Julia and how religion can impact families, friendships and loves. It took me way too long to discover this story but now that I have, it will stay with me for the rest of my days.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Amy Snow

  • A Novel
  • By: Tracy Rees
  • Narrated by: Melody Grove
  • Length: 15 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,213
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,965
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,967

It is 1831 when eight-year-old Aurelia Vennaway finds a naked baby girl abandoned in the snow on the grounds of her aristocratic family's magnificent mansion. Her parents are horrified that she has brought a bastard foundling into the house, but Aurelia convinces them to keep the baby, whom she names Amy Snow. Amy is brought up as a second-class citizen, but she and Aurelia are as close as sisters. When Aurelia dies at the age of 23, she leaves Amy 10 pounds. But Aurelia also left her much more.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don't miss out on this one.

  • By laurie eller on 01-24-17

Lightweight but Fun and Engaging, Too!

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

Reviewed: 04-27-18

4.5. I didn't think a mash-up of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen would work...but it does in Amy Snow, the story of an infant abandoned on the property of the wealthy Vennaway estate who is discovered by and then becomes the beloved companion of the Vennaway's daughter Aurelia.

The two, eight years apart in age, grow up together, despite the vehement protestations of Aurelia's parents. When Aurelia is stricken with a serious illness that kills her, Aurelia's parents can't wait to throw Amy out of their home. But, Aurelia knew this would happen so, before she dies, she sets up a complex plan to engage Amy in a treasure hunt that will lead her to what Aurelia feels is her rightful inheritance. Along the way, Amy matures, falls in, out and back in love and ultimately uncovers the secrets that Aurelia had kept close to her heart.

This is lightweight reading, to be sure, but it is engaging and fun, too. I was fully entranced by Amy's adventures choreographed by Aurelia.

The narration by Melody Grove was great -- easy to listen to, easy to understand.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Franchise Affair

  • By: Josephine Tey
  • Narrated by: Carole Boyd
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 424
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 390
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 389

Marion Sharpe and her mother seem an unlikely duo to be found on the wrong side of the law. Quiet and ordinary, they have led a peaceful and unremarkable life at their country home, The Franchise. Unremarkable that is, until the police turn up with a demure young woman on their doorstep.Not only does Betty Kane accuse them of kidnap and abuse, she can back up her claim with a detailed description of the attic room in which she was kept, right down to the crack in its round window.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • No way out

  • By Janice on 10-05-17

Josephine Tey: Where Have You Been All My Life?

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

Reviewed: 04-01-18

After listening to Brat Farrar (which I absolutely loved), I decided to move on to another Josephine Tey book and picked The Franchise Affair. To be honest, I was curious about how this was going to become a full-fledged novel: the story of a young girl who accuses a matriarch and her grown daughter of kidnapping and abusive behavior can't possibly be enough for an entire novel, could it?

Oh, yes, it could! And a thrilling one, too, as Robert Blair, their reluctant attorney who becomes chief investigator and protector, goes about in search of clues to negate the girl's story.

The narration by Carole Boyd is superb -- she is easy to understand and gets the voices just right.

This is an engrossing mystery, with plenty of twists and turns. I enjoyed it!

  • The Bloody Chamber

  • By: Angela Carter
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage, Emilia Fox
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 351
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 331
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 329

A collection of short stories, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories was first published in 1979 and awarded the Cheltenham Festival Literary Prize. This Audible exclusive adaptation is narrated by legendary actors, Richard Armitage and Emilia Fox, who take on different chapters of the audiobook. Among these are 'The Bloody Chamber', 'The Courtship of Mr Lyon', 'The Tiger's Bride', 'Puss in Boots', 'The Erl-King', 'The Snow Child', 'The Lady of the House of Love', 'The Werewolf' and 'Wolf-Alice'.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Richard Armitage should read everything

  • By libbromus on 07-27-18

Not for Me

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

Reviewed: 04-01-18

Full disclosure: horror is not really my genre so I probably was not going to fall in love with this collection of short stories based on children's fairy tales but retold with a feminist bent. Mostly, I found them uneven -- there were some I loved ("The Bloody Chamber, "Puss-in-Boots," "The Courtship of Mr. Lyon") but others ("The Snow Child," "The Werewolf") left me cold.

I was enticed to listen by the promise of another great performance by Richard Armitage, who is a favorite narrator. And, he did not disappoint: his narration of "Puss-in-Boots" is truly wonderful. In addition, Emilia Fox's narration of the opening story, "The Bloody Chamber," is also excellent. But I couldn't wait until I finished these stories.

The book just wasn't for me.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • 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 20,285
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,765
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,672

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

A SEARING AND COMPELLING TALE

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

Reviewed: 02-24-18

I didn't know what to make of this book when I began reading it. I wasn't wild about Eve and I was less enthralled by Charlotte, neither of whom are completely endearing characters. However, I stuck with it and was so happy I did.

What an engaging and dramatic story, told in a twofold plot -- Eve's story and Charlie's story -- beginning during World War I and ending after World War II. We learn how Eve was recruited into the real-life female spy network known as The Alice Network and how, as a young girl with a stutter, she manages to get a job in a cafe populated by German officers who have taken over the small French village. As she serves these horrible men, she learns their secrets and shares them with The Alice Network until the horrible moment when two of the women are caught by the Nazis and Eve herself is found out suffers greatly for her participation in this spy network.

Meanwhile, in 1947, Charlie is on the search for her cousin Rose who was lost somewhere in France during WWII. She is brought to Eve's doorstep by information provided to her by the British War Office and the two, plus Eve's driver, a Scot named Finn (who has secrets of his own), set off on an adventure to: 1) find Rose; 2) allow Eve to gain revenge on her torturous enemy.

The author manages to include a love affair, which seems a bit out of place, although I was happy for the distraction.

The narration by Saskia Maarleveld is absolutely superb. She is clear and understandable and she distinguishes the three main characters and the host of other smaller characters extremely well. Her performance truly enhanced the listening experience.