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Episteme

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  • 20
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  • The Testament of Mary

  • By: Colm Toibin
  • Narrated by: Meryl Streep
  • Length: 3 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,715
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,583
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,569

Meryl Streep’s performance of Colm Tóibín's acclaimed portrait of Mary is hailed by the New York Times Book Review as “an ideal audiobook,” presenting the three-time Academy Award-winner in “yet another great role.” Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary presents Mary as a solitary older woman still seeking to understand the events that become the narrative of the New Testament and the foundation of Christianity. In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son's crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel. They are her keepers, providing her with food and shelter and visiting her regularly. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was "worth it"; nor that the "group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye," were holy disciples. This woman who we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone, in a portrait so vivid and convincing that our image of Mary will be forever transformed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • from a non believer...

  • By Taormina60 on 09-27-13

Pointless

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

Reviewed: 02-12-19

I tried, I really did, to figure out what the author was getting at, but if there was any there there, it went right past me undetected. She (the Mary presented here) was one pissed off lady, but at whom and about what shifted around too much for me to get the point. Meryl Streep’s voice is lovely and she did an OK job of the reading, but it did not redeem the book for me.

  • Heft

  • By: Liz Moore
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
  • Length: 11 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,435
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,069
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,067

Forrmer academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing--Captivating--Altering

  • By Mel on 04-19-12

The essence of slow

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

Reviewed: 02-12-19

The story, such as it is, creeps along in inches. Painfully slow. Some character development along the way, but takes wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ay too long to get there.

It seems to be about pathological loneliness, in that the three main characters are described as painfully lonely, but my sympathy was attenuated because they also consistently made decisions that isolated themselves. Addiction—booze, food—is in there too, as is mental illness (bipolar disorder), but the latter is shown but not really addressed.

The sentence-by-sentence writing is good, and the narration is ok, but I like more story to my stories.

  • Rain Dogs

  • Detective Sean Duffy, Book 5
  • By: Adrian McKinty
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,840
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,714
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,700

When journalist Lily Bigelow is found dead in the courtyard of Carrickfergus castle, it looks like a suicide. Yet there are a few things that bother Duffy just enough to keep the case file open, which is how he finds out that Bigelow was working on a devastating investigation of corruption and abuse at the highest levels of power in the UK and beyond. And so Duffy has two impossible problems on his desk: Who killed Lily Bigelow? And what were they trying to hide?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Narrator IS the Story

  • By Craig on 03-15-16

Justice?

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

Reviewed: 02-06-19

“Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done”.

Not a sentiment McKinty seems to subscribe to.

Ultimately, the book annoyed me. Not only did the detectives not ask obvious questions at the beginning, but (SPOILER) the main criminal (once tracked down) gets away with it. I’m normally OK with slow development, but not so much when it’s because the detective is being thick and the reader is being fobbed off with supposed wit instead of plot development.

Narrator has a pleasant voice and I like the accent, and he does some differentiation of voices between characters, but not a lot.

Tried this one because it was in a two for one sale. Probably won’t try another

  • Once Upon a River

  • By: Diane Setterfield
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 922
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 857
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 851

A body always tells a story - but this child’s was a blank page. Rita reached for the lantern. She trained its light on the child’s face. "Who are you?" she murmured, but the face said as little as the rest of her. It was impossible to tell whether, in life, these blunt and unfinished features had borne the imprint of prettiness, timid watchfulness, or sly mischief. If there had once been curiosity or placidity or impatience here, life had not had time to etch it into permanence. Only a very short time ago, the body and soul of this little girl had still been securely attached.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyed thoroughly... one minor glitch

  • By Jen817 on 12-27-18

Lovely meander through intertwined stories

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

Reviewed: 12-20-18

Unlike some other reviewers, I liked this better, even much better, than The Thirteenth Tale. It is slow, so if fast action is your thing, you may not like this. But she deftly evokes a time and culture, introduces us to and develops many characters, weaves in some fanciful elements, and includes just enough story (for me) to make the slow drift along the river, so to speak, very enjoyable. And she brings all the stories to very satisfactory resolutions, although she had me worried at one point.

She has a lot to say about stories and story-telling. I’ve noticed a lot of writers, oddly, seem to be fascinated by the topic/process/ whatever. However, she handles it very skillfully, even charmingly, unlike some others I’ve read who do it in a very self-absorbed or excessively philosophical way. I think she manages this by showing, not telling, as they say, so she never descends into pedantry.

There are some kinda tough bits of abuse, of women and children, so if you are easily triggered by such, you might want to avoid this one. Nothing gratuitous, all integral to the stories and realistic to the time period. And you can also skip the worst bits (I do).

Oh, and Juliet Stevenson does an excellent job narrating, though she speaks fairly slowly, so again if you want speed—this is not for you.

Strongly recommend it.

  • Fingersmith

  • By: Sarah Waters
  • Narrated by: Juanita McMahon
  • Length: 23 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,179
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,983
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,984

Orphaned as an infant, Susan Trinder was raised by Mrs. Sucksby, “mother” to a host of pickpockets and con artists. To pay her debt, she joins legendary thief Gentleman in swindling an innocent woman out of her inheritence. But the two women form an unanticipated bond and the events that follow will surprise every listener. Fingersmith was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize, and was chosen as book of the year 2002 by more organizations than any other novel. Sarah Waters was named Author of the Year at the 2003 British Book Awards.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The BEST BOOK I"ve read this year!

  • By Amazon Customer on 08-30-11

Way too decadent, too much Victorian underbelly

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

Reviewed: 11-23-18

Also too slow. For me. Others taste may vary. (It is now seriously bugging me that I cannot punctuate that correctly.)

The prose is well-written, and Juanita MacMahon does a fantastic job—I could listen to her forever. But I need some redeeming sweetness and light, so to speak, to leaven the poverty, crime, misogyny, corruption, decay, and dilapidation of a “realistic” portrayal of pretty much any society or era. There was some, but not enough for me. And frankly, the portrayal of a mansion that should be completely falling down and unlivable, based on the description, as housing not only people but an entire library of books somehow intact just got to me.

And slow! Omigawd. I like a leisurely pace with plenty of character development and opportunity to savor story, setting, and character, but this was EXTREME. For example, the original train trip out of London—all of 40 miles—was excruciating. It felt like the author wanted us to suffer as much and as long as the character. Even in the fog, it was just not plausible to me that it would take that long, or that we needed to experience every last detail of it.

Pretty prose and beautiful narration did not compensate. I will be returning the book.

  • The Oxford Tearoom Mysteries Box Set Collection I

  • Prequel + Books 1 & 2
  • By: H.Y. Hanna
  • Narrated by: Pearl Hewitt
  • Length: 17 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 537
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 473
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 472

"Scones, a tea shop in England, a kitty and a murder...yes, please!" Enjoy the first three books in the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries, in one handy collection! Join tearoom sleuth Gemma Rose, her mischievous feline Muesli, and the nosy Old Biddies as they tackle murder and mystery in the beautiful city of Oxford - not to forget the delights of delicious baking and afternoon tea in a quaint English village!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A nice little mystery bundle

  • By Julie on 03-07-18

Struck out for me

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

Reviewed: 08-10-18

In the prequel: protagonist is the main suspect, but only by virtue of seriously deficient police work and stupidity on her part. Most of the rest was ok, though the relationship with the mother began to grate, but couldn’t hack the mystery part itself, so skipped to the end.
Book 1: slow start. Relationship with mother got worse. Ugly American victim grated (full disclosure—I’m American). Bodice-ripper style romantic tropes made me gag and start skipping forward. Killer was the obvious one, though I never learned the motive because I couldn’t bear listening to that much of the rest. And I had liked the character and am mildly pissed that he was made to be the killer. Hoping Audible will let me send it back, because I won’t be able to handle Book 2 either, I suspect.
Which is a shame, because at the level of basic writing, she’s pretty good, and the narrator is good. Oh well. Back to looking for my next book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Spinning Silver

  • By: Naomi Novik
  • Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan
  • Length: 17 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,535
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,382
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,369

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father's inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty - until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk - grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh - Miryem's fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • One of my favorite authors. Only 1 small complaint

  • By R. W. Olsen on 11-30-18

Her best! For me, anyway.

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

Reviewed: 08-09-18

If your thing is lots of bashing and banging and soldiers and such, or regency style romance, this may not be for you. But if you like tales of good and evil where good prevails, but not in any simplistic way, and characters grow and develop, and things come right in the end, you just might love it as much as I did. Love is crucial, though not romantic love alone. Love and courage and the determination not to give in to greed or fear or even one’s own rage.
The narrator would get five stars from me for her demon voice alone, but she also reads clearly and with meaning, with just a hint of an appropriate accent and just enough differentiation between characters that you follow within a sentence when the author switches between narrative POV. But seriously best demon voice ever.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Silent in the Grave

  • By: Deanna Raybourn
  • Narrated by: Ellen Archer
  • Length: 12 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,868
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,356
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,354

Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave. These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Happily surprised

  • By 9S on 07-04-09

Not sure yet

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

Reviewed: 03-29-18

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Again, not sure

Any additional comments?

The relationship with Brisbane is beginning to give me the creeps. His moves to overpower her and dominate and intimidate her are feeling creepy, almost stalkerish. Why would a woman write this kind of thing? It’s not romantic, it’s creepy. But it’s still only a few chapters in, so maybe she’ll (the author) redeem herself before,the end—but so far, not exactly a romantic role model I’d recommend to young people, women or men.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Secrets of Wishtide

  • By: Kate Saunders
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck
  • Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,109
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,855
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,844

Mrs. Laetitia Rodd, aged 52, is the widow of an archdeacon who makes her living as a highly discreet private investigator. Her brother, Frederick Tyson, is a criminal barrister living in nearby Highgate with his wife and 10 children. Frederick finds the cases, and Laetitia solves them using her arch intelligence and her immaculate cover as an unsuspecting widow. When a case arises involving the son of the highly connected Sir James Calderstone, Laetitia sets off for Lincolnshire undercover as the family's new governess.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Historical intrigue-

  • By Meema on 04-16-17

Thoroughly enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 12-31-16

Would you consider the audio edition of The Secrets of Wishtide to be better than the print version?

No idea--only listened

What did you like best about this story?

The characters, probably. And the fact that Letitia tends to see the good in people.

What about Anna Bentinck’s performance did you like?

She was excellent at giving each character a distinct voice, at least within each scene. I will be looking for other things she's narrated.

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

No, but then I don't particularly want an extreme reaction to a book these days

Any additional comments?

This book will be too slow for many and not violent enough for others. Another reviewer objected to the inclusion of religious references and thoughts in the book, calling it "proselytizing", but there is actually no proselytizing at all in the book, merely a handful of entirely appropriate religious references, thoughts, and language, not overdone at all. Any story that purports to take place in that time and place that contains no religious reference at all would be false to the realities of the culture, especially for the widow of a bishop!

But if those things don't put you off, and you are looking for a pleasant listen to while away a few hours, this one will do you nicely.

179 of 184 people found this review helpful

  • Murder in Thrall

  • By: Anne Cleeland
  • Narrated by: Marcella Riordan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 592
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 542
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 538

First-year detective Kathleen Doyle is a plucky Irish redhead of humble origins and modest means. Chief Inspector Michael Acton is her antithesis: a British lord turned cop. He's tall, handsome, and enigmatic - to a fault. He also has a knack for solving London's most high-profile crimes. Acton selects Doyle out of the newbie squad to partner with him on a series of investigations because she always knows when someone is lying - a trait that comes in handy when interviewing suspects and witnesses.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great new entry into British mysteries

  • By Tracey on 08-05-13

Way too creepy

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

Reviewed: 12-29-16

If you could sum up Murder in Thrall in three words, what would they be?

Creepy sexual fantasy

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not sure, but likely an honest mystery.

What does Marcella Riordan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Lovely Irish accent

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Since I quit after 9.5 chapters and will not finish it, heck no.

Any additional comments?

Unbelievably inappropriate stalker behavior and sexual harassment in the workplace being served up as some kind of modern Harlequin romance/bodice ripper. Seriously gave me the creeps, and makes me think perhaps Ms Cleeland would better spend her time in therapy than writing this sort of thing. The murder mystery element is there only to provide an excuse and context for the sexual fantasy. Yuck.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful