LISTENER

Debbie

Toney, Alabama
  • 829
  • reviews
  • 2,747
  • helpful votes
  • 831
  • ratings
  • A Flicker of Light

  • By: Roberta Kagan
  • Narrated by: Alan Burton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 45

In 1935, the Nazis established a program called "The Lebensborn". Their agenda: To genetically engineer perfect Aryan children. These children were to be the new master race, once HItler had cleared all undesirable elements out of Europe. Within a year the first institution was built. The year is 1943.... The forests of Munich are crawling with danger under the rule of "The Third Reich", but in order to save the life of her unborn child, Petra Jorgenson must escape from the Lebensborn Institute. Alone, seven months pregnant, and penniless, avoiding the watchful eyes of the armed guards in the overhead tower, she waits....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Nazis, Jews, and Gypsies

  • By Debbie on 03-17-19

Nazis, Jews, and Gypsies

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

Reviewed: 03-17-19

This tale of the Holocaust was interesting and held my attention, particularly throughout the first two thirds of the book. The narration was strange, as the narrator had an English accent, not German. The overall story could have been better had the author not introduced so many different issues and people into it, particularly near the end of the book. I would have enjoyed more about the main characters and how they fared after enduring all they had during the war. The needless descriptions of the sexual encounters made the story less appealing to me. The best parts were when Aaron was befriended by the Jewish doctor and began studying to become a doctor himself, and when he came to the farm where Petra had taken refuge with Siegland and Klaus. The bones of the story are very good, just not fleshed out enough to my liking. For some reason, the author seems to think that readers/listeners want to hear every detail of love making and the details of sexual assaults by the SS. We don’t. The horrid acts that took place in Dachau needed to be told, and I applaud her for accurately describing those. I would have also liked more details of “The Lebensborn", the Nazis program to bring as many perfect, genetically engineered Aryan children into the world as possible. All in all, I’m glad that I listened to the book.

  • The Unveiling

  • Age of Faith, Book 1
  • By: Tamara Leigh
  • Narrated by: Mary Sarah Agliotta
  • Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 658
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 584
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 588

Twelfth century England: Two men vie for the throne: King Stephen the usurper and young Duke Henry the rightful heir. Amid civil and private wars, alliances are forged, loyalties are betrayed, families are divided, and marriages are made. For four years, Lady Annyn Bretanne has trained at arms with one end in mind - to avenge her brother's murder as God has not deemed it worthy to do. Disguised as a squire, she sets off to exact revenge on a man known only by his surname, Wulfrith.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Story of Forgivenes and Love

  • By 🌸DARA on 09-11-14

Woman Warrior in Twelfth Century England

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

Reviewed: 03-15-19

Rich historical tale of a time when women had their place and stayed in it. But when Lady Annyn Bretanne’s brother was murdered and brought home unavenged, she took it upon herself to train as a man to bring his killer to justice. Raised by her father and uncle after her mother’s death, Lady Annyn wasn’t much on the ways of women, learning to hunt and fish at a young age. I’m not a big fan of romance novels, and especially not ones filled with steamy sex scenes. But not to worry, this is not one of those. It’s a story of a time of political unrest, of betrayal between friends, of strained alliances, and a coming of age of a young and beautiful woman, who had never believed herself so. It’s a tale of faith, tested, and the love between a mother and son. Its an age-old story of choices between good and evil, beautifully told. I’m so glad that I listened.

  • An Untamed Land

  • Red River of the North Series #1
  • By: Lauraine Snelling
  • Narrated by: Callie Beaulieu
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 297
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 261
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 265

After three long years of scrimping and saving to buy tickets for their passage to America, Roald and Ingeborg Bjorklund, along with their son, Thorliff, finally arrive at the docks of New York City. It was the promise of free land that fed their dream and lured them from their beloved home high above the fjords of Norway in 1880. As they join the throngs of countless immigrants passing through Castle Garden, the Bjorklunds soon discover that nothing is as they had envisioned it.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • From Norway to America in 1880s

  • By Debbie on 03-14-19

From Norway to America in 1880s

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

Reviewed: 03-14-19

Two young couples, after saving for a long time in Norway, travel on a ship to America to settle in the Dakota Territory. (Roald and Ingeborg Bjorklund and Carl and Karen Bjorklund) The first two thirds of the book was interesting to me, telling of their hardships, the birth of Carl and Karen’s baby aboard the ship, the travel to the land they would settle, the relationship between the two brothers, their wives and the young, Thorliff, Roald’s son from his first marriage. (His wife had died in childbirth.) Where it went off the rails for me was the last portion of the book, where, for, some reason, the author began to tell the story at warp speed, and without warning, overwhelming tragedies began to hit both families. The ending of the book was abrupt, without clear resolutions to any of the issues brought forth. I won’t be continuing the series, and sadly so, because it had a lot of promise.

  • A Slender Thread

  • By: Tracie Peterson
  • Narrated by: Ruth Ann Phimister
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

Abandoned by their mother while they were still small children, the Mitchell sisters have always felt the pain of rejection. Their search for love and a sense of worth drives them apart by the time they are adults. But when their mother, now a famous actress, suffers an untimely death, the five reunite for the funeral. There, they begin to salvage frayed relationships, held together only by a slender thread.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Not Interesting or Engaging..

  • By Juls on 03-27-07

Faith, Family and Forgiveness

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

Reviewed: 03-11-19

A great listen by author Tracie Peterson, especially so for women, mothers and grandmothers. If you are looking for an action-packed story, look elsewhere. If you’re a Christian, seeking peace in the midst of the storm, this one is for you. As the mother of five kids and ten grandkids, this tale of grandmother Mattie Mitchell, who had raised all five of her daughter’s girls after her daughter abandoned them was a hard-hitting one for me. All five granddaughters have gathered with Mattie on her farm in Kansas, because their actress mother has committed suicide. Home for the funeral of a mother they’ve never really known, the reunion sparks memories of their childhood, both good and bad. As each young woman returns to their busy lives, the memories of unfulfilled hopes and dreams travel with them, and the realization that many of the choices they’ve made are rooted in the past. Coming to terms with the loss of what could never be, each granddaughter begins a new journey . . . of coping, wrestling with each other, those they love and particularly with God, and trying to determine just who they want to become. Life jarring circumstances come to each young woman, forcing them to individually evaluate their future, their relationship with God and the role of faith and family. This isn’t a “pretty” little Christian story tied up in a bow, just as none of our lives as followers of Christ are. That’s what I like about this author. We make big mistakes. We get off the steep and narrow road. And we all need a Grandma like Mattie.

  • Twelve Angry Librarians

  • Cat in the Stacks Mysteries, Book 8
  • By: Miranda James
  • Narrated by: Erin Bennett
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 150
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 132
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 132

Charlie Harris is stressed out. The Southern Academic Libraries Association is holding this year's annual meeting at Athena College. Since Charlie is the interim library director, he must deliver the welcome speech to all the visiting librarians. And as if that weren't bad enough, the keynote address will be delivered by Charlie's old nemesis from library school. It's been 30 years since Charlie has seen Gavin Fong, and he's still an insufferable know-it-all capable of getting under everyone's skin.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another great addition

  • By Dawn on 02-23-17

Librarians, Grandbabies, Murder and LOVE

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

Reviewed: 03-09-19

The eighth in the Cat in the Stacks mysteries finds Charlie and Diesel busy getting ready for the Librarians’ Conference at Athena College. Since filling the position of interim director, Charlie has assumed a variety of duties, including delivering the welcome speech to the group of visiting librarians. The keynote speaker is Gavin Fong, an old classmate from library school, who has made more enemies than friends over the years. He has also applied for the permanent director’s position that Charlie is now filling at the library at Athena College. Having jumped from job to job for some 30 years, Charlie is dismayed at the prospect of the college considering Gavin Fong for the position. But he doesn’t have to worry about it long. Gavin drops dead while delivering his speech, in front of all the guests, after taking a sip of water from his water bottle. Since Charlie and Gavin had a public spat, which came to blows earlier (provoked by Gavin), Charlie is the first suspect in the murder. This book in the series is a lot of fun. Charlie has to decide whether he wants to come out of retirement to take the full-time position of director of the college library, plus both of his kids are now expecting babies. About to become a grandfather for the first time, he relishes the thought of bouncing grandbabies on his knee. But when daughter, Laura, tells her dad that her husband has been offered a job out of state, Charlie is filled with anxiety . . . the kind that any father and grandfather would experience. Wisely, Charlie keeps mum about his feelings, supporting whatever decision the couple have to make, and gets busy investigating the murder of Gavin Fong. Charlie’s relationship with his long-time friend, Helen Louise, gets closer. Very enjoyable listen, and excellent ending.

  • Nathan Coulter

  • By: Wendell Berry
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael
  • Length: 4 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 134
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133

This, the first title in the Port William series, introduces the rural section of Kentucky with which novelist Wendell Berry has had a lifelong fascination. When young Nathan loses his grandfather, Berry guides listeners through the process of Nathan's grief, endearing the listener to the simple humanity through which Nathan views the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully written, well read

  • By Jenna Moon on 08-16-10

Kentucky Men Tougher than Pine Knots

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

Reviewed: 03-07-19

I met the men of my grandpa’s era in this book, the men who rubbed every nickel until the buffalo ‘bout wore off it. Men who split wood, stacked it along the fence, and ricked it before breakfast. Men to whom hard work was a religion, a means to an end, and the land they worked was their treasure, their inheritance, and their bequest to their children. And I was the oldest of many grandchildren, just so happened to be a girl, who grew up next to grandma and grandpa, on a limestone filled, farm on the Nolin River in Kentucky. Tobacco raisin’, garden growin’, huntin’, fishin’ and hard work, dusk to dawn . . . that’s what rural life in Kentucky was all about. And there was a glue, a love that goes beyond description, a fierceness that burned in grandpa, that held it all together. I saw him madder than a wet hen . . . too mad . . . and as a kid, I didn’t understand how it could flare up so fast and hot . . . listening to Nathan Coulter made a light go off in my head, and made me see clearly why grandma never challenged grandpa, how she kept loving him, accepting him, and how their complete opposite natures meant harmony. People, country people, without PhDs and big degrees, learned a lot more than we do now; accepted what they couldn’t change; and were better for it. I loved hearing all the old sayings that I heard growing up. It was an adventure, sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes full of insight. An absolutely glorious listen.

  • The Midwife of Hope River

  • A Novel of an American Midwife
  • By: Patricia Harman
  • Narrated by: Anne Wittman
  • Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 163
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142

Midwife Patience Murphy has a gift: a talent for escorting mothers through the challenges of bringing children into the world. Working in the hardscrabble conditions of Appalachia during the Depression, Patience takes the jobs that no one else wants, helping those most in need - and least likely to pay. She knows a successful midwifery practice must be built on a foundation of openness and trust - but the secrets Patience is keeping are far too intimate and fragile for her to ever let anyone in.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful and Moving

  • By Daryl on 10-07-16

Coal Mines, The Depression, and Lots of Babies

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

Reviewed: 03-06-19

West Virginia is not a fun and fanciful place in 1929 in the middle of the depression, where an already hard scrabble existence is the norm. Where coal miners, farmers and both blacks and whites try to eke out a living. The midwife, Patience Murphy with a closet full of secrets is an outsider, keeping to herself, not allowing anyone into her private life. Little by little she is accepted by the rural residents of Hope River who rely on her to tend to their births and even some of their health needs, as the cost of medical care is beyond their reach. Working for little or no pay, Patience delivers babies, black and white, and is happy to be rewarded with a chicken or side of bacon after a birth. There is a beauty and unique truthfulness to Patricia Harman’s writing, which some may find off putting. But not me. When we are young, we aren’t always wise. We do impulsive things. We think with our hearts. When Patience fled to West Virginia, she carried with her secrets, pain . . . and the memories of loves and loss so deep that she dared not disclose. She was ahead of her time in race relations and the fight for battered women. I don’t agree with her stance of same sex relationships, but do agree with her loving her two friends who were in that relationship. Love covers a multitude of sins. My heart broke that Patience didn’t have the courage to follow the Lord anymore, but time and time again, she tried to pray, sang hymns and cried out to God. Who of us have not been those same shoes? The author deals with loss in a way that is honest and hits you right where you live. Patience’s relationships with her friend, Bitsy, Mrs. Potts, the old black midwife, and Dr. Hester, the veterinarian were described in heart wrenching detail, making the story rich and vibrant. The ending was superb. If a person can’t appreciate that we live in a much different America now, something is lacking in their cold heart.

  • Ruler of the Night

  • Thomas and Emily De Quincey, Book 3
  • By: David Morrell
  • Narrated by: Neil Dickson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 191
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 178
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 178

In Ruler of the Night, listeners feel they're actually on the harrowing fogbound streets of 1855 London as the brilliant opium-eater Thomas De Quincey and his irrepressible daughter, Emily, confront their most ruthless adversary. The stakes couldn't be greater: both the heart of Victorian society and De Quincey's tormented soul.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not nearly as enjoyable as the first two

  • By Chana Goanna on 01-12-17

Old Ghosts, Dead Lawyer, and Trains

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

Reviewed: 03-04-19

The last in the Opium Eater trilogy (Thomas and Emily De Quincey mysteries) takes place in London in 1855 when the first murder on a railway takes place. Grotesque and bloody, the murder throws the victim from the train, leaving a trail of blood, and little evidence of his identity. Also, on the train, after leaving Lord Palmerston’s home, Emily and Thomas, try to protect the evidence and the body until Scotland Yard detectives Ryan and Becker can arrive. This may be my favorite of the three books in the series, as it links back to Thomas’ childhood and days on the street. The relationships between Thomas, Emily, Ryan and Becker have grown since the first book and are more satisfying as well. The haves and have-nots are in a constant dual, heartbreakingly so, and no one better portrays this than author, David Morrell. The stock market, the rise of the railway system, the crooked dealings of the upper echelon of society are aptly described, as well as the plight of the street urchins, the lowest of the low. The ending of this story is superb, unexpected and not to be missed.

  • Inspector of the Dead

  • By: David Morrell
  • Narrated by: Matthew Wolf
  • Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 431
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 403
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 403

The year is 1855. The Crimean War is raging. The incompetence of British commanders causes the fall of the English government. The empire teeters. Amid this crisis comes opium-eater Thomas De Quincey, one of the most notorious and brilliant personalities of Victorian England. Along with his irrepressible daughter, Emily, and their Scotland Yard companions, Ryan and Becker, De Quincey finds himself confronted by an adversary who threatens the heart of the nation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A plot that left be breathless.

  • By jerelyn on 04-25-15

Murder, War, Politics, and The Opium Eater

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

Reviewed: 03-04-19

The second book in the trilogy of the historical Thomas and Emily De Quincey mysteries finds the two still in London residing at Lord Palmerston’s home, though grudgingly so. Also living there temporarily are Scotland Yard detectives, Ryan and Becker, recuperating from injuries sustained previously. As the four attend services in St. James Church, in Lord Palmerston’s private pew, no less, they witness a heinous murder in an adjacent pew. The year is 1855. The Crimean War is raging, and the English government has fallen. The British aristocracy is uneasy. Set against threats of additional murders, following the one in St. James, and an underlying secret that goes unspoken, Thomas and Emily De Quincey aid Ryan and Becker in trying to determine who will be attacked next. They are invited into the inner sanctum of Queen Victoria and King Albert, much to the dismay of Lord Palmerston. The political intrigue of the time is thick, with King Albert being of German descent, there is mistrust afoot. The queen’s life had been threatened some eleven years earlier, and the new murders seem to be connected to those attacks, as well to the political unrest. And the lines between the aristocracy and the people are more clearly drawn than ever. The experience of the Opium Eater and his daughter become critical in the solving of the murders, as they escalate . . . Ryan and Becker both secretly harbor affections for Emily, Thomas De Quincey’s daughter, who has her hands full caring for her father and his addiction. Full of historical detail, rich descriptions of cobblestone, fog filled streets and Victorian ideas which are at times surprising, Inspector of the Dead is an excellent addition to the trilogy. I gain more and more respect for Emily De Quincey, in her bloomer skirts and her aspirations of becoming a nurse. Great listen!

  • Murder as a Fine Art

  • By: David Morrell
  • Narrated by: Matthew Wolf
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 712
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 669
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 674

Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater", is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London 43 years earlier. The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey's essay "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts". Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter, Emily, and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Historical Fact + Fiction = Gothic Mystery

  • By Amy on 07-16-13

The Real, The Fictional and The Repugnant

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

Reviewed: 03-04-19

The first in the series of the Thomas and Emily De Quincey historical mysteries begins with Murder as Fine Art. I have to admit that the beginning really turned my stomach, plus I had a hard time tying all the loose ends together and making them into something that made sense. But perhaps that was the point. The real Thomas De Quincey had the same trouble, differentiating between what was an opium induced nightmare (even in the daytime) and what was reality. Was it rats gnawing at his flesh? Or was someone trying to kill him? His grown daughter, Emily, had her hands full trying to keep her opium addicted father alive, and continually tried to wean him off his “medicine”. His writings, including Confessions of an English Opium-Eater had gained him notoriety among all of England, as well as his essay "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts", which detailed the infamous Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811, some 43 years earlier. Misunderstood by most, De Quincey was not applauding the work of the murderer, nor the use of opium in his writings, but analyzing, critically thinking about them and describing in detail his thoughts. When other murders, seemingly exactly like the Ratcliffe Highway murders occur, De Quincey becomes the prime suspect, because of his intimate knowledge of the first murders. At first the Scotland Yard detectives want nothing to do with Thomas and Emily De Quincey . . . and it is an interesting tale indeed to listen as the tables are turned and the two sides begin to work together in solving the mystery. This book is one of the most interesting, mesmerizing stories I’ve ever come across. The combination of historical fact and fiction, mystery and nail-biting intrigue are the BEST. I binge listened to all three in the series, one after the other!