LISTENER

Karen Kelly

California
  • 15
  • reviews
  • 63
  • helpful votes
  • 17
  • ratings
  • Scapegallows

  • By: Carol Birch
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck
  • Length: 12 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

New South Wales, 1817. Margaret Catchpole is stranded at a settler's homestead as the floodwater draws in, and she finds herself facing death - as she has several times before. She looks back over her life - the complex and stormy partnership with Will Laud, a 'hell-born-babe', that led her into the world of smuggling and in to a double life. After Will is forced to flee the country, Margaret is taken on as a nursemaid by the wealthy Cobbold family, but a crime against them means she is tried and sentenced to hang.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Painfully slow - Not a book about Australia

  • By Karen Kelly on 01-26-16

Painfully slow - Not a book about Australia

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

Reviewed: 01-26-16

What did you like best about Scapegallows? What did you like least?

I was looking for a historical fiction set in Australia, which I thought this book would be. It starts out in Australia, gets exciting, and then abruptly, becomes a very lengthy, detailed life story of the main character. I made it to chapter 77 out of 87 chapters, and she's still not in Australia. I can't take it any more. I'm returning it. The only thing that kept me listening this long is the performer. It's a lovely story, but in excruciating detail. It's nearly a day by day account of her entire life...and other than one chapter so far, all of the 77 chapters I've listened to are set in England. And she's still there.

Have you listened to any of Anna Bentinck’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but she's absolutely fabulous. Her performance is the only thing that kept me hanging in for so long.

Any additional comments?

The main character makes stupid decision after stupid decision because of a love for a man who never asks her to marry him and she never expects him to. That's enormously frustrating to listen to, too.

  • A Walk in the Woods

  • Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Rob McQuay
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,015
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,328
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,344

The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America - majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaing guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way - and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Informational

  • By Moises C. on 03-29-17

For once, the movie is better than the book

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

Reviewed: 01-23-16

What did you like best about A Walk in the Woods? What did you like least?

The story is great. But - the author goes off on long lectures about the environment and global warming and past bad Forest Services practices. The problem is that this takes you away from a great story. The movie leaves out the lectures, and you're left with a great story. There's just one scene where the environment is discussed, which was good. When I want to read about depressing environmental stories, I'll go read one. When I want an entertaining story about two old guys in the woods, that's what I want. I don't think the two can be blended without putting a major damper on an otherwise good story. I am returning the book. I didn't finish it. I watched the movie instead hoping they filtered out the lectures, and they did. I've never said a movie was better than the book before. But, in this case, it was.

Which character – as performed by Rob McQuay – was your favorite?

Enjoyed them all.

Could you see A Walk in the Woods being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Has been done. Movie is great. Better than the book, because it leaves out all the lectures.

Any additional comments?

Watch the movie instead. I'm returning the book unfinished. Got sick of getting a lecture when I just wanted to know what happens next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Tough Man's Woman

  • By: Deborah Camp
  • Narrated by: Dawn Harvey
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 31

Cassie Dalton is young, beautiful, and already a widow on the dangerous frontier. She always keeps her rifle on hand in case of trouble - which is exactly what the rugged stranger who suddenly appears on her property looks like. She’s about to order him off her property when the handsome devil introduces himself. He’s Drew Dalton, wayward bastard son of Cassie’s dead husband, and he’s come to claim his inheritance.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • 1 star too many.

  • By Kindle Customer on 12-09-16

Great historical ranching love story

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

Reviewed: 09-23-15

Would you listen to A Tough Man's Woman again? Why?

Yes. This was a great story that wasn't too hokey, which a lot of westerns tend to be. I really liked the characters. I also appreciated that the sex scenes were mild enough and infrequent enough that they didn't take over the book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I liked them all, but maybe the Mexican house maid Olita (guessing on spelling). She starts out being very timid and pretty much just hovers in the background of the story, but ends up being surprisingly wise.

What about Dawn Harvey’s performance did you like?

She did a great job performing different voices and portraying the energy of the scenes. The only negative, which made me continually chuckle, was her horribly bad Mexican accent for Olita. She sounded like a female Cheech and Chong character LOL. But, otherwise she was so good, I could forgive her for that.

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

Yes, which surprised me. I like historical American fiction after the Revolutionary War, and especially pioneer stories and ranch stories, especially that involve strong women trying to improve their lives. Unfortunately, so many westerns are just so hokey like bad Spaghetti Western movies done in Italy.

But, this was a good story and I was really enjoying the struggles and romance that was growing against their wills - not a typical boy meets girl romance. And even though it was pretty clear from early on who the bad guy was, the side stories and relationships happening until the climax when they catch the bad guy, made me want to listen anyway.

I also appreciated that the sex scenes weren't too long or too detailed, which can get in the way of a good story.

Any additional comments?

If you like a good western and don't mind a couple detailed, but short sex scenes, I think you'll enjoy this.

  • To Taste the Wine

  • By: Fern Michaels
  • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
  • Length: 11 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

Chelsea Myles earns her living as an actress with her uncle's theater troupe, performing cheap plays on the streets of London and picking the customers' pockets. Until one night, a robbery goes awry and Chelsea is left holding a purse with enough gold to buy her passage to Australia, and the chance of a fresh start. Once on board the vessel, Chelsea is intrigued by a fellow passenger, Quaid Tanner, who is returning to his vineyard in Australia. As much as Quaid admires the feisty, courageous Chelsea, circumstances seem destined to keep them apart.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great story but too detailed in sex scenes for me

  • By Karen Kelly on 09-23-15

Great story but too detailed in sex scenes for me

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

Reviewed: 09-23-15

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I was really enjoying this story until they started having sex. When I read her books, I can just flip past the graphic sex scenes (I like to write my own, thank you), and get on with the stories. She writes such great stories. But, with the audio book, I felt captive and didn't want to deal with continually fast forwarding to get back to the story. It was too much for me and I quit listening.

What was one of the most memorable moments of To Taste the Wine?

I love stories about women who move to another country (in historical fiction) to better their lives. Love stories about Australia. The memorable moment for me was when I made the decision to let go of this great story, because I just couldn't listen to another pornographic detailed sex scene. All I need is, "and then they had great sex" and woke up and the adventure continues. But, page after page of lengthy excruciating detail? Ugh. If you're into porn, you'll love it.

Have you listened to any of Anne Flosnik’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. She's fantastic. I highly recommend listening to her read Sara Lark's books about mail order brides that move to Australia, which is a trilogy, including Song of the Spirits.

Was To Taste the Wine worth the listening time?

Yes, until the sloppy sex scenes took over the story.

Any additional comments?

I will continue to read Fern Michaels books because she writes such good stories, but where I can just flip past the sex scenes, not an audible book.

  • The Good Earth

  • By: Pearl S. Buck
  • Narrated by: Anthony Heald
  • Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,689
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,561
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,581

This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow

  • By Ryan on 05-08-10

Narrator sounds just like Captain Kirk

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

Reviewed: 09-23-15

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A different narrator.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Didn't listen long enough to find out because the narrator was so horrible.

How could the performance have been better?

A good narrator. This one sounds just like Captain Kirk from Star Trek (played by William Shatner) with that stilting, oddly phrased way of talking with weird pauses and unnatural emphasis on words, like a horridly bad Shakespeare actor. I just kept seeing Captain Kirk telling the story of a family in China. Way too distracting. Listened for about 30 minutes and kept hoping the narrator would grow on me in a good way. Sad, because I really wanted to listen to this story.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Good Earth?

Can't say. Didn't listen long enough.

Any additional comments?

Read the book unless you want the voice of Captain Kirk to read this story to you.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Gilded Hour

  • By: Sara Donati
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 31 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,743
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,620
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,612

The year is 1883, and in New York City it's a time of dizzying splendor, crushing poverty, and tremendous change. With the gravity-defying Brooklyn Bridge nearly complete and New York in the grips of antivice crusader Anthony Comstock, Anna Savard and her cousin, Sophie - both graduates of the Woman's Medical School - treat the city's most vulnerable, even if doing so may put everything they've strived for in jeopardy.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Slow and plodding. More textbook than novel.

  • By Karen Kelly on 09-14-15

Slow and plodding. More textbook than novel.

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

Reviewed: 09-14-15

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I made it about 23 chapters. There's a mystery of where some orphans ended up who were separated from each other. But, the story would take a turn where there would be a wedding and that became the focus forever in minute details, then another wedding, this and that.

The book starts out more like a novel that happens to teach you some history, but it's like the author couldn't keep that up and it became very apparent her mission was to educate. So there'd be info on contraceptives from that period and lengthy explanations about medical procedures used back then, and women's rights and orphans, and people of mixed races.

I cared about the characters, but the story just became so plodding and kept taking turns into other textbook subjects....ugh, I just couldn't make myself listen to another 20 chapters to find out, finally, what happened to the orphans.

The performer is perfect. If she wasn't so good, I wouldn't have made it this far.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I need something faster moving. Maybe a crime thriller to wake me up.

Which character – as performed by Cassandra Campbell – was your favorite?

Hmmm, I guess Jack, the love interest of the main female doctor. He's down-to-earth and practical and loveable.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Gilded Hour?

All of the lengthy descriptions of medical procedures. Anything where the writing becomes textbook teaching, instead of novel story-telling. I'd suggest the story sticks to the main focus of finding the orphans, keeping the reader engaged. There are just too many side stories that become the main focus for too long.

Any additional comments?

I like to learn history with historical fiction. But, I want the emphasis to be fiction, a good story. If I want to learn the technical procedures or laws for this and that, I'll pick up a textook.

39 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • The Neon Lawyer

  • By: Victor Methos
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 4 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,368
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,773
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,760

With money and hope in short supply, newly minted attorney Brigham Theodore decides it’s time to lower his standards. He joins a seedy fly-by-night firm in Salt Lake City out of desperation. After he loses his first case - a speeding ticket - he’s convinced his career is over. But to his shock, his boss hands him a slightly more complex case: capital murder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • HERE'S THE DEAL

  • By John on 02-02-15

What a surprise! As good as any legal bestseller.

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

Reviewed: 08-30-15

If you could sum up The Neon Lawyer in three words, what would they be?

Couldn't stop listening.

What other book might you compare The Neon Lawyer to and why?

Robert K. Tanenbaum if I had to pick one legal bestselling author, because of his quirky characters and humor, mixed in with serious subjects. This book was a complete surprise based on the reviews. I expected a book that wasn't completely engaging. I couldn't stop listening. I loved the characters, there was just enough humor, and I love that the book puts the main character up against arrogant seasoned lawyers, and he turns out to be an unexpected match for them.

Which character – as performed by Nick Podehl – was your favorite?

Believe it or not, I loved several equally. I felt I got to know the different characters of the quirky law firm the main character gets hired into.

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

There is a vivid and very upsetting description of torture done to a young girl as part of a courtroom scene. It's over quickly, but as the author describes jurors in tears, I was, too.

Any additional comments?

The book is written in 3rd person. I don't care for 1st person novels, so wanted to let you know in case you're like me.

I listened to the book in one day while doing mindless work. I actually considered missing an evening appointment because I wanted to find out how the story ended. Fortunately, the book ended just in time for me to also make my appointment. But, that's how engaging I found this story.

I realize that this book may stretch reality a bit as far as a new lawyer getting a major case and going up against seasoned lawyers. But, it's written so well, and the narration is so good, that it never mattered to me. Plus, by the way, he does have other lawyers to consult. It's not so ridiculous as to be distracting while listening/reading.

I found myself cheering him on and wanting him to kick butt. So, if you can suspend analyzing reality just a little, and you enjoy a good courtroom drama (most of the book is in preparing for trial as opposed to the actual trial), and a good underdog story, I think you'll love this book. I'll be eagerly looking for anything else this author writes.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Island of a Thousand Springs

  • By: Sarah Lark
  • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
  • Length: 18 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41

London, 1732: Nora Reed, the daughter of a merchant, falls hopelessly in love with her father's clerk, Simon. Despite their differing social class, the star-crossed lovers dream of a future on a tropical island - until tragedy strikes, and Nora must face a life without her soulmate. Hopeless, Nora enters a marriage of convenience with Elias Fortnam, a widower and sugar planter in Jamaica. Even without Simon, she is determined to somehow fulfill their tropical fantasy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah Lark is my new favorite author!

  • By Karen Kelly on 08-30-15

Sarah Lark is my new favorite author!

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

Reviewed: 08-30-15

Where does Island of a Thousand Springs rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

My absolute favorite.

What other book might you compare Island of a Thousand Springs to and why?

Any of Sarah Lark's books. All available audio versions are done by the same narrator and she's perfect.

Which scene was your favorite?

I could never name just one.

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

Yes!

Any additional comments?

This book is written in 3rd person. I don't care for 1st person novels, so in case you are like me, I wanted to mention this. I absolutely can't wait for more of Sarah Lark's books to be translated into English, and for more audio versions. I could read and listen to her books over and over and over, and I'm a very picky reader. Her books are very well researched, and although she takes some liberties with history, I like that the basic history is authentic. Be sure and listen to the afterword, for the author's detailed explanations of her research and the actual history of the time and characters.

Her characters are all so well developed that you feel like you know them all. I miss them!

You should know that the main subject of this book is slavery in Jamaica, in case you find the subject upsetting. Without spoiling the story, though, all of the slaves are not victims.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • In the Land of the Long White Cloud

  • By: Sarah Lark
  • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
  • Length: 22 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 590
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 510
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 510

Hardworking London governess Helen Davenport longs for a family of her own but knows the prospect of finding a suitable husband grows dimmer each year. Then she spots an advertisement seeking wives for the churchgoing bachelors of colonial New Zealand and begins an affectionate correspondence with a gentleman farmer.Meanwhile, not far away in Wales, society life bores Gwyneira Silkham, beautiful, daring daughter of a wealthy sheep breeder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Epic - New Zealand

  • By DHackney on 08-30-13

Fantastic epic! If you loved The Thorn Birds...

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

Reviewed: 08-06-15

What other book might you compare In the Land of the Long White Cloud to and why?

I'd compare this to The Thorn Birds, in that it spans a couple generations, and is an epic story with characters you come to love and loathe. From mail order brides, to pioneers developing a new country, with all of the loveable and sinister people that entails. I can't wait to read the next two books in the series.

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

Yes!

Any additional comments?

The performer was perfect. At first, I thought I'd prefer a softer female voice, but it soon becomes apparent that would not be appropriate for this book, as the performer has to not only handle a lot of male dialogue, but explicit violent and hunting scenes, including a seal and whale hunt. She was masterful!

  • The Godforsaken Daughter

  • By: Christina McKenna
  • Narrated by: Sue Pitkin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 91
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 73
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 73

When Ruby Clare's father was alive, they toiled together happily on their dairy farm in Northern Ireland. Since his death Ruby - thirty-three, plump but comely - has been forced indoors and made a domestic drudge for Martha, her endlessly critical mother, and her prettier younger sisters, May and June.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lilting Irish

  • By Kindle Customer on 04-21-17

Performer is so bad I couldn't listen to this book

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

Reviewed: 07-26-15

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

I've never stopped a book purely because I couldn't stand listening to the performer before. The actress who reads this book sounds angry and barks out the words, no matter what she's conveying. I couldn't take the sound of her voice and stopped the book before even finishing Chapter 1.