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Donna Smith McG

Smyrna, GA
  • 100
  • reviews
  • 262
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  • 264
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  • The Art of Inheriting Secrets

  • A Novel
  • By: Barbara O'Neal
  • Narrated by: Stina Nielsen
  • Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 163
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 123

When Olivia Shaw’s mother dies, the sophisticated food editor is astonished to learn she’s inherited a centuries-old English estate - and a title to go with it. Raw with grief and reeling from the knowledge that her reserved mother hid something so momentous, Olivia leaves San Francisco and crosses the pond to unravel the mystery of a lifetime. One glance at the breathtaking Rosemere Priory and Olivia understands why the manor, magnificent even in disrepair, was the subject of her mother’s exquisite paintings. What she doesn’t understand is why her mother never mentioned it to her.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • ‘The Art of Inheriting Secrets’ a fabulous story except for..one thing

  • By Donna Smith McG on 11-12-18

‘The Art of Inheriting Secrets’ a fabulous story except for..one thing

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

Reviewed: 11-12-18

I truly loved this book..I did..and I’m not going to detail every single thing about it because that’s what the summary is about. Just know it’s about a woman, Olivia, from California, who has lost her mom, who’s originally from England. Little does Olivia know that she is about to inherit an estate, a title and a whole lot more, including a beautiful Brit named Samir. That’s my little short summary..the rest is for everyone else to discover. So what did I love and wish was different?

Simply, this story was so complex, but wasn’t hard to follow. There are twists and turns with Olivia and the secrets in the 600 year old or so House with its 37 bedrooms, and then there’s the discovery of her mother and what Olivia didn’t know! I mean it was a book I just couldn’t put down...but, and I refuse to give any spoilers, with literally 15 minutes towards the end of the book, and to me it’s totally not over, IT ENDS!! I can’t tell you how I hate books that end with unanswered questions?! Or is there going to be another book?! Which I obviously see there won’t be..but I was beyond disappointed. It took me less time to read/listen than to think of how I would write this review, because it’s such a great book with an author who pretty much decided “Its over!” This review would have been a true 5 star if it hadn’t been the end, and for that it lost me as the reader. I lost sleep over this book and I wind up with questions unanswered.

As far as narration I don’t think there is a better one than Stina Nielsen, perfect with her British and obviously American accent..she made listening perfect. I’m sorry that just listening didn’t make this book perfect...

In all I truly LOVED the story, the romantic theme, yes sexually too, but not too extreme, but I was disappointed and when you finish a book that leaves you with more questions than answers...I just want to ask the author, “Why?”

  • If I Only Knew

  • By: Corinne Michaels
  • Narrated by: Sophie Eastlake, Shane East
  • Length: 7 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 599
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 564
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 564

My life was perfect - until a shocking tragedy pulled the rug out from underneath me. My children were left without a father. I was without a husband and a provider. Instead of wallowing in my grief, I buried myself in my work at Dovetail Enterprises. Landing the promotion as the CEO’s right hand was exactly what I needed. Getting saddled with Milo Huxley as an assistant is exactly the opposite. I can’t stand him. He’s arrogant, irresponsible, and out for my job. As if that’s not bad enough, he has to be devastatingly sexy, and have a posh English accent that makes me squirm on top of it all.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • “I’m not the good guy you want, but I’m not the villain either.”

  • By tiffany.the.bibliophile on 10-26-18

This was great!..except one thing

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

Reviewed: 11-12-18

I’ve listened to romantic, sexually based novels before and ‘If I Only Knew’ is probably one of the best..except one thing that always drives me crazy with chapters that are shared. In this case ‘Nicole’ who has a horrible tragedy with 2 children and enter ‘Myloe’ British, sexy and the brother of her boss.

Mind you it’s a great story and I definitely did not stop listening even when the sun came up. The sex scenes for me were outstanding, and this book was basically timid to most of Audibles sexy romantic..wow..I can’t even think about the ones I’d be REALLY blushing about! Anyway, the author Corinne Micheals not only had great sex scenes but truly excellent dialogue! Some of it could only be written by a mother, wife, lover & one with a true sense of humor, that’s why it was great!

Okay the only little bit that drives me nuts with combined narration is this. ‘Nicole’ had the majority of the chapters by Sophie Eastlake, brilliant, and then comes in the beautiful, sexual, British, voice of ‘Myloe’ by Shane East. Let’s face it..in reality Sophie could do every single voice depiction and there was nothing taken away from the story but in comes Shane’s voice..he could obviously depict himself and his brother but that was it. Yes I’m being picky because when he tried to sound like an American woman he just couldn’t and when you have this highly sexually based story, you need to keep that same narration going. Do I make sense? I just wish when there are books with 2 narrators why not use them in each chapter? Why do we have to hear two different voices for the same person. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine..but I guess that’s why I’m not in charge of audiobooks😊

That was my “one little thing” and I doubt it will change 🤷‍♀️..but definitely so romantic, so much heat too ❤️❤️

  • Liar

  • By: K. L. Slater
  • Narrated by: Lucy Price-Lewis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,320
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,826
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,805

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

O M G ....get it & READ/LISTEN‼️

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

Reviewed: 11-05-18

I was reading reviews and I could tell nobody wanted to give out any spoilers..well I can see why‼️‼️

Kudos to the author K.L. Slater of ‘Liar’..I’ve FINALLY picked a winner in weeks. Not that the thrillers I have in my library aren’t great, but this was & beyond a “wow, I did not see that coming!” (Well it crossed my mind for a split second)

The summary of ‘Liar’ is pretty much all you need to know, without me giving you any more info. Let’s just say a grandmother of 2 Judy, has met her sons new girlfriend Amber and Judy pretty much dislikes to a hate within 2 months. She continues to beg her son & her husband that Amber is no good and up to something..as usual no one is listening to her because they don’t see a problem. I was bracing for something at the end..since EVERY review “suggested” it. What I didn’t see or even put together was this clever end..it is a 10 out of a 10 for the last 5 chapters!! OMG..completely not what I had envisioned!

The narrator Lucy Price-Lewis, is PERFECT. It’s a British book & since I’m originally from 🇬🇧 I loved the way she made each character stand out for what I believe the author was looking for.

One issue that didn’t make sense, since not all books are perfect. The POV is from Judy the main character, mother & grandmother..but when say a chapter was being told by Amber or one of the grandsons, it was told through their POV?! I found that very unusual? Yet most chapters are the POV from Judy and it didn’t kill anything for me while reading and listening.

Last thought..there was a movie where Spencer Tracey was telling Katharine Hepburn about 2 goldfish (movie:’DeskSet) and a cat but never said in his story that they were goldfish..He then said to Hepburn’s character, “Never ASSUME anything.”
As in ‘Liar’ never assume..👊👊👊
Highly recommended and I don’t get why anyone have any negative reviews re: ‘Liar’..but we always see things either in rose colored glasses or ‘maybe it could happen’ 😁😁😁😁

  • Paper Wife

  • A Novel
  • By: Laila Ibrahim
  • Narrated by: Nancy Wu
  • Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30

Southern China, 1923. Desperate to secure her future, Mei Ling’s parents arrange a marriage to a widower in California. To enter the country, she must pretend to be her husband’s first wife - a paper wife. On the perilous voyage, Mei Ling takes an orphan girl named Siew under her wing. Dreams of a better life in America give Mei Ling the strength to endure the treacherous journey and detainment on Angel Island. But when she finally reaches San Francisco, she’s met with a surprise. Her husband, Chinn Kai Li, is a houseboy, not the successful merchant he led her to believe.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Just okay..disappointed

  • By Donna Smith McG on 11-03-18

Just okay..disappointed

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

Reviewed: 11-03-18

I read & listened to ‘Paper Wife’ because I adore every book from Laila Ibrahim! Yet I couldn’t help but feel I was reading “Shanghai Girls” another author, yet about 10 hours less and less details. It was so close to having a matchmaker involved in your life & the Chinese girl being sent to Angel Island in San Francisco to the same husband type..always say they have money but have none..even a pregnancy. I don’t want to be petty, really. I liked this book and of course the other book was during WWII and ‘Paper Wife’ was in the early 1920’s.

Laila Lbrahim is an excellent author, but there just didn’t seem to have enough originality. Every Chinese or Japanese book just seems to always take the same path. As far as Nancy Wu..loved her narration! When Mai Li, the Chinese girl who left home to what she thought was a rich husband didn’t understand English...Nancy Wu used words that sounded like “babbling” to let us understand that English sounded like that to someone not knowing English. Plus she had a great way of making characters sound unique.

I also didn’t like the very quick ending! All of a sudden someone (no spoilers) who was “using” a child for something...was “gone” it didn’t even last a chapter? As I’m writing this I’m listening to the last 15 minutes & now Epilogue...wishing & hoping something will make me love it, but unfortunately, I’m sorry, I just didn’t love it.

But you readers & listeners are the reviewers so I’m sure everyone will give a different review & I’m anxious to hear other readers as well. I definitely recommend it but not enthusiastic as I was with her other books.
3 stars for story& 5 stars for narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Sea of Memories

  • By: Fiona Valpy
  • Narrated by: Heather Wilds
  • Length: 8 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 291
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 230
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 222

In 1937, seventeen-year-old Ella’s life changes forever when she is sent to spend the summer on the beautiful Île de Ré and meets the charismatic, creative Christophe. They spend the summer together, exploring the island’s sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, and, for the first time in her life, Ella feels truly free. But the outbreak of war casts everything in a new light. Ella is forced to return to Scotland, where she volunteers for the war effort alongside the dashing Angus. In this new world, Ella feels herself drifting further and further from who she was on the Île de Ré.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • good book...bad narrator

  • By Kindle Customer on 07-26-18

Cannot finish with regret 😞

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

Reviewed: 10-28-18

I am originally from the 🇬🇧 and my parents were in WWII..but this narrators voice has absolutely ruined this book to listen to. I only got to Chapter 5 and have to 🛑 listening bcuz her voice completely takes away from a real great novel, from what I could retain. She is either British, or Scottish which I’m pretty sure that’s it..but EVERY SINGLE sentence ends up & down in a sing song voice, and as if it’s a question? She completely has ruined this book!
Thank God I have the book thru Kindle so I’m ending it here & reading..real sad Audible!! Does anyone there KNOW we listen for the narration emphasis on characters and the way they’re brought to LIFE...next time review NARRATORS BETTER 😡

  • Before She Dies

  • By: Mary Burton
  • Narrated by: Johanna Parker
  • Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 290
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 253
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 248

In death, they are purified. Holding his victims under water, he washes away their sins as they struggle for their last breath. Then he stakes their bodies to the ground, exposing them for what they really are: witches. No one knows about defence attorney Charlotte Wellington's murdered sister, or about her childhood spent with the carnival that's just arrived in town. For Charlotte, what's past is past. But others don't agree. And as a madman's body count rises, she and Detective Daniel Rokov are drawn into a mission that's become terrifyingly personal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Book

  • By Clennell on 11-11-12

What a great psychological thriller!

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

Reviewed: 10-27-18

I could not put this down! I listen to books a lot to help me relax, but don’t try listening to ‘Before She Dies’ trying to sleep...it won’t work 😊

I’ve read & listened to about 6 of Mary Burtons series & novels..her getting the reader involved in the story line is straight from the beginning..you’re not a great author unless you can achieve that. This was amazing & I had NO CLUE about who the killer was literally until the very last chapter..that is a great author. Johanna Parker was excellent in her narration and every voice made each character live up to their personality..excellent narration always makes Audible masterful!

As far as the story line, it was unique, nerve racking, suspenseful, and excellent chemistry between Daniel & Charlotte..yummy...A 5 star ⭐️ across the board..but can we have a part 2 on these two delicious lovers? I mean they are a detective & an attorney? Please Mary? ❤️❤️ Everyone has to listen & tell me if you felt the same way...👏👏👏👏

  • Yellow Crocus

  • By: Laila Ibrahim
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,236
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,477
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,462

Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful southern historical fiction

  • By MissSusie66 on 02-27-15

What a book!! Yellow Crocus is a must read in these days..

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

Reviewed: 10-26-18

I’ve listened to ‘Yellow Crocus’ at least 4X since 2016...it’s that important. Not only did the author Laila Ibrahim write a novel that was so true to the time of slavery, but Bahni Turpin brings every word, every character to life! You couldn’t have any other narrator for this!

In a turbulent time right now in 2018, ‘Yellow Crocus’ should be read by everyone! We are living in a racially divided nation called America, and the past is completely being relived in today’s times. There is no difference today than in the 1800’s, we may not have ’slaves’ but certain people are acting like the ‘white’ slave owners today...just an impression to see on a daily basis. Okay it’s a pet peeve for me so I’ll move on to the book.

During slavery it wasn’t unusual for a slave to basically be their owners mother, nanny, and caregiver for their children. ‘Owners’ didn’t or couldn’t take care of their children. In the South, owners were opulent and had a certain lifestyle to maintain, children was a thing to do to pass on the family tree. Slaves would nurse their babies, took over their entire childhood, and the real mother had no problem passing their own off spring in a moments notice. This was not unusual. In this novel we see a child who grows up seeing their REAL mother at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We see them giving out discipline, but then turning them aside to their slave & making sure children were never heard or seen. The only time they took any interest was when it was time to get married, their power had to be maintained by marrying off children to the perfect rich household.

I had complete contempt for this family and adored Mattie who put up with her owners orders, but she never stopped loving Elizabeth. That love was unconditional even when her ‘baby’ started making decisions Mattie didn’t always agree on.

I’m sure the entire lot of readers on Amazon & listeners on Audible, haven’t touched this emotional book since it’s publication, but I still won’t give away the end either.

It’s a book that leaves you longing for more..it leaves you with a love no other woman could have given this way without the emotional pain she endured..and as we have going on in 2018, it’s a love we need to embrace on a daily basis..

Besides recommending 100% for everyone, especially young influential readers..it’s 10 stars ✨ in this reader & listener..Bravo Laila for enlightening us all!

  • The Fountainhead

  • By: Ayn Rand
  • Narrated by: Christopher Hurt
  • Length: 32 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,483
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,700
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,730

One of the 20th century's most challenging novels of ideas, The Fountainhead champions the cause of individualism through the story of a gifted young architect who defies the tyranny of conventional public opinion. The struggle for personal integrity in a world that values conformity above creativity is powerfully illustrated through three characters: Howard Roarke, a genius; Gail Wynand, a newspaper mogul and self-made millionaire; and Dominique Francon, a devastating beauty.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Fountainhead

  • By Zachary on 06-04-10

Never watch a movie based on a book..ALWAYS READ..this was thought provoking 👊

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

Reviewed: 10-21-18

I’ve sat & sat with “Write a full review” open for 5 minutes because whatever I write will not give “The Fountainhead” as much justice as it should.

I cannot believe I never read this in HS or College? I took a philosophy class so a part of me thinks I ‘pretended’ to read it..what a mistake! It was truly amazing that Ayn Rand wrote this in the 1940’s & it made me smile that it was about a man remaining true to his beliefs...so many of us give in & stay to what others want us to stand on. The two men in history that stood and never waived were Ghandi & Martin Luther King Jr...they fought for their rights & others. Howard Rourke stood on his & never, not once gave in, to the point of extinction...sounds like many in history.

I briefly thought when Hollywood made ‘The Fountainhead’ into a movie, which I watch every time, and I read that Rand said “Every piece of dialogue I have written has to be exactly the same” Now how the hell do u get a book this big into a screenplay that’s 2 hours?! I refuse to compare since there is none...She then went on to say “I’ll never write a screenplay for Hollywood again.” I wonder why..*sarcasm*

In the beginning it was hard for me to get into, but it definitely got easier. I will say I had to listen to the final 5 chapters over & over because I felt like I missed something? Maybe I did..but one minute we’re in the country with the men, next in the city with Peter talking about the building, then a trial? Did I miss how that came about so quickly? It didn’t take away from my 5 stars ⭐️..

I ADORE Christopher Hurt‼️‼️ His voice was PERFECT for this book..and I listen to a new one weekly..I’ll send a book back because of horrible narration..but he was the best and I can’t wait to download “Atlas Shrugged”...

All in all..I never knew as much about Ayn Rand until I did some research on her before I read this & I was totally blown away by her mind, writing & life & ‘The Fountainhead’ it’s as great in the 21st century as it was in the early 20th...

P.S. You can have fabulous sex scenes without describing the sex act in details..hence this book..FABULOUS 👊👊

  • A Killer's Mind

  • Zoe Bentley Mystery
  • By: Mike Omer
  • Narrated by: Brittany Pressley
  • Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,809
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,606
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,597

Three Chicago women have been found strangled, embalmed, and posed as if still alive. Doubting the findings of the local PD’s profiler, the FBI calls on forensic psychologist Zoe Bentley to investigate. Zoe quickly gets off on the wrong foot with her new partner, Special Agent Tatum Gray. Zoe’s a hunter, intense and focused; Tatum’s a smug maverick with little respect for the rules. Together, they must descend into a serial killer’s psyche and untangle his twisted fantasies, or more women will die.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hooked me from the beginning...

  • By shelley on 08-05-18

Great psychological thriller with a TWIST of an end!!

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

Reviewed: 09-29-18

Loved this Book 1 of A ‘Killers mind’ and I can’t WAIT for Book 2 to come out!

Since I have the book to read & audible to listen, which I highly recommend bcuz Brittany Pressley is brilliant in narrating..everyone should have both.

In this book I swear I know everyone must have thought so & so did it!! But they didn’t! That’s why I loved it & am going to read a second time too!

Please do yourself a favor though..don’t start listening at night..you won’t get SLEEP of which I didn’t! I highly recommend and 5 ✨ across the board!! I need Book 2 👊👊👊

  • Vincent & Theo

  • The Van Gogh Brothers
  • By: Deborah Heiligman
  • Narrated by: Phil Fox
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 138
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 121
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 121

The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh defined both brothers' lives. As a confidant, champion, sympathizer, and friend, Theo financially and emotionally supported his older brother as the artistic but troubled Vincent struggled to find his path in life as both a painter and a man. Throughout that struggle, the brothers shared everything - swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I could hardly hit the pause button.

  • By Zachary on 08-12-17

EXCELLENT PORTRAYAL OF THE VAN GOGH BROTHERS..

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

Reviewed: 09-27-18

I couldn’t wait to purchase this book as well as the audible part. First there’s not a lot in here I didn’t know from my past readings on Vincent Van Gogh..but I really didn’t know Theo at all or how he was as sickly as death! For 3 nights I read & listened and literally when I fell asleep, my inside alarm clock kept waking me to finish..this went on for about 3 nights! I thought I’d go crazy! I’m thrilled with all the paintings, drawings and info on when each one was done! At the end we get to see a selection of his paintings and since I’m an artist I was thrilled! It just makes me want to purchase the hardcover NOW...At times I felt I was comparing it to Kirk Douglas, well how can you not? The movie was good but there’s nothing like his real life!

My next plan is to finish another Van Gogh book and then re read and listen again, becuz it’s one of those books u need to many times..I’m thrilled it’s mine & NOT borrowed 👊👊 Excellent research by the author too with pages of when each drawing was done while he was dead broke and when each painting was done, more or less very depressed..you’ll have to find out the controversy re: his ear...that I never heard.

As far as the author, Phil Fox had a great voice with wonderful pronunciations, but there was just a tiny bit missing for a full 5 on narration.

A BIG 5 ⭐️ ON THIS & HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR EVERYONE 👊👊👊 Excellent writing...excellent research, I said that already and if you purchase the book since it’s less expensive you will have a slew of paintings & drawings to see..along with letters he wrote and when each art medium was done in what time period he was going thru..I couldn’t be this excited without the book!! ❤️❤️ Thank you Deborah Heiligman!!! It’s truly sad how such a brilliant and completely devoted to be outside for the sun 🌞 to paint was so depressed...and he still died broke..so sad...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful