LISTENER

Celia

New Fairfield, CT, United States
  • 7
  • reviews
  • 30
  • helpful votes
  • 23
  • ratings
  • The Stars Are Fire

  • A Novel
  • By: Anita Shreve
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Elise Freeman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 688
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 616
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 614

In October 1947, after a summer-long drought, fires break out all along the Maine coast, from Bar Harbor to Kittery, and are soon racing out of control from town to village. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her husband, Gene, joins the volunteer firefighters. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie's two young children, Grace watches helplessly as their houses burn to the ground, the flames finally forcing them all into the ocean as a last resort.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Disaster Strikes In 1947

  • By Sara on 06-02-17

Very disappointing

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

Reviewed: 06-27-17

I have deeply enjoyed Shreve's previous novels and looked forward to a new one, but this is not among her best. The central character is rich, but the others are rote, providing minimal interest. Her gifts are still in evidence - the fire sequence is terrific - but nothing else really seems to work, and the reader feels minimally engaged. Can we blame her?

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • My Brilliant Friend

  • The Neapolitan Novels, Book 1
  • By: Elena Ferrante
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,636
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5,056
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,046

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila, who represent the story of a nation and the nature of friendship.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Parte Uno Dei Quattro--It's Worth it to Keep Goin'

  • By W Perry Hall on 09-14-16

What's the fuss about?

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

Reviewed: 05-23-17

Not really sure why people love this book. The characters are adequate but it was difficult to care about any of them. Perhaps they're not helped by the languorous reader, who seems to performing an issue of Vanity Fair, rather than a book about a boisterous Neapolitan community and its young inhabitants. I hear the second volume is better but the reader is the same. Not holding my breath for this series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Sight for Sore Eyes

  • By: Ruth Rendell
  • Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
  • Length: 15 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 113
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 98

Having published 45 books, Ruth Rendell is an internationally popular mystery writer. She has won four Gold Dagger and three Edgar awards. She has been presented with the Commander of the British Empire honor, and named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. In A Sight For Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell’s exceptional literary talent shines from each word. Teddy Brex is a handsome young man. Raised by parents who never loved him, he has grown to put his trust in objects.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing labyrinth

  • By Yankee Bookworm on 02-13-17

one of Rendell's best

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

Reviewed: 07-08-16

Ruth Rendell in her prime. Gripping, beautifully and slowly unfolded story and characters you cannot forget. The narrator captures many of the cringe-inducing aspects of this novel/mystery. A terrific experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Dig

  • By: John Preston
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance, Kate Reading, Fiona Hardingham, and others
  • Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 62
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 58

In the long hot summer of 1939, Britain is preparing for war, but on a riverside farm in Suffolk there is excitement of another kind. Mrs. Pretty, a widowed farmer, has had her hunch proved correct that the strange mounds on her land hold buried treasure. As an archaeological dig proceeds against a background of mounting national anxiety, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary find, and the discovery leads to a host of jealousies and tensions.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • interesting book

  • By Celia on 04-25-16

interesting book

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

Reviewed: 04-25-16

Was drawn to this after reading a nice review in the New York Times, and knowing little about Sutton Hoo beyond the famous helmet images. the characters are well drawn but ultimately sketchy. it's a modest effort, but quite listenable and even gentle in its approach to history and the extraordinary find st Sutton Hoo. And it definitely piqued my interest in visiting myself one day. Good readers as well.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel

  • By: A. J. Hartley, David Hewson
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,343
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,115
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,099

It is a tale of ghosts, of madness, of revenge - of old alliances giving way to new intrigues. Denmark is changing, shaking off its medieval past. War with Norway is on the horizon. And Hamlet - son of the old king, nephew of the new - becomes increasingly entangled in a web of deception - and murder. Beautifully performed by actor Richard Armitage ("Thorin Oakenshield" in the Hobbit films), Hamlet, Prince of Denmark takes Shakespeare’s original into unexpected realms, reinventing a story we thought we knew.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Something Rotten in Denmark...

  • By Carole T. on 08-23-14

The Play's the Thing

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

Reviewed: 05-12-15

After enjoying the Macbeth novelization, read by Alan Cumming, I had hopes for this adaptation as well. Sadly, a major disappointment. The embellishments to the plot - and there are many - add nothing, and if anything, the character of Hamlet is even harder to grasp than in the play, only here there are none of the rewards Shakespeare gives you for parsing. Truly problematic language - not only no match for Shakespeare, but barely quoting him - and lots of anachronisms make this a perfect example of, "Why did they bother?" Only Armitage's beautiful voice and attempts at insights, in spite of the words he's saddled with, kept me listening. And I guess a streak of optimism, which was thwarted by the end.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Gone Girl

  • A Novel
  • By: Gillian Flynn
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 19 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48,812
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43,443
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43,527

It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!

  • By Theodore on 01-20-13

Very disappointing

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

Reviewed: 08-21-12

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

It's hard to know who might enjoy the book, but I think it's people who aren't particularly interested in mystery fiction of quality. The plot and character development were second-rate, and I found suspension of disbelief - so easy with writers like Ruth Rendell, for example - nearly impossible with Flynn's book.

What was most disappointing about Gillian Flynn’s story?

The story felt forced, contrived and nearly absurd, not bearing scrutiny. The main characters were both off-putting - you just don't care enough about either of them to want anything but speedy resolution - and that of the wife especially incredible. But just about all the characters - friends, family, the police, the lawyer, the journalists - are drawn in broad strokes and feel two-dimensional. I stuck with it until the end, hoping there would be some developments of interest, or at least character changes that felt more believable. But there weren't - at least, not for me.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne ?

Really, almost anyone. The author is not done a service by their loaded portrayals, exaggerated readings, and whiny tone.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Gone Girl?

I can't specify any, but there are plenty of opportunities to trim this by a third. At least.

Any additional comments?

Again, very disappointing. If you want really good mystery fiction, try Ruth Rendell.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Water for Elephants

  • By: Sara Gruen
  • Narrated by: David LeDoux, John Randolph Jones
  • Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,143
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,009
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,091

Why we think it’s a great listen: Some books are meant to be read; others are meant to be heard – Water for Elephants falls into the second group, and is one of the best examples we have of how a powerful performance enhances a great story. Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Rosie the bull elephant?

  • By Randall on 07-22-07

A disappointment

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

Reviewed: 03-23-12

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

I was very disappointed in this novel, about which I had heard largely good things. The two lead characters were flat and uninteresting (although the narrator as an old man was quite well drawn, which only made his younger self seem so much more callow). The story was was not particularly compelling, and the writing itself was cliched and lackluster. This is the kind of novel that spawned the term

Would you ever listen to anything by Sara Gruen again?

I might, but only with trepidation.

What aspect of David LeDoux and John Randolph Jones ’s performance would you have changed?

LeDoux's voices felt all wrong for this - and there was way too much performing. He was particularly terrible as the villain of the piece, complete with sneers. Jones was much better - restrained, quite moving; LeDoux could learn a lot from him.

Could you see Water for Elephants being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Although it's already been filmed, I can't muster up much interest in seeing it. But perhaps it will be a nice example of a film's being better than the book on which it was based.

Any additional comments?

I really did want to like this. If anyone is interested in circuses, I heartily recommend

10 of 13 people found this review helpful