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Diane

Louisville, KY, United States
  • 153
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  • 1,027
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  • American Pharoah

  • The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner's Legendary Rise
  • By: Joe Drape
  • Narrated by: Aaron Abano
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,806
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,553
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,543

History was made at the 2015 Belmont Stakes when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, the first since Affirmed in 1978. As magnificent as the champion is, the team behind him has been all too human while on the road to immortality.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • review

  • By Ellen on 05-17-18

Horse Magic

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

Reviewed: 07-18-18

There is something about horses that continues to draw us in even though they are now unnecessary to our day-to-day lives. For anyone involved with them, whether as owner, rider/jockey, trainer, breeder or farm owner, they are expensive, hard work and can break your heart. Yet we still do it. And then there is the special horse who has both the mind and athletic ability to shine in his/her given discipline--one that takes our breath away and leaves us with a sense of awe.

Abano has been touched by this sense of awe and does his best to communicate it, but overall the book is pretty dry and goes off on several tangents that are likely of little interest to most readers. It doesn't help that the narration is less than inspired. Still, if want to know more about a remarkable horse and his journey to the Triple Crown, it is worth a read.

  • The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition

  • By: Margaret Atwood, Valerie Martin - essay
  • Narrated by: Claire Danes, full cast, Margaret Atwood
  • Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,647
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,922
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,859

After a violent coup in the United States overthrows the Constitution and ushers in a new government regime, the Republic of Gilead imposes subservient roles on all women. Offred, now a Handmaid tasked with the singular role of procreation in the childless household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost everything, even her own name.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT

  • By ambER on 04-20-17

The Feminine Condition

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

Reviewed: 07-18-18

There are so many portents in this book that ring even more true today than they did when the book was first published--the destabilizing impact on society of environmental degradation, the potential for religion to be distorted into an instrument of oppression, the unsettling effect on many men when women have equal freedom and authority-- but the main focus, of course, is on the fragility of the status of women in times of social stress. Whether it is their monopoly on child-bearing, their seemingly irresistible sexual attraction to heterosexual men, the niggling suspicion that men are only minimally necessary to the perpetuation of the species, or a combination of all of these, control of women and a curtailing of their freedom and independence has been, and continues to be, a hallmark of societies under stress.

I will not go into details about the plight of women--and many men--in the society described in The Handmaid'sTale except to say that where the ability to bear children becomes a scarce resource, efforts to control that resource, i.e., women, can be expected to go off the charts with a consequent dehumanization of all women, and often of men as well. Perhaps the most chilling aspect of the book is the afterward, an academic conference set a few centuries after the events of the book, where the speakers analyze Offred's journal with a smug detachment, confident that such an episode could never happen again. Yet, if history teaches us anything it is that the treatment of women as equal and independent human beings is the most rare of phenomena in human history. To assume otherwise is a very dangerous idea indeed.

  • The House of the Spirits

  • A Novel
  • By: Isabel Allende
  • Narrated by: Thom Rivera, Marisol Ramirez
  • Length: 18 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 668
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 608
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 611

The House of the Spirits brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife, Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter, Blanca, embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Narrators spoil it

  • By Cookie on 09-27-16

The Vortex

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

Reviewed: 06-25-18

This is a complicated book and my feelings about it are complicated as well. Images such as a black hole or deadly whirlpool come to mind, both of which would be equally apt in describing the main male character, Estaban Truebas, and the tragic political turmoil of the book.

Estaban is arrogant and ruthless, perhaps hardened by the loss of his first love, and leaves a swath of destruction among the women and men around him throughout the book. Yet he is not totally evil and we can sometimes glimpse his underlying humanity. While Estaban is the dark center of the novel, the story is really of that of the women in his life and how they manage to survive, and occasionally even thrive, while living in the shadow of this darkly powerful man and the male dominated culture which gave rise to him.

The first 2/3 of the book has the tone of a somewhat tempestuous family saga and, as such, leaves one somewhat unprepared for the punch in the gut of the last 1/3--even though the foundations for those horrific events have been laid throughout the book. It is a cautionary tale for those who, in an attempting to preserve their own privilege and power, end up unleashing the darkest of forces, far beyond their control and wreaking havoc on those very things they thought they were protecting.

I found the narration passable but the translation grated at times, for example referring to those with Downs syndrome as mongoloids.This book is NOT whimsical as some have described it, although it does have its lighter moments.Rather, it is a tribute to those who would carry a candle through the darkness of a storm with the conviction that the sun will once again rise on a new day.

  • Florida

  • By: Lauren Groff
  • Narrated by: Lauren Groff
  • Length: 7 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 111
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 100
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 98

Over a decade ago, Groff moved to her adopted home state of Florida. The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida - its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind - becomes its gravitational center. Storms, snakes, and sinkholes lurk at the edge of everyday life, but the greater threats and mysteries are of a human, emotional, and psychological nature. Groff's evocative storytelling and knife-sharp intelligence first transport the listener, then jolt us alert with a crackle of wit, a wave of sadness, a flash of cruelty....

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Don't buy the audiobook

  • By Ethan Gouveia on 06-16-18

Heart of Darkness

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

Reviewed: 06-23-18

I think Lauren Groff needs to move back to upstate New York. Like her, I grew up in upstate NY and, while I haven't re-located to Florida, over the past years I have spent quite a bit of time in rural north central Florida, so I greatly looked forward to this book in hopes it would re-create some of the magic of her earlier work about NY, but this time about the Florida that I have grown to love, a Florida unknown to tourists. I so enjoyed her "Monsters of Templeton," situated in central upstate NY, which definitely had its dark episodes but was replete with a lyrical love for the area and its history, and I had anticipated an equally masterful treatment of hidden Florida.

This book, however, is unrelentingly and oppressively dark with little sense of of place. In fact, the title "Florida" is a misnomer; much of the book is placed outside of Florida with only the most tenuous connection to the state and whatever connection exists is not a happy one. I confess that I did not realize that this was a collection of short stories until about a third of the way through the book. I had thought it was another novel, so naturally I was pretty confused by the absence of continuity which did not set me off on the right foot. I am not especially a fan of short stories but the best collections offer a variety of mood and tone- definitely not a characteristic of this work.

Ms Groff is a beautiful writer but her talents are poorly employed here and like so many authors she would have been better leaving narration in the hands of the professionals.

  • The Woman in the Window

  • A Novel
  • By: A. J. Finn
  • Narrated by: Ann Marie Lee
  • Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 15,240
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 14,031
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 13,989

Anna Fox lives alone - a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times...and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn't, her world begins to crumble. And its shocking secrets are laid bare.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • STAY AWAY!!!

  • By Susan Olson on 06-02-18

Hitchcock Updated

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

Reviewed: 05-13-18

This is an entertaining psychological thriller with many references to classic film noir--both overtly and embedded within the story line. For fans of the genre it is sure to be a winner with many twists and head games to keep the reader guessing. Some of the twists seemed a bit over the top and I confess to having been frustrated at times with the obtuseness of the protagonist, but I still enjoyed the listen-held my interest until the end. A good beach book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Monsters of Templeton

  • By: Lauren Groff
  • Narrated by: Nicole Roberts
  • Length: 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 291
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 146
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 149

In the wake of a disastrous affair with her married archeology professor, brilliant Wilhelmina Cooper arrives back at the doorstep of her hippie mother-turned-born-again-Christian's house in Templeton, New York - a storybook town her ancestors founded on the shores of Lake Glimmerglass. Upon her arrival, a prehistoric monster surfaces in the lake, bringing a feeding frenzy to the quiet town. And Willie learns she has a mystery father her mother has kept secret for Willie's entire life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • SPOILER ALERT!!

  • By Dan's Gal Sal on 03-23-08

Multifarious Multidimensional Monsters

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

Reviewed: 04-25-18

Having grown up not too far away from the Templeton of this novel (aka Cooperstown), I loved the setting and how Groff interweaves real history and legends with the fictions of her novel. It helps if you have read James Fenimore Cooper-or at least watched the movies-as his characters become real-life historical figures in this novel.

The monster of Glimmerglass Lake is a real legend but perhaps not nearly so monstrous as might be imagined. And there are other monsters as well-those of the human variety- but they are each complex in their own way. I agree with those who characterize this book as American magical realism.

The PDF which accompanies the book is really quite good but don't look at it until you have finished since it will give away the ending. In the meantime, don't get too caught up with the various lineages and just enjoy this quirky, sometimes mystical tale of a young woman trying to figure out who she is and what her connection is to the land that brought her forth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Liar

  • By: K. L. Slater
  • Narrated by: Lucy Price-Lewis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,162
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,680
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,662

How far would you go to protect your family? Single dad Ben is doing his best to raise his children, with the help of his devoted mother, Judi. And then Ben meets Amber. Everyone thinks this is a perfect match for Ben, but Judi isn't so sure.... There's just something about Amber that doesn't add up. Ben can't see why his mother dislikes his new girlfriend. And Amber doesn't want Judi anywhere near her new family. Amber just wants Ben and the children.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved It!

  • By TC on 07-03-17

Family Friction

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

Reviewed: 04-24-18

Very well-executed psychological thriller revolving around the growing tension between the 2 main female characters. If you're paying attention you'll have your suspicions but the ending still comes as a bit of a shock. Not a good model for healthy mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relations LOL

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Before We Were Yours

  • A Novel
  • By: Lisa Wingate
  • Narrated by: Emily Rankin, Catherine Taber
  • Length: 14 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35,330
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,185
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,064

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge - until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents - but they quickly realize the dark truth.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I was rivetted, finished in three days.

  • By Lin Cloward on 06-26-17

Children for Sale

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

Reviewed: 04-24-18

The true story of Georgia Tann is a ghastly, if complex, one that continues to shape the world of adoptions, for better or worse, to this very day.This book does well in making that story more widely known. I just wish that this novel did a better job of reflecting the complexity of its subject. The characters are all pretty two-dimensional and the plot is more than a bit predictable with only one slim twist that would is easy to figure out if you thought about it for a minute. If you like books where the story line is straightforward and where you won't have any trouble telling the good guys from the bad, this is a good one for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • House of Echoes

  • A Novel
  • By: Brendan Duffy
  • Narrated by: Allyson Ryan, George Newbern
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 81
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 74
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 74

Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Scary Horror, Remarkable Characters

  • By Wasie on 07-03-15

Echo Chamber

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

Reviewed: 12-12-17

Having grown up in upstate New York, I can personally attest to the weirdness that permeates much of its history and still lingers there to this day--something that I realize afresh every time I visit. I don't know the author's personal background, but I suspect it is similar to mine since the premise of this book links a very dark episode in the history of an isolated small upstate town to the oddness of its current inhabitants. (Having also lived in NYC for a number of years, I did have to chuckle at his implication that NYC is the place in NY where the "normal" people live.)

It is a good effort even though a bit contrived--at times seeming to be an awkward combination of the styles of Michael Connelly and Joyce Carol Oates. Hope he will continue to explore topics along the same lines and further develop the psychological and historical aspects. Personally, I would also like it if he did not shy away from specifics in locating his fictional town--there is much real history in upstate NY that would only add to the atmosphere of his story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Alias Grace

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Margaret Atwood, Sarah Gadon
  • Length: 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,633
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,500
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,494

It's 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Read the book after watching the series.

  • By Sheri Martin on 12-30-17

Mixed Feelings

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

Reviewed: 12-12-17

I wish I had known before listening that this novel was inspired by true events--something the author makes clear in her afterward. It would have made listening to long stretches where not too much happens more intriguing--as Atwood tries to imagine what might have gone into the making of the horrific double murder with which Grace is charged and of which she claimed to have no recollection.

Grace appears to be a very prim woman, seemingly incapable of participating in such an atrocity--so much so that a variety of evangelists and spiritualists lobby tirelessly for her pardon. The novel revolves around the efforts of a young doctor seeking to make a name for himself in the newly developing field of psychology to get to the bottom of her story.

As I mentioned, the book is slow at times but does have its moments of high tension--I confess that it is one of those that I like better in retrospect than when I was actually listening to it.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful