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Annie M.

  • 88
  • reviews
  • 1,479
  • helpful votes
  • 195
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  • My Oxford Year

  • A Novel
  • By: Julia Whelan
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,148
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,086
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,077

American Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was 13: study at Oxford. At 24, she’s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship when she’s offered an unbelievable position in a rising political star’s presidential campaign. With the promise that she’ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she’s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful

  • By Karen on 05-03-18

I will listen again!

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

Reviewed: 04-30-18

I am a poetry loving, Anglophile who expected this book to focus on the quirks and joys of studying at Oxford for a year. But this story took a completely unexpected turn—and I couldn’t stop listening.


A beautiful commentary on choices, difficult family, delightful family, memorable friends, and, above all, love.

You will cry anD giggle and ponder your own thoughts on BIG TOPICS, all accented with classic poetry snippets.

If you like Kate Atkinson, Julian Barnes, and Abbott and Costello, listen to this well-written, beautifully narrated book.

PS. More books, Julia! Please!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Anatomy of a Scandal

  • A Novel
  • By: Sarah Vaughan
  • Narrated by: Julie Teal, Luke Thompson, Esther Wane, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 345
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 315
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 314

Sophie's husband, James, is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart. Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Listened to it without a pause

  • By Nor Cal Books on 02-19-18

Try to put it down!

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

Reviewed: 03-15-18

This book is perfect for today’s climate. It brings up compelling questions of what it means when a woman says no, and how can a man be sure. Even more pointedly, it shows the fall out when hubris makes a man think that a woman saying no actually means yes.

This book has beautiful pros, and of story that is beautifully woven, and hard to put down.

I would recommend this book to fans of John Grisham, Scott Turow, he and Hillary Mantell.

  • Once an Eagle

  • A Novel
  • By: Anton Myrer
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 41 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,030
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 925
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 930

Once an Eagle is the story of one special man, a soldier named Sam Damon, and his adversary over a lifetime, fellow officer Courtney Massengale. Damon is a professional who puts duty, honor, and the men he commands above selfinterest. Massengale, however, brilliantly advances his career by making the right connections behind the lines and in Washington’s corridors of power.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just a great story

  • By Glen on 11-11-12

War, warriors, and the women who follow them.

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

Reviewed: 09-15-17

I read this book when it first came out in the 70s. Revisiting it has been kind of a shock. There is so much detail about warfare. I am surprised that, as a young woman growing up in the Vietnam era, I would have been interested in this.

In revisiting this Charles Dickens-length novel, I am intrigued deeply by the relationships between career military men and the women they marry.

If you are interested in warfare, and the history of warfare, you will like this book. It is well written, with compelling characters that keep you wanting to know what happens next.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Perfect

  • A Novel
  • By: Rachel Joyce
  • Narrated by: Paul Rhys
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 370
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 335
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 334

A spellbinding novel that will resonate with readers of Mark Haddon, Louise Erdrich, and John Irving, Perfect tells the story of a young boy who is thrown into the murky, difficult realities of the adult world with far-reaching consequences.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Touching and Fragile - Once Untangled.

  • By Amanda on 01-19-14

A perfect read

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

Reviewed: 07-30-17

I must confess, I had a little trouble getting into this book. Thank God I didn't stop.

I just listened to the very last chapter, and my eyes are watering. This is such a touching, sad, thoughtful look at the struggles life hands us, and how resilient we all are.

If you are a fan of Kate Atkinson (in her "Life after Life" and "A God in Ruins" form), of Julian Barnes, or other, similarly probing authors, you will love this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Final Witness

  • By: Simon Tolkien
  • Narrated by: Simon Tolkien
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5

One summer night, two men break into an isolated manor house and kill Lady Anne Robinson. Her son, Thomas, convinces the police that his father's beautiful personal assistant sent the killers, but Thomas is known for his overactive imagination, and he has reasons to lie. With tantalizing ambiguity, Tolkien keeps readers guessing about the true motivations of these characters until the final witness.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A worthy scion of J. R. R. Tolkien

  • By Snoodely on 04-25-10

Solid whodunnit

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

Reviewed: 07-29-17

I first read Simon Tolkien's 2017 book, "No Man's Land," which led me to his second book and ultimately, to this, his first book.

This is a very solid family/crime/who done it saga.

I found his third novel, which is the first when I read, to be moving, and deeply thought out. One can see the progression and growth in his writing.

As to the person who criticized Mr. Tolkien's reading of his book here, I disagree. I think he does a very solid job of narration.

I strongly strongly strongly recommend that after you read this book, go on to "No Man's Land." It is a brilliant book, with carefully drawn characters, and a great commentary on World War I.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Bang

  • By: Barry Lyga
  • Narrated by: Charlie Thurston
  • Length: 5 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one - not even Sebastian himself - can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun. Now, 10 years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend - Aneesa - to distract him from his darkest thoughts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great book

  • By Jarobert on 07-24-17

Resilience… With pizza.

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

Reviewed: 06-04-17

I bought this book because I have a very very strong review in the New York Times book review. I read it and stayed with it because it is filled with really good characters, and a storyline that beautiful he expresses why life is still worth living… Even after tragedy

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Paradise Lodge

  • By: Nina Stibbe
  • Narrated by: Helen Baxendale
  • Length: 9 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 27

After succeeding in her quest to help her unconventional mother find a new "man at the helm", 15-year-old Lizzie Vogel simply wants to be a normal teenager. Just when it looks as if things have settled down, her mother goes and has another baby. On top of that, Lizzie's best friend has deserted her for the punk craze, which Lizzie finds too exhausting to commit to herself. But Lizzie soon gets more commitment than she bargained for when she takes a job as a junior nurse at Paradise Lodge, a ramshackle refuge for the elderly.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • In the spirit of Ove & Harold Frye

  • By Annie M. on 11-09-16

In the spirit of Ove & Harold Frye

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

Reviewed: 11-09-16

This book is very much in the vein of "A Man Called Ove." Features a cast of characters with various flaws and fears, all joined together by a troubled teen Who is wiser than she knows.

Charming.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Wonder

  • By: Emma Donoghue
  • Narrated by: Kate Lock
  • Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,211
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,117
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,121

In Emma Donoghue's latest masterpiece, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle - a girl said to have survived without food for months - soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Could not get past the narration

  • By Annie M. on 10-19-16

Could not get past the narration

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

Reviewed: 10-19-16

I love this author. I waited eagerly for this book's publication. I tried to listen five different times. Alas, when Kate Lock launched from her very pleasing narration of the basic text into her shrill, banshee interpretation on Irish accent, I just. Couldn't.Take. It.

Why a producer thought this accent was a good idea is simply confounding. It ruined this listen.

I am blind and "read" all my books and magazines on audio. I am supremely tolerant of imperfections in narration.

Alas, not so much here.

62 of 67 people found this review helpful

  • Winter Journey

  • By: Diane Armstrong
  • Narrated by: Deidre Rubenstein
  • Length: 14 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,150
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 922
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 914

Halina Shore is a Polish born forensic dentist living in Australia. When she travels to Poland to take part in the investigation of a war crime, she finds herself at the center of a bitter struggle in a community that has been divided by a grim legacy. As the investigation proceeds, her professional assignment becomes a confronting personal odyssey as the truth about her own past begins to emerge.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Historical Story Marred by Unnecessary Fluff

  • By Debbie on 11-30-15

Stunning story with a surprising twist

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

Reviewed: 08-06-16

This is a very creative, yet totally believable novel about an enterprising young woman the most best to gate and atrocity committed during the Holocaust. This is not a novel about the holocaust per se, but what happens to perfectly ordinary people when groupthink catches on.

VgFrom Australia to Poland, from despair to love, from family secrets to a surprising twist, this novel has it all.

I had previously given narrator Deirdre Rubenstein a terrible review for a narration she did of one of Armstrong's previous novels. So very happy to say that her reading hair is spot on, absolutely perfect.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Nocturne

  • By: Diane Armstrong
  • Narrated by: Deidre Rubenstein
  • Length: 17 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33

It is Warsaw, 1939, and Elzunia is an indulged teenager who longs for a heroic life filled with romance. But the outbreak of war shatters all her dreams. As bombs fall, she meets Adam, a taciturn airman whose fate becomes entwined with hers. In despair over the occupation, Adam joins the Polish resistance, then flies bombers for the RAF.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The narrator ruined it for me

  • By Annie M. on 08-06-16

The narrator ruined it for me

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

Reviewed: 08-06-16

I read Armstrong's superb novel "Winter Journey. That book made me want to read more by this author. Unfortunately Nocturn did not work for me on two levels… The first is the coincidental reading of "The Book of Aron," a novel based on the true story of a heroic priest and life in the Warsaw ghetto.

The two books are so similar in terms of subject manner. And Armstrong's book suffers and comparison, primarily due to the narrator.

Deirdre Rubenstein is a extremely good narrator when she's not making up voices. I know that she was trying to interpret her characters, but every time she did this it just annoyed me tremendously. I found the characterizations alternately shrill, growly, and just so annoying In the way they pulled me out of the story, not deeper into it.

I like this author so much, and actually like Rubenstein's narrative work when she plays it straight. She has a lovely voice, and excellent cadence. She could have read this straight and I would've loved it.

As it is I couldn't finish the book.b

2 of 2 people found this review helpful