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Janna Wong Healy

Los Angeles, CA
  • 79
  • reviews
  • 329
  • helpful votes
  • 106
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  • Agincourt

  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Charles Keating
  • Length: 16 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,195
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,207
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,206

Young Nicholas Hook is dogged by a curse, haunted by what he has failed to do and banished for what he has done. A wanted man in England, he is driven to fight as a mercenary archer in France, where he finds two things he can love: his instincts as a fighting man, and a girl in trouble. Together they survive the notorious massacre at Soissons, an event that shocks all Christendom. With no options left, Hook heads home to England, where his capture means certain death.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What is WITH that music?

  • By Lois on 08-26-15

Excellent and Dramatic Piece of Historical Fiction

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

Reviewed: 01-08-19

As a confirmed fan of Bernard Cornwell, I was not surprised that this novel is not only expertly well-researched but also extremely well-told. It's the story of the battle at Agincourt, one of England's most stunning war victories as they battled French forces despite having one-third the size of France's army and is the dramatic battle upon which Shakespeare based his play, Henry V.

In this story, the hero is a young archer named Nicholas Hook, who interferes with a priest's rape and murder of a young girl and as such is named an outlaw in his country. But, his skill at archery and his heroics during the battle of Soissons (when the French notoriously killed and raped their own citizens) keep him in good stead with King Henry and he becomes one of England's treasured archers. During the battle of Soissons, he rescues a young woman (Melisande) from being raped and falls in love with her. She accompanies him and prays for his well-being while he faces French men at arms who are led by none other than her father.

The narrator, Charles Keating, does an extraordinary job with a multitude of characters, accents, and voices.

This is an exciting historical novel and I highly recommend it.

  • Bridge to Terabithia

  • By: Katherine Paterson
  • Narrated by: Robert Sean Leonard
  • Length: 3 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,030
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 894
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 893

Jess Aarons' greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys' side and outruns everyone.That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together, they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book

  • By R. G. Pickering on 09-16-16

NEARLY PERFECT

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

Reviewed: 11-05-18

This book was published when I felt I was too old to read it. Now, so many years later, I finally read it and I see the error of my ways for a story about friendship is meaningful at any age. This novel tells a poignant tale of an unusual friendship between Jess and the new girl in town, Leslie, that begins when she beats him in a race, a race he practiced all summer for. At first irritated by this upstart, he feels empathy for her when he sees others in school make fun of her for being different from them.

Thus begins their stalwart friendship and the land they create together -- Terabithia.

The novel shows us the beauty of friends and while it ends sadly (I won't say why), it is a beautiful portrait of a friendship between two children.

The narration by Robert Sean Leonard is absolutely divine. His reading captures every wonderful and sad moment in this story. It's the first Robert Sean Leonard book I've listened to; I'm sure it won't be my last.

  • Start

  • Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters
  • By: Jon Acuff
  • Narrated by: Jon Acuff
  • Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,845
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,622
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,621

There are only two paths in life: average and awesome. The average path is easy because all you have to do is nothing. The awesome path is more challenging, because things like fear only bother you when you do work that matters. The good news is Start gives listeners practical, actionable insights to be more awesome, more often.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The overall ratings tell the Truth!

  • By Roberts Hunter on 09-05-14

Meh...

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

3.5 Stars. I know this review will make the author, Jon Acuff, upset because he loves it when people love his work, but as far as business books go, this one doesn't really offer much that's new or different. He follows a logical method for getting things accomplished and that's about it. Sorry, Jon.

  • Rogue Male

  • By: Geoffrey Household
  • Narrated by: Robin Browne
  • Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 91
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 54

An Englishman plans to assassinate the dictator of a European country. But he is foiled at the last moment and falls into the hands of ruthless and inventive torturers. They devise for him an ingenious and diplomatic death but, for once, they bungle the job and he escapes. But England provides no safety from his pursuers - and the Rogue Male must strip away all the trappings of status and civilization as the hunter becomes a hunted animal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Englishman's ditch is his castle

  • By Ian on 05-24-14

ULTIMATELY CAPTIVATING AND ENTHRALLING

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

4.5 Stars. This book, a classic in British literature, is at times enthralling and frustrating. I ultimately liked it very much -- the hunter-turned-hunted is a good trope that works very well in this plot. There were some moments that were difficult for me to understand -- the opening sequence of the failed assassination and then the torture of the protagonist was not easy to discern. I was also a bit confused by the locations and where, precisely, he was.

The narration is good, crisp and easy to understand.

Ultimately, I was captivated by the way the protagonist survived and although the plot moves in small steps, it held my interest throughout.

  • Birds of a Feather

  • Maisie Dobbs Mysteries
  • By: Jacqueline Winspear
  • Narrated by: Kim Hicks
  • Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,111
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,682
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,682

Maisie Dobbs is back, and this time she has been hired to find a wealthy grocery magnate's daughter who has fled from home. What seems a simple case at first becomes complicated when Maisie learns of the recent violent deaths of three of the heiress's old friends. Is there a connection between her mysterious disappearance and the murders? Who would kill such charming young women? As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers to all her questions lie in the unforgettable agony of The Great War.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very Enjoyable

  • By Shelly on 02-18-11

LIGHT AND ENJOYABLE

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

I like Maisie; I really do. I like the time period and the location; I like the supporting players she is surrounded by. I even liked this case of the three murdered women and the one who is missing that Maisie is hired to find.

But...I think Maisie's road to solving her cases is far too easy. Clues seem to simply fall into her lap and she doesn't appear to struggle very much to get to the solutions.

Every little thing just gets resolved with alacrity and without too much stress.

The narration is fine and easy to understand. I just wish the story had been a little more challenging.

  • Us Against You

  • By: Fredrik Backman
  • Narrated by: Marin Ireland
  • Length: 14 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,387
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,220
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,215

After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they learn that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown's new hockey coach. Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you'll ever see; Benji, the crazed lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • ✫✫ 4 Stars ✫✫

  • By Cyndi on 10-21-18

WE ARE BEARTOWN!

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

I love the world that Fredrik Backman has created. Beartown feels so real; I've rarely read a book that encompasses a world so completely. I first fell in love with Beartown in Backman's first book, Beartown. I was hesitant about returning to it -- what more could be said about the inhabitants and hockey? I was so wrong...so much story was left to tell and the more time I spent in Beartown, the more I became ensconced in this very special world.

It's a great story, rich and deep and wonderful. Backman creates characters that we love and hate; his characters are people we know and have sympathy for, whether it's the man who devotes his entire life to one sport or the girl who struggles to be normal after being horribly abused by a boy in town or a boy who wrestles with his own identity. Backman has developed these characters even more richly in this sequel and I fell in love with all of them, even the ones we were supposed to hate.

Marin Ireland, the narrator of this novel and the original, does a fantastic job telling this story. She lets the rhythm of the words carry her forward. She's easy to understand and reads the novel carefully and superbly.

I'm sad this story is over. But it will stay with me forever.

  • 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 3,842
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,645
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,671

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 281
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 247
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 244

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 1,452
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,364
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,359

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
  • Author Joy Ellis never disappoints!!

  • By Wayne 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.

15 of 21 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 1,951
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,842
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,833

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.