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Swallowtail

  • 23
  • reviews
  • 71
  • helpful votes
  • 25
  • ratings
  • Summit Lake

  • By: Charlie Donlea
  • Narrated by: Shannon McManus
  • Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,874
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,734
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,737

Some places seem too beautiful to be touched by horror. Summit Lake, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is that kind of place, with charming stilt houses dotted along the pristine water. But two weeks ago, Becca Eckersley, a first-year law student, was brutally murdered in one of those houses. The daughter of a powerful attorney, Becca was hard-working, accomplished, and ambitious. Now, while the town reels with grief and shocked residents gather to share their theories, the police are baffled.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very sad ending to a promising young life...

  • By shelley on 09-13-17

Cried Out for a Different Narrator

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

Reviewed: 08-13-18

I honestly believe that I may have enjoyed this novel more had it been read by a better (or, at least, more appropriate for this genre) narrator. Shannon McManus did nothing to enhance the mystery and, in fact, read the novel like she was reading a newspaper article aloud--much too rapidly and without nuance.

  • 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 16,477
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,973
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,929

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
  • SO GOOD

  • By Anonymous User on 05-24-18

Brava, Helen Duff!

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

Reviewed: 08-13-18

Yes, it was a very good read, but it was an even better listen. Helen Duff's interpretation of Noelle is a work of art in itself.

  • Paris in the Present Tense

  • By: Mark Helprin
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 14 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 811
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 760
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 750

In the midst of what should be an effulgent time of life, with its days bright with music, family, and rowing on the Seine, Jules is confronted headlong and all at once by a series of challenges to his principles, livelihood, and home, forcing him to grapple with his complex past and find a way forward. He risks fraud to save his terminally ill infant grandson, matches wits with a renegade insurance investigator, is drawn into an act of savage violence, and falls deeply, excitingly in love with a young cellist who is a third his age.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Greatest living "novelist". Top 10 narrator.

  • By BellevueMike on 10-14-17

Bronson Pinchot's narration is exquisite!

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

Reviewed: 07-11-18

This novel is lyrical in its own right, offering by turns serious philosophical/existential questions and quirky, humorous situations; fascinating characters (especially the emotional AND taciturn Jules Lacour); and rich descriptions of the City of Light. As rendered by Bronson Pinchot, Mark Helprin's graceful prose reaches brilliance. I am not certain that I would love this novel as much as I do had I read it rather than listened to it.

  • Paul Simon

  • The Life
  • By: Robert Hilburn
  • Narrated by: Dennis Boutsikaris
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 183
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169

Through such hits as "The Sound of Silence", "Bridge Over Troubled Water", "Still Crazy After All These Years", and "Graceland", Paul Simon has spoken to us in songs for a half-century about alienation, doubt, resilience, and empathy in ways that have established him as one of the most honored and beloved songwriters in American pop music history. His music has gone beyond the sales charts into our cultural consciousness. He was the first songwriter awarded the Gershwin Prize by the Library of Congress and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Paul Simon the music

  • By Swallowtail on 05-28-18

Paul Simon the music

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

Reviewed: 05-28-18

This book is mistitled. It is not about Paul Simon's life (including friendships and other personal relationships) in any but a superficial fashion. If what you're looking for is a well-researched, detailed chronology of the evolution of Simon's music, this is the book for you.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • You Don't Look Your Age

  • And Other Fairy Tales
  • By: Sheila Nevins
  • Narrated by: Lena Dunham, Meryl Streep, Katie Couric, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 393
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 361
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 361

Sheila Nevins is the best friend you never knew you had. She is your discreet confidante you can tell any secret to, your sage mentor at work who helps you navigate the often uneven playing field, your wise sister who has “been there, done that,” your hysterical girlfriend whose stories about men will make you laugh until you cry. Sheila Nevins is the one person who always tells it like it is.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not what I was hoping for at all.

  • By Becca on 06-19-17

A Must-Listen for Women "of a Certain Age"

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

Reviewed: 05-06-17

Sheila Nevins may be a hugely successful documentarian, but the life events and dilemmas that she details in these essays are for every woman who is or has been a wife, a mother, a "working mom," a daughter, a friend. Ms. Nevins is both self-aware and a keen observer of the behaviors of others. She approaches her subjects, which are very personal, as honestly and objectively as one can and manages to bring out the humor/poignancy of each situation. Not every vignette is a success (e.g., "Eunice's Period," read by Gloria Steinem), but there are far more winners than not.

I strongly encourage you to listen to (rather than read) this collection, because the majority of the narrators were perfectly chosen for the particular essays they read, and their voices add much to the overall experience. I enjoyed, particularly, Judith Light, Marlo Thomas, Kathy Bates, Edie Falco, Lily Tomlin, and Tovah Felshuh, while Gloria Vanderbilt, Liz Smith, and Diane Von Furstenberg were disappointments. Gayle King is delightful in her readings about foodies and frenemies, and I was surprised at how moved I was by Rosie O'Donnell's narration of a story about parenting a child with Tourette Syndrome.

Although these are "fairy tales" about women, Alan Alda and Ru Paul are fun additions to this impressive collection of narrators, which also includes Martha Stewart, Glenn Close, Lena Dunham, Whoopi Goldberg, Katie Couric, Christine Baranski, and Meryl Streep.

Give it a listen! I think you'll be glad you did.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Next Year, For Sure

  • A Novel
  • By: Zoey Leigh Peterson
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Cottle
  • Length: 5 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 13

After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris are used to helping each other through every daily and existential dilemma. When Chris tells Kathryn about his feelings for Emily, a vivacious young woman he sees often at the laundromat, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend to pursue this other woman - certain that her bond with Chris is strong enough to weather a little side dalliance.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • boring

  • By Melissa on 10-31-17

Serious Whimsy--or Whimsical Seriousness

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

Reviewed: 04-07-17

This novel, at least as read by Elizabeth Cottle, is a deceptively light-hearted take on issues that we've all had to deal with when embarking on (or already in) relationships with others: How much compromising is too much? Are some friendships made to last while others should just be allowed to run their course? What's the difference between loving someone and being IN LOVE with that person? Must we sacrifice and suffer for the things we want in life? How can we be sure what it is we really want and that we will remain satisfied if we get it?

I really enjoyed listening to this book. The characters are quirky but remain likable, Cottle's narrative voice is perfect for them, and Zoey Peterson's story-telling style is delightfully innovative. For example, at the end of several of the phone conversations, Peterson poses a series of questions that could have/should have been asked but were not--usually because one or both of the conversants was too self-conscious to ask or was attempting to sound less insecure/more emotionally evolved than (s)he felt. I think it's safe to say that we learn at least as much about these characters from what they don't say as from what they do.

One more comment about Peterson's writing: For the first time ever in reviewing a book for Audible, I was wishing there were four categories, i.e., that writing could be separated from story. If I'd had that option, writing definitely would have gotten five stars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Bel Canto

  • By: Ann Patchett
  • Narrated by: Anna Fields
  • Length: 11 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,770
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,723
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,733

Ann Patchett’s award winning, New York Times best-selling Bel Canto balances themes of love and crisis as disparate characters learn that music is their only common language. As in Pratchett’s other novels, including Truth & Beauty and The Magician’s Assistant, the author’s lyrical prose and lucid imagination make Bel Canto a captivating story of strength and frailty, love and imprisonment, and an inspiring tale of transcendent romance. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Opera Has Charms to Soothe the Savage Guerillas

  • By Mel on 03-01-13

Mesmerizing

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

Reviewed: 03-26-17

What a pleasure it was to listen to Ann Patchett's artful, lyrical prose, as read by Anna Fields (outstanding!) Another reviewer detailed the many ways in which a listener must suspend disbelief, and I'll grant that this is true. However, I soon fell under Patchett's spell and became willing to do so and to accept that not only is Stockholm Syndrome real, but also that it might, in fact, go both ways, i.e. between captors and captives as well.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Love Warrior (Oprah's Book Club: A Memoir)

  • By: Glennon Doyle
  • Narrated by: Glennon Doyle
  • Length: 7 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,101
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,345
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,320

The Newest Oprah Book Club 2016 Selection. The highly anticipated new memoir by bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton tells the story of her journey of self-discovery after the implosion of her marriage. Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out—three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list—her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Incredible

  • By Leah B on 09-08-16

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 09-19-16

I have to break away from the crowd and join DownSouthDiva and Reademandweep in their negative reviews of this book. Glennon Doyle Melton's self-portrayal is disturbingly narcissistic, and hers is not a voice I will ever want to listen to again (although, perhaps, it was perfect for this whiny memoir). I was hesitant to buy the book, since I have been disappointed more than once by Oprah's picks, but after seeing Ms. Melton on the CBS Morning News, I thought there might actually be some thought-provoking stuff in this book. I will admit that I found a bit of such stuff in the first half, but the story became so tedious and repetitive as it progressed that I began to lose heart. Then came God (after drugs, alcohol, sex, and bulimia didn't do the trick), at which point I definitely lamented my "against my better judgment" decision. It is clear to me that Glennon Doyle Melton jumps from "cure" to "cure" (e.g., therapy, yoga, meditative breathing) for her self-indulgent angst. She's only 40 years old; I fully expect a sequel to Love Warrior in which we find that her happy ending was just one more temporary fix.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • PhiLOLZophy

  • Critical Thinking in Digestible Doses
  • By: Chrissy Stockton, Sarah Heuer
  • Narrated by: Theresa McCarthy
  • Length: 2 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2.5 out of 5 stars 617
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 539
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars 552

A popular question in philosophy is "How do I know I exist?" That seems really boring, though. How about, "How can I use logic to get over my ex?" If you really love wisdom, you love it in all situations - you don't need to be spoon fed unsolved problems in philosophy, because you're already analyzing the US Weekly you’re reading or your kinda significant other. Sarah Heuer and Chrissy Stockton are writers living in Minneapolis who are determined to do something more interesting with their philosophy degrees than talk about dead white guys.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • The Worst Example of Critical Thinking I've Seen

  • By John Hayes on 02-19-14

If You're Over 30, Don't Buy This Book

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

Reviewed: 03-23-16

I wish I had known that the audience for this book is 20-Somethings; I'm thinking that there might be something in it for that particular audience. For the rest of us, however, definitely not.

  • And Again

  • A Novel
  • By: Jessica Chiarella
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan, Joy Osmanski, Rebekkah Ross, and others
  • Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 325
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 295
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 295

Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda - four terminally ill patients - have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves - without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared; their fingerprints are different; their vision is impeccable; and, most importantly, their illnesses have been cured.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not what I hoped

  • By Alice on 01-15-16

Real Potential Unfulfilled

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

Reviewed: 01-24-16

I was excited to listen to this book because I was anticipating some genuine insights into human nature and the unfolding of a larger "world view," but I found the book very disappointing in these regards. As several other reviewers have noted, the major problem with this novel is that the four main characters are unlikeable people who have been given a second chance at life and are, to my mind, surprisingly ungrateful and wasteful of that chance. They are simultaneously self-absorbed and unself-aware. I think that Ms. Chiarella wanted us to draw certain understandings from the characters' experiences because she came very close to lecturing her readers on what was obvious to us but, oddly enough, not to her characters. It would have been better had she let these life lessons come through more subtly via the evolution of her characters over their first year past Sub-Life. Unfortunately, what might have been a clever and fascinating conceit was quite poorly executed.

About the narration: I love to listen to Julia Whelan read--as long as she is reading female characters. All of her males, however, sound like hoarse old men no matter the age they are supposed to be. Joy Osmanski did a nice job, but Rebekkah Ross and Corey Brill were simply adequate.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful