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Karen Holbrook

coastal North Carolina
  • 10
  • reviews
  • 37
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  • 226
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  • Catherine the Great

  • Portrait of a Woman
  • By: Robert K. Massie
  • Narrated by: Mark Deakins
  • Length: 23 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,479
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,268
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,261

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved everyone minute!

  • By Elizabeth on 02-05-12

Fascinating Childhood

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

Reviewed: 08-20-12

What did you love best about Catherine the Great?

Her strange relationship with her husband, Peter III

What did you like best about this story?

The section about her courtship and early marriage.

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

No

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

No

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Crown

  • By: Nancy Bilyeau
  • Narrated by: Nicola Barber
  • Length: 14 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 239
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 207
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 206

In this debut historical thriller, an aristocratic young nun must find a legendary crown in order to save her father’s life and preserve all she holds dear. When novitiate nun Joanna Stafford learns her rebel cousin is condemned by King Henry VIII to be burned at the stake, she makes the decision to break the sacred rule of enclosure and flee her Dominican order in Dartford to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, Sir Richard Stafford, is sent to the Tower of London.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Torture

  • By S. Wells on 03-24-13

A real page turner!

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

Reviewed: 02-10-12

What did you love best about The Crown?

I loved the spunky heroine and also the numerous twists in the plot. The narrator was excellent -- she had a perfect British accent with lots of expression.

What other book might you compare The Crown to and why?

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory. Both books are about the time period of King Henry VIII and both have strong women as the lead characters.

Which character ??? as performed by Nicola Barber ??? was your favorite?

JoAnna Stafford.

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

Yes.

Any additional comments?

I was interested in the role of he nuns and friars in the time of Cromwell,

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • One Good Dog

  • By: Susan Wilson
  • Narrated by: Fred Berman, Rick Adamson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,415
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 982
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 989

Adam March is a self-made “Master of the Universe.” He has it all: the beautiful wife, the high-powered job, the glittering circle of friends. But there is a price to be paid for all these trappings, and the pressure is mounting—until the day Adam makes a fatal mistake. His assistant leaves him a message with three words: your sister called.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A cynic and a cynical dog - PERFECT!!

  • By Shelby on 12-30-10

more about a man than a dog

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

Reviewed: 12-11-11

What made the experience of listening to One Good Dog the most enjoyable?

This is a wonderful book about redemption. Adam lost his high power job after he blows up at his secretary. He needs to come to terms with his past. Community service work helps him find his way back.

What other book might you compare One Good Dog to and why?

The good pig

Which scene was your favorite?

The dogs huddled under the bridge in the snow storm

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

the dog fighting descriptions made my skin crawl

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Every Last One

  • By: Anna Quindlen
  • Narrated by: Hope Davis
  • Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,330
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 567
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 578

In this breathtaking and beautiful novel, the #1 New York Times best-selling author Anna Quindlen creates an unforgettable portrait of a mother, a father, a family, and the explosive, violent consequences of what seem like inconsequential actions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Almost Unbearably Sad, Completely Wonderful

  • By Kimberly on 04-28-10

too much detail

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-17-10

This is a story of an ordinary upper-middle class family who daily conversations and trivia are described in detail by an obsessive mother. Even when a horrible tragedy strikes the family near the middle of the book I still felt like a distant on-looker. It was difficult to relate to any of the characters.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Corrections

  • By: Jonathan Franzen
  • Narrated by: Dylan Baker
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 815
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 254
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 259

The Corrections is a grandly entertaining novel for the new century - a comic, tragic masterpiece about a family breaking down in an age of easy fixes. Richly realistic, darkly hilarious, deeply humane, it confirms Jonathan Franzen as one of our most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A memorable book; flawless narration

  • By Charles Elmore on 01-06-04

Beatuiful prose, Unappealing characters

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-08-10

This was a sad book. Each character had an irredeemable flaw. The author seems to dwell on bathroom behaviors.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Freedom

  • A Novel
  • By: Jonathan Franzen
  • Narrated by: David LeDoux
  • Length: 24 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 4,768
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,378
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,387

Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul - the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter - environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man - she was doing her small part to build a better world.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable book. Really liked the narration.

  • By R. Spangler on 12-13-10

Insightful

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-25-10

Franzen's characters are so well developed I felt they could be members of my own family. He writes in beautiful prose on how too much freedom can wreak havoc on our lives and our environment. I loved the narrator. He had just the right tone of cynicism in his voice.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • People of the Book

  • A Novel
  • By: Geraldine Brooks
  • Narrated by: Edwina Wren
  • Length: 13 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,855
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,237
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,224

This ambitious, electrifying work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in 15th-century Spain.

When it falls to Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, to conserve this priceless work, the series of tiny artifacts she discovers in its ancient binding - an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair - only begin to unlock its deep mysteries.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • tremendously done

  • By Cindyhasitall on 03-07-10

Interesting idea-poorly executed

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-14-10

The author has an interesting premise but I wanted to hear more abut the actual construction and conservation of ancient manuscripts and less about the hardships of Jews through-out the ages. The narration was grating on my ears. Her Slavic and British accents were unconvincing.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Weight of Silence

  • By: Heather Gudenkauf
  • Narrated by: Jim Colby, Eliza Foss, Cassandra Morris, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,181
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,918
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,919

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A jewel

  • By Sara W on 07-17-10

Shallow

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-09

The characters are not well drawn. The mother is the wimp, the mute child's eitiology is unbelievable. I could not stand the narrators' voices. I skipped through portions of the book that seemed irrelevant to the weak plot.

9 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • The Help

  • By: Kathryn Stockett
  • Narrated by: Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
  • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 38,211
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 24,060
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 24,075

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a great surprise!

  • By Jan on 12-02-09

Fantastic!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-14-09

I didn't want to get out of the car. This audiobook was so good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Shanghai Girls

  • A Novel
  • By: Lisa See
  • Narrated by: Janet Song
  • Length: 13 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,260
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,394
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,406

Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father’s prosperous rickshaw business, 21-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Though both sisters wave off authority and tradition, they couldn’t be more different, but both are beautiful, modern, and carefree...until the day their father tells them he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Touching, sad, and enjoyable

  • By Beach Biker on 07-15-09

I Loved it

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-11-09

The characters are so well developed. Even though they came from a completely different culture I felt I knew each of them. It is an interesting story of the Chinese in America in the mid 20th century.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful