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Gretchen SLP

Sacramento, California
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  • The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency: BBC Radio Casebook, Vol.2

  • Eight BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations
  • By: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Narrated by: full cast, Nadine Marshall, Claire Benedict
  • Length: 5 hrs and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 20

A second collection of eight BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisations based on the popular books by Alexander McCall Smith. 'How to Handle Men Through the Application of Psychology': Precious Ramotswe sets out to release her fiancé from a terrifying obligation, and a new case sparks a love quest. 'House of Hope': Precious and her assistant visit some bad girls as part of their mission to find a husband for their client, but Precious has some marriage problems of her own....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Short story versions of the many (18 so far) books

  • By Diana on 01-21-18

Delightful

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

Reviewed: 12-17-18

What a treat! This dramatization will delight any fans of the novels. These are sweet, easy, comforting stories full of the same gentle humor that animated the original series by Alexander McCall Smith. The interim music between chapters is an added bonus, lively, authentic and addictive. I loved this recording, and as soon as it ended I immediately purchased the next in the series.

Grade: A

Bechdel Test: Pass.

  • Nine Perfect Strangers

  • By: Liane Moriarty
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 19 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,743
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,592
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,568

From number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty, author of Big Little Lies, comes her newest audiobook, Nine Perfect Strangers: Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amid all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these 10 days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next 10 days are going to be.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Listen on 1.5 speed

  • By Gary on 11-27-18

🌤Fluffy, Fun, Forgettable. Play at 1.25x Speed☁️

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

Reviewed: 11-19-18

I am a diehard Liane Moriarty fan as well as a diehard Caroline Lee fan. I have bought and listened to every book Moriarty has ever written, and I would rank this close to the bottom of her ouvre, below/not as good as the under-appreciated The Last Anniversary and Three Wishes, just a tad above/more enjoyable than Truly Madly Guilty, and nowhere even close to her best work, Big Little Lies. It was just okay, overall, despite the one huge laugh-out-loud episode by the pool, and the ending felt totally anticlimactic, rushed, so-what, ho-hum, and hastily slapped together. I also felt like she was just having too much fun writing this, self-indulgently and obviously inserting herself, the writer, as a character and meta-theatrically having characters break the fourth wall by saying things to each other like Did you just break the fourth wall? At one point, one female character says to another, We had better talk about something other than a man, or we are going to fail the Bechdel test! That kind of thing is clever, sure, but cutesy-clever, in a cheap-trick kind of way that yanks the reader out of the story.

Also, within minutes of starting to listen, it will become apparent to any fan of Caroline Lee that for this recording, she was for some reason directed to speak...overly...slowly...as...if...someone...complained ...that... her...normal...rate...of...speech... was... ..too... fast. It was not ever too fast before, and now it is painfully and agonizingly and plot-killingly slooooow. Fortunately, setting the speed to 1.25 makes her narration sound almost normal.

One additional problem that unfortunately cannot be solved through setting the recording speed higher is the way that either Lee or her director/audio producer decided to have her read not just all dialogue spoken by the Russian character Masha but every word of every single Masha-focused chapter in an exaggerated Boris-and-Natasha type Russian accent, a technique that also helped ruin the Audible version of the last book, Truly Madly Guilty. It made me want to write to the author and beg her to include NO MORE INTERNATIONAL CHARACTERS in any of her future books. Blecch!

Grade: B-
Bechdel test: Pass, albeit self-consciously and way too deliberately.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • West Cork: Aftershow

  • By: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde, Jesse Baker
  • Length: 31 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 693
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 614
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 613

Finished listening to West Cork? In this bonus aftershow, you will hear the latest from executive producer Jesse Baker with producers Jennifer Forde and Sam Bungey on the burning questions sparked by their Audible Original about Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s mysterious murder. What it was like to spend a year of their lives with a suspected murderer? How might the investigation have been bungled? Where does the case stand now? Listen here for answers to all of the above, as well the newest developments in this as-yet-unsolved crime.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 👍🏻Definitely Worth Your Time👍🏼

  • By Gretchen SLP on 11-08-18

👍🏻Definitely Worth Your Time👍🏼

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

Reviewed: 11-08-18

This was fun! I was very glad to discover this bonus episode, though it contains absolutely no spoilers as advertised, just mainly insights from the journalists on what it was like researching this story and interviewing the subjects. This is a fitting end to the West Cork saga, though of course once the trial begins, I imagine the saga will continue. Two thumbs up!

N.B. Any listener who enjoyed West Cork will also love the six-part true crime🔪🔫🗡💉🔬 podcast called Bear Brook. Listen for free, either online or on the (free) NPR One app.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • West Cork

  • By: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Narrated by: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 23,093
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,618
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20,621

This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery. Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ENTERTAINING AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING

  • By Ann on 02-13-18

🧠Totally Enthralling Must-Listen👂🏻😲🤭😯

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

Reviewed: 11-04-18

I think I waited so long to finally listen to this podcast because of the mistaken belief that anything offered for free could not have much value. Boy, was I wrong! This is not just the story of an unsolved murder. It is the riveting and incredibly well-researched and well-produced (even the background music/sound track is excellent) accounting of an entire place, a community, a culture; at the same time, it is a crash course in normal and abnormal psychology, police and court procedures, forensic pathology, and international relations. The characters alone are fascinating. Once hooked, I was riveted and obsessed in a way I never usually am even with the most suspenseful thriller. By the end, even my husband (normally resistant to true crime stories) was eagerly anticipating each new revelation/chapter. Be sure to also listen to the recently released free bonus episode, chapter fourteen. It does not contain any spoilers, as advertised, but it does answer some of the questions the listener is left with as chapter thirteen ends. Grade: A+

P.S. Any reader who loved this would doubtless also love the podcast Bear Brook. You can listen for free online or on the free NPR One app.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Power

  • By: Naomi Alderman
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,936
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,649
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,639

In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: There's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power - they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A necessary read

  • By Grace on 11-22-17

⚡️⚡️Powerfully Difficult Slog⚡️⚡️

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

Reviewed: 10-28-18

It took me the better part of a year to get to the end of this book, and I certainly will not be returning to this story ever, let alone any time soon. Blecch. While beginning with a super interesting premise, the author dropped a lot of balls (no pun intended) and missed a gazillion opportunities to make this an unforgettable read in a GOOD way. I agree with the other reviewers who objected to the notion that women, if given the power, would simply use it to rape and murder innocent men. It ultimately made no sense. I was not always sure what happened, even on the letter level, which they taught us in creative writing class was the kiss of death for a work of fiction. Where was Bessepara? Where was Moldova? Why have the action take place there instead of in the United States? Speaking of the U.S., who was the President? If a woman, how come we never once saw or heard from her? I didn’t care at all for Margot, the one female American politician we get to know, maybe because, come to think of it, we never actually got to know her at all. I did not like one character except Roxy or Tunde, and my affection for them came very late in the book, mainly because their characters were so slow to develop. I think maybe switching back and forth between so many different characters was a mistake; with no real protagonist, the reader has no one to root for, and the book becomes merely a vulgar curiosity (or a fun exercise, as a tangential character refers to this story at the end of the novel). The most interesting and thought-provoking thing about the book was its final sentence.

I cannot really say I regret reading this book (I had wanted to see what it was all about, and now I know), but I cannot in good conscience recommend it to others, either. The narrator was good, nearly great. The prose itself was unobjectionable. Yet the book’s potential remained unrealized at its messy end, and the reader is left with nothing but some yucky images that it’s hard to un-see. Grade: C+

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Sense and Sensibility

  • By: Jane Austen
  • Narrated by: Rosamund Pike
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 854
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 779
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 777

In this Audible Exclusive production, Academy Award® nominee Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) narrates one of Jane Austen’s most beloved works, Sense and Sensibility. In this timeless tale of misguided romance and heartbreak, two teenage heroines must overcome the pitfalls of Georgian England’s high society in order to achieve the love and happiness they seek. The admiration that Pike has for Austen’s work is shown clearly through this passionate delivery of Austen’s first published novel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A lovely listen, Jane + Rosamund = Perfection

  • By Amazon Customer on 08-21-18

Stellar Performance Elevates Austen’s Work

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

Reviewed: 10-09-18

I almost didn’t purchase this book, because, despite being a diehard Austen fan, I’ve never liked Sense and Sensibility very much. But Rosamund Pike is a FANTASTIC narrator, and brings out all the humor and delights that even the most careful reader might otherwise miss. This is a must-hear, even better than her incredible performance of Pride and Prejudice. If she narrates Emma, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park, I will eagerly buy them all. Grade: A+

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Emma

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Jane Austen, Anna Lea - adaptation
  • Narrated by: Emma Thompson, Joanne Froggatt, Isabella Inchbald, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,519
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,775
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,722

This Audible Original production of Jane Austen’s Emma is narrated by Emma Thompson (Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA winner, Love Actually, Harry Potter, Sense and Sensibility), with a full supporting cast including Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey, Liar), Morgana Robinson (The Windsors, Walliams & Friend, Morgana Robinson's the Agency), Aisling Loftus (Mr Selfridge, War & Peace), Joseph Millson (Casino Royale, The Sarah Jane Adventures), Alexa Davies (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) and rising star Isabella Inchbald as our eponymous heroine.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • More of a Radio Drama than an audiobook

  • By Cyberlucy on 09-11-18

Disappointing Dramatization 🎭

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

Reviewed: 09-30-18

This was actually one of the most unpleasant surprises I’ve had in listening to an Audible production. While unlike some other reviewers I was not overly distracted by the sound effects (which seemed typical of a radio play), I couldn’t help but notice almost instantly that this is a substandard adaptation of a beloved classic due to its subpar script, narration, acting and direction. Fellow reviewer Nerico922 hits the nail on the head when she observes that, shocking as this is to admit, and contrary to all expectations, even the normally brilliant Emma Thompson (whom one would expect to have a thorough understanding of Austen’s tone) turns in an abysmal performance as narrator. She over-emotes and overexaggerates most of her lines, while simultaneously sapping most of the humor and liveliness from the text. The script and the direction may be partially (but cannot be entirely) to blame. Almost ALL other actors are also disastrously miscast; Mr. Elton speaks so slowly, pompously and stupidly that it’s not credible that anyone would ever have sought him out as an eligible bachelor. His performance (which is almost indistinguishable from that of Mr. Woodhouse or that of Mr. John Knightley) strips all humor from the text. The carriage surprise proposal scene, which ought to be hilarious, is just painful to listen to. Mrs. Elton likewise speaks too slowly and seriously and is completely unfunny. Emma is just okay. Jane Fairfax sounds too young, and almost indistinguishable from several other female characters (e.g., Mrs. Weston, who also sounds too young). Mr. Knightley lacks all maturity and emotion. Harriet Churchill, unbelievably, speaks too intelligently and rationally. Frank Churchill comes closest to being appropriately cast.

Still, it’s Austen, and I know and love the story well, so I finished the whole thing. Though it wasn’t so dreadful that I would return it, I’m not sure I’ll listen again. I recommend purchasing the undramatized version narrated by Juliet Stevenson instead of this one.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

  • A Novel
  • By: Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • Narrated by: Meera Syal
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,902
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,685
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,674

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she's spent most of her 20-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father's death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a "creative writing" course at the community center in the beating heart of London's close-knit Punjabi community.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Story about Stories

  • By kurdis teed on 04-02-18

A Good Read

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

Reviewed: 09-20-18

This was a fun read, and I’m glad I noticed it and picked it up. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining book without anything dense, heavy or demanding. This isn’t great literature, but it’s educational as well as enjoyable. I learned a lot about Punjabi culture and the Sikh religion, which was an unexpected benefit. I also loved the mystery central to one of the storylines, about the unexplained deaths of three young women in the Sikh community, one of them in particular very close to two of the characters. I am a sucker for a suspenseful page-turner. The one thing that didn’t ring fully true to me was the hyperfocus on sex among the widows. Being middle-aged myself, and having had a lot of female friends who are middle-aged, postmenopausal or senior, it didn’t seem likely that sex would be ALL these women thought about and all they wanted to talk about or write about. For one thing, many of these women had been married off by their families as prepubescent children, some as young as ten years old, to much older men they didn’t know, much less love, so their earliest sexual encounters had been essentially horribly traumatic rapes. It hasn’t been my experience that survivors of childhood sexual abuse have the kind of gleeful, giggling, girlish obsession with sexual passion and sensual delights that these characters demonstrate. Also: Was there really nothing more these women would have been dying to say, once they were in a protected environment where it was safe to relate their feelings about their lives, their pasts, their families, their community, and their hopes and dreams? I thought it would have been a more realistic novel, as well as a more rich and enlightening novel, if there had been.

Grade: B or B+
Bechdel Test: Pass.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • An Evening with Dick Cavett at the 92nd Street Y

  • By: Dick Cavett
  • Narrated by: Eddy Friedfeld
  • Length: 1 hr and 59 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 29

When Dick Cavett became a talk show host in 1969, his keen intellect and unique wit infused the format with a new style. Cavett offered a forum for controversial opinions and issues ranging from women's liberation to Vietnam. The Dick Cavett Show also became a late-night home for top rock bands and such comedy legends as Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, George Burns, Bob Hope, Sid Caesar, and Lucille Ball.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining but a little disjointed

  • By Gretchen SLP on 09-19-18

Entertaining but a little disjointed

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

Reviewed: 09-19-18

Hmm. It’s hard to rate this one. I enjoyed it, but anyone not already a fan of Cavett and/or the 92nd Street Y series may find it too crazily disjointed to follow. I liked the clips of Cavett’s standup comedy act and of some of his best interviews with actors, musicians and other celebrities. I didn’t like the way an overly relaxed and apparently now somewhat forgetful Cavett often starts a story, realizes he’s left an important detail out of the setup, backtracks to a previous part of the story or slightly different topic, and ends up eventually recalling the punchline to the original story only way later (when he’s in the middle of a different anecdote), if at all.

Still, Cavett is funny and interesting (and still hilariously haughty, as when he busts the interviewer for pronouncing primer, as in a beginner book, with a long i, explaining that “primmer” means an early reader, while “PRY-mer” is paint). I did enjoy the interview and will likely listen again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Brief Encounters

  • Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks
  • By: Dick Cavett
  • Narrated by: Dick Cavett
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 187
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 173

Dick Cavett is back, sharing his reflections and reminiscences about Hollywood legends, American cultural icons, and the absurdities of everyday life. In Brief Encounters, the legendary talk show host Dick Cavett introduces us to the fascinating characters who have crossed his path, from James Gandolfini and John Lennon to Mel Brooks and Nora Ephron, enhancing our appreciation of their talent, their personalities, and their places in the pantheon.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thoroughly Enjoyable

  • By Gretchen SLP on 09-12-18

Thoroughly Enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 09-12-18

Though I grew up thinking of Dick Cavett as an insufferably pompous, self-aggrandizing bore, and though that opinion was later confirmed (in spades) when I listened to his appalling 92nd Street Y interview with Martin Short, listening to Talk Show and now Brief Encounters has made me an improbable, late-in-life Cavett fan. I am really going to miss his voice and his (sometimes myopic, but always interesting) opinions and his (almost always very interesting) stories. If he still writes a column in the Times, I’d love to hear/read his columns from and about our current lamentable political era. I found this book (which, like Talk Show, is a compilation of his NYT columns) to be as good as Talk Show, and sometimes better. His final stories, about dealing with alcoholic friends and colleagues and about nightmares, were my favorites, and the very last anecdote, about the time he (nightmarishly) found himself lost in rural China with no language skills, no guide, and no means of rejoining his wife on their riverboat cruise, was unforgettable. I’m still thinking about it and describing the incident to skeptical friends and family. I now dearly wish that his first book, Cavett, was available on Audible.

Grade: A-

1 of 1 people found this review helpful