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Karen O'Byrne

Langley, BC, CA
  • 5
  • reviews
  • 55
  • helpful votes
  • 24
  • ratings
  • The Lost Girls

  • A Novel
  • By: Heather Young
  • Narrated by: Alice Rosengard, Laurel Schroeder
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 558
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 510
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 508

In 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family's vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys the family - her father commits suicide, and her mother and two older sisters spend the rest of their lives at the lake house, keeping a decades-long vigil for the lost child. Sixty years later, Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before her death, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person who might care: her grandniece, Justine.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging story spanning three generations.

  • By LilMissMolly on 09-23-16

Mesmerizing

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

Reviewed: 07-07-18

Kept me listening for hours on end. Beautifully written and unexpected. I hope she writes again.

  • Slow Horses

  • Slough House, Book 1
  • By: Mick Herron
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 10 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 975
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 897
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 897

Slough House is a dumping ground for British intelligence agents who've screwed up cases in any number of ways - by leaving a secret file on a train or blowing a surveillance. River Cartwright, one such "slow horse", is bitter about his failure and about his tedious assignment transcribing cell phone conversations. When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • fantastic

  • By Josh Alford on 07-05-17

I love books that promise redemption

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

Reviewed: 05-17-18

And this one does from the beginning when we learn about all the “slow horses” or losers really. Yes. Difficult to get all the characters straight in the beginning but that does resolve as the narrative progresses. Utterly satisfying, at times very funny, timely and a great ending.

  • The Japanese Lover

  • By: Isabel Allende
  • Narrated by: Joanna Gleason
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,051
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,847
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,836

In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family's Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • My first negative review

  • By Karen O'Byrne on 11-11-15

My first negative review

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

Reviewed: 11-11-15

I have listened to hundreds of Audible titles and have had very few disappointments. Or at least I should say that I've had some less than good experiences but perhaps those were expected. So that is why I feel impelled to write this review. I had high expectations for this book that just were not met.

The book deals with huge themes - the Nazi extermination of Jews, the internment of Japanese in America during WW2, child pornography. And other themes. But I found myself detached, my mind wandered as I listened. Why? Because I could not empathize with Alma the protagonist and supposedly the touchstone for the rest of the characters in the book. Yes, she suffered a tremendous blow as a child when she was separated from her parents but she went on to live a privileged and self-absorbed life. Even the love affair with the Japanese lover was unconvincing and lacked passion. Nothing she had done could or should have invoked such enduring devotion from him. The devotion showed to her by the other characters therefore suffered the same lack of credibility and empathy. The narrator also disappointed. She had a fairly flat affectless delivery. All in all a very disappointing listen.

47 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Red Sparrow

  • A Novel
  • By: Jason Matthews
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Bobb
  • Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,021
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,888
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,854

Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow" - a trained seductress in the service, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America's valuable mole in Moscow.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Spy Novel (with a few quirks)

  • By Aaron on 01-12-14

Unexpected espionage novel

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

Reviewed: 08-15-14

What did you love best about Red Sparrow?

I'm not usually an espionage novel lover unless it's Le Carre whom I love. But this story grabbed me from the beginning and never let me go. I agree with some of the other reviewers that the anticipated love scenes were a little lacklustre. But then I have to shake myself - this isn't 50 Shades of Grey (which I must confess I have decidedly chosen not to read) but a well-crafted spy tale where the sexual and emotional scenes are really just episodes to move the plot along and rightly so. I also loved all the recipes about the food the characters ate along the way. The author is obviously a foodie and I found myself anticipating each recipe.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Red Sparrow?

Obviously the end about which I will say no more.

What about Jeremy Bobb’s performance did you like?

I think he did an excellent job with all the accents. Not too obviously vaudeville Russian.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I actually laughed a lot especially when Gable was around. I loved his sotto vocci comments.

  • Three Junes

  • A Novel
  • By: Julia Glass
  • Narrated by: John Keating
  • Length: 13 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,509
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 595
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 598

Three Junes is a vividly textured symphonic novel set on both sides of the Atlantic during three fateful summers in the lives of a Scottish family. Three Junes "almost threatens to burst with all the life it contains...extraordinary," says Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful Narration of a Wonderful Story!

  • By Dagmar on 01-09-03

Three Junes

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-28-07

This is my first review after literally dozens and dozens of listens. I've been tempted to write reviews before - so, this doesn't mean this is the best I've listened to. But - it was a great listen. I didn't want to reach the end - I grew that much interested in these people's lives. If you're interested in a narrative about relationships between spouses, lovers, siblings, pet owners and pets, you will enjoy this book, The narration was excellent.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful