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U.P.

  • 20
  • reviews
  • 33
  • helpful votes
  • 21
  • ratings
  • The Dolan Girls

  • By: S. R. Mallery
  • Narrated by: Nancy Peterson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

The Dolan Girls by S. R. Mallery has it all. Set in Nebraska during the 1800s, whorehouse madams, ladies of the night, a schoolmarm, a Pinkerton detective, a Shakespeare-quoting old coot, brutal outlaws, and a horse-wrangler fill out the cast of characters. Added to the mix are colorful descriptions of an 1856 land rush, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show, Annie Oakley, bank/train robberies, small town local politics, and, of course, romance. Two, in fact!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The old west comes alive 🌵

  • By 🌸DARA on 11-23-17

Swept back in time to the old West

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

Reviewed: 11-18-17

In THE DOLAN GIRLS, S. R.Mallery brings us into the old west, using a unique perspective: that of young women with a secret to keep. Coming from a potato farm in famine-stricken Ireland, Cora (who refuses to talk about what happened six years ago) and her sister Minnie (who has been with her there the whole time) and Ellie (an endearingly lovely ten-years-old girl) must find ways to survive in a harsh new world where “no Irish need apply.”

Set in Nebraska, this is their story. The Dolan girls must make a Red-curtained Madam Ana brothel—“a place for pleasuring most any man”—their new home. Defending themselves against unruly customers would not come easy and it would take quick wit and quick action. “He took one hand off her neck to stroke her virgin cheek, and she seized the moment. Reaching to the right, she grabbed a large knife, the one she had used just the other day to help Mrs. Ana chop up some turnips.” And when the Madam falls ill, she tells Cora, “If I don’t make it, I give you my business, free and clear.”

It is in the parlor that we see their resilience playing out, while they (and we, through their eyes) get to meet iconic characters such as Annie Oakly. “Next, she positioned the mirror in front of her with one hand, and with the other, adjusted the rifle backwards on her shoulder… Crack-crack-crack-crack! went the rifle, shattering each target into bits and pieces.” The language is authentic, and the details capture the historical setting with not only precision but picturesque fun as well. “Ruffled shirts, petticoats more colorful than a rainbow, and boots covered in tassels were as common as toys on a Christmas morn.”

The narrator, Nancy Peterson, has a warm, intimate voice that goes straight to the heart. Immersing herself—and you—in the story, she varies her rhythm and expression, mining each word for its fullest impact. She’s great with accents and can change her age effortlessly, which gives presence to the characters and a great contrast between them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Forty-Minute War

  • By: Janet Morris, Chris Morris
  • Narrated by: Tim Welch
  • Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12

Janet Morris and Chris Morris are the creators of numerous novels, stories, and works of nonfiction, as well as the editors of the Heroes in Hell series, winner of the Hugo Award. Janet is the only science fiction writer invited to participate in the Rolex fiction program, Chris is an accomplished singer-songwriter and narrator, and the Morrises are widely known for their nonfiction work on national security topics such as nonlethal weapons and Russian technology as well as their fiction and music.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Prophetic in a particularly eerie way

  • By U.P. on 12-28-16

Prophetic in a particularly eerie way

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

Reviewed: 12-28-16

Any additional comments?

Here is a thriller that not only has no dull moment but is also prophetic in a particularly eerie way. The writers-Janet Morris and Christopher Crosby Morris-wrote this back in 1984 (a year that to me signifies a projection into the future, because of the dystopian novel by English author George Orwell, which was published about forty years before.) In the not too far past in history, we had the Hundred Years War; then the Six Day War; and now a war is fought within Forty Minutes. Here, the writers bring us right into the cockpit of a plane as a takeover is underway, a takeover that in many ways, seems to project into the events of 9/11.

Tim Welch, the versatile narrator chosen for this project, has two dozen titles for sale in a number of different genres on Audible. Being a public speaking professor at the State University of New York speaks to the depth of his experience. He breathes life into each one of the characters in this suspenseful Political-military context. I felt as if I am standing right behind the group of Arab terrorists, tongue-tied, praying for my life and for the survival of everyone onboard, wishing the pilots may prevail, somehow, and outsmart the Arab terrorists and prevent calamity. The action, and the complex contrasts between cowardice, heroism, overcoming fear, and a willingness to sacrifice for saving others. All these emotions come alive through Tim’s interpretation. He does the story justice.

Five stars

I received the audiobook edition as a gift, in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Mazurka

  • LeGarde Mysteries, Book 3
  • By: Aaron Paul Lazar
  • Narrated by: Lou Hecker
  • Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

Music professor Gus LeGarde is about to embark on a European honeymoon with his new wife, Camille, when his socially challenged brother-in-law receives a mysterious invitation to visit an ailing relative in Germany. Siegfried can't travel alone, but the newlyweds have no qualms over bringing him along. Unfortunately, their idyllic vacation takes a dark turn at the first stop in Paris, when Gus and Siegfried are caught in a bloody street brawl with a group of neo-Nazis.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Mazurka

  • By Deedra on 01-01-17

The musical connection

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

Reviewed: 12-04-16

Any additional comments?

Mazurka is a thrilling story that weaves family, suspense and romance threads together, only to bring forth the essence hiding underneath. As the title suggests, that essence, to me, is music. Gus, a music professor, states at the beginning, “Most days I played Chopin’s mazurkas, nocturnes, waltzes… My soul was being cleansed as my fingers danced over the ivories.” His late wife, Elsworth: had a passion for his music, too, instilled in her since childhood, so their love used to resonate on that note, as well.

On a honeymoon trip with his new wife, Camille, who has a history of abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, Gus is so gentle, so patient with her. Right from the start, this trip does not go as planned. “Hope glinted momentarily behind her long lashes util the plane quaked again.” The love scene is delicately described. Later, they visit places near and dear to his heart. “This is where he composed his last Mazurka, Camille.” And on second thought, he realizes, “I realized that when I sat at home in front of my old Mason and Hamlin piano and lost myself in one of Chopin’s melancholy nocturnes, I was closer to his genius than when I stood in front of this old building in Paris.”

But even in this romantic location, which is so vividly captured in this book, trouble is brewing, when they are faced, time and again, with members of a neo-nazi group. “There is a great deal of fear out there now, fear of those fanatics organizing and gaining some political momentum.” There are chase and escape scenes that will leave you hanging by your nails… Until, in the end, a revelation that harkens back to the musical theme, when they discover a precious, never before published manuscript by Chopin, for the woman in his life. Thus, love and music are woven together once more, even in the face of fear and mishaps. “My hand trembled as I held the precious manuscript under the light.”

The audiobook narrator, Lou Hecker, did justice to the writing, giving voice to Gus, giving a hesitant, soft voice to Camille, and endowing the other characters with different accents and intonations. I enjoyed his performance.

Highly recommended. Five stars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • After the Evil

  • A Jake Roberts Novel (Revised Edition)
  • By: Cary Allen Stone
  • Narrated by: Cary Allen Stone
  • Length: 5 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

Detective Jake Roberts and FBI profiler Mika Scott are in hot pursuit of the "Who's Your Daddy" serial killer, who preys on dominating and controlling men. During the investigation, Jake falls in love with flight attendant Lori Powers. Lori can't silence the voices and her daughter Emily cries out from the grave. Pandemonium breaks out when Jake realizes Lori is the killer.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible narration

  • By Tracy Brooks on 02-02-17

Shades of gray between good and evil

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

Reviewed: 02-28-16

What did you love best about After the Evil?

I loved the writing. The gift of this author is more than the ability paint violence so vividly that you find yourself drawn into the crime scene, but rather to get inside both the ‘good’ and the bad characters and living in their skin, as uncomfortable as that might be. It is an experience.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The story is built with a quick succession of scenes, leading up to the crimes or witnessing the aftermath of them. I can almost hear the director of the movie calling ‘Cut!’ at each transition. Interestingly, the beginning of a scene will describe a character without immediately naming him, so things clarify only after a few sentences. This makes the ‘cut’ intriguing in the following way: you may think its still the previous character—say, the killer—but actually now, it may be the investigator that stands before you. Both of them are flawed human being, you might even say damaged. Instead of presenting things in stark ‘good and evil’ contrasts, we are faced with shades of gray. The ‘good’ guys have painful histories and are struggling to survive their own agony, and the same can be said about the bad guys, which for me begs the question: what is it that causes the distinction between the two? I am still working the answer in my mind, so for me it was a thought-provoking story.

What does Steve O'Brien bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I enjoyed Steve O'Brien's voice and interpretation, but found myself needing more variation in the timbre of his voice during dialogues.

  • Trails in the Sand

  • By: P.C. Zick
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey A. Hering
  • Length: 13 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

Caroline Carlisle loved Simon from the moment she first laid eyes on him when she was nine years old. Unfortunately, he married her older sister, and thus set a southern family on a collision course with its past. After the death of her sister that makes Simon a widower, the two finally marry and attempt to make a family with Simon's daughter, Jodi. Jodi has other ideas, and they don't include welcoming a new stepmother who also happens to be her aunt.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Story interconnecting family & environment issues

  • By U.P. on 01-17-16

Story interconnecting family & environment issues

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

Reviewed: 01-17-16

Which scene was your favorite?

In Zick’s writing, the family and environment issue are interconnected: the night scene on a beach near Cape Canaveral, when the sea turtle hatchlings make their way to the sea, is moving on both levels at once. It left trails in the sand, in a direction which for me, evoked hope for a future founded on understanding and acceptance.

Any additional comments?

Set on Florida's panhandle and the east coast near St. Augustine, the second novel in the Florida Fiction series, Trails in the sand, presents Caroline, a woman faced with challenges on two levels: her family and her environment.

On the family level, she uncovers family secrets--murder, incest, and pregnancies—secrets that went unspoken for as long as three generations back. Going forward, these secrets threaten to unsettle the shaky balance between her, her husband, and his daughter, as they struggle to reach for each other and find forgiveness. On the environment level, they must pull their efforts together, to rescue sea turtles that are threatened by extinction due to environmental hazards brought on by society.

I expected to hear a distinct voice for each character, but for this story the voice artist, Jeffrey A. Hering, remains anchored, for the most part, in the role of the narrator. He has a pleasant, manly, mature voice with lovely warmth to it. The nuances in every sentence are fully realized with his storytelling skills. Possessing a voice age range of 30s to 50s, he is a veteran talent, who focuses on a natural sound, imparting a confident, energetic, captivating sense of his performance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Seacroft

  • Paines Creek Beach Book 2
  • By: Aaron Paul Lazar
  • Narrated by: Gwendolyn Druyor
  • Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

Vivian Wood is desperate. After her beloved brother dies of a sudden aneurysm and her mother develops Alzheimer's, she needs a good job and a place to stay. She finds it at The Seacroft, a Cape Cod seaside mansion ruled by a mysterious and demanding woman looking for a personal assistant.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sweet romance and so much more!

  • By PATRICIA on 12-24-15

Three characters and a storm

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

Reviewed: 01-13-16

Who was your favorite character and why?

Naturally, my favorite character is Viv. The story opens and ends with her, and although in many chapters we follow the events from Cody's point of view, he is the 'bad boy' who is undergoing a change through loving her. It is Viv for whom we truly care, to the point of wanting to protect her from the machinations of their evil boss, Uvi.

Which character – as performed by Gwendolyn Druyor – was your favorite?

I loved Viv, and loved to hate Uvi. Gwendolyn Lewis is a graduate of The Central School of Speech and Drama, London. She is articulate in a wide range of European and American dialects. For Viv, she offers a shy, naive voice that plays out her meek nature; for Cody, a spunky, boyish voice that lends itself to visualizing a daring, adventurous character; and for Uvi, their boss, a sly, commanding voice that is as silky as it is sultry.

Any additional comments?

The Seacroft is a story with three characters and a storm. Vivian is a naive young woman who is trying to survive, emotionally and financially, under difficult family circumstances (the death of her beloved brother, the illness of her mother.) Hired by Uvi, the evil mistress of The Seacroft, as her personal assistant, Viv finds herself attracted to the gardener, Cody, but in her meekness she has no idea how to make him notice her.

She cannot believe that he is attracted to her, because being so gorgeous he seems out of her reach, and because—to make matters more complicated—Uvi takes control of him, demanding his attention, expecting his love making, taking advantage of her position of power over his life, and telling both of them that she wanted to “keep him at my beck and call for all eternity, ready to pleasure me at a moment’s notice. But you spoiled that for me, Missy.”

And so the storm starts—not only as a figure of speech for passion but also as a real hurricane called Delilah, who pulls the characters apart and brings them together, all the while causing havoc and destruction in its path. The storm scene is captured imaginatively by the author, with sounds of wind and rain battering the landscape. “The old elm by the porch shuddered and swayed overhead, and in one magnificent burst, its roots creaked and ruptured from the earth, like a giant spider flailing upside down. The tree slammed across her path.” It is the storm that makes this book not only about love but about a place, as indicated by the title.

Will Viv and Cody manage to tie the knot, despite all obstacles? For the romantic in you, find out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Dragon Eaters

  • Heroika, Volume 1
  • By: Janet Morris, Chris Morris, S. E. Lindberg
  • Narrated by: Rob Goll
  • Length: 15 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

The art of dragon killing: Dragons have been eating humans for centuries. Now heroes throughout history stalk their legendary foe. Learn how to hunt, kill, and eat the wild dragon. Never before has revenge tasted so good. A literary feast for the bloody-minded. In Janet Morris' anthology on the art of dragon killing, 17 writers bring you so close to dragons, you can smell their fetid breath.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Getting even with the beasts that overpowered us

  • By U.P. on 01-13-16

Getting even with the beasts that overpowered us

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

Reviewed: 01-13-16

What did you love best about Dragon Eaters?

These tales are about getting even with the beasts that have been overpowering us for so long. Prepare yourself to run wild: enjoy adventure, risk, and the “fetid smell” of dragons in the heat of battle. Meet Zombie dragons, vampire dwarves, elves, and animated skeletons. Awaken to the ways in which fear triggers bravery.

I read quite a number of books by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, loved the exquisite writing style, and appreciated the detailed expertise in weaponry and horse riding skills that enrich their work (garnered over a lifelong experience.) They are truly inventive in creating carefully defined rules of a universe shared between a team of authors. Here, they define the thrust of this anthology using a long stretch of time: “Now heroes throughout history stalk their legendary foe.”

Have you listened to any of Rob Goll’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The voice artist, Rob Goll, a UK trained classical actor, has a warm Baritone voice. He embodies the characters in these stories with great conviction, giving each one of them a compelling sense of truth as they travel through a fanciful universe. The rich literary language of this anthology may be a challenge for many voice artists, but this is where he excels. His storytelling is both precise and engaging, as he seems drawn to the dark side, carrying us there with him through drama and adventure.

Looking at his YouTube channel I noticed that Dracula was an experiment for him to see whether he fancied being an audiobook narrator. Many of his other audiobooks are in a similar vein: Dragon Dreams: The Chronicles of Shadow and Light by Dusty Lynn Holloway, and Tales of Erana: The Warrior's Curse by Alexandra Butcher.

Any additional comments?

HEROIKA I allows me to learn about the team of authors and their varied storytelling skills. Each one of them has a biography rich with contradictions, across which imagination may be sparked:

S. E. Lindberg, Two decades of practicing chemistry, combined with a passion for the Sword and Sorcery genre. Jack William Finley has been a cook, an actor, a stunt man, a photographer, built computer hard drives, assembled ball bearings, delivered pizza, stocked shelves, wrapped wire and been a Soldier for the United States Army in Germany. Travis Ludvigson, a Warrior Poet who spent his life reading the histories of both real and imagined worlds, the ideas of ancient philosophers and the sagas of the Norse warriors. Tom Barczak, an Artist, turned Architect, who's finally getting around to finishing those stories he started writing long ago, when he sat on my front porch as a kid. JP Wilder, son of a farmer, a dishwasher, projectionist, paratrooper, Army scout, student, frat guy (of sorts), roofer, plumber (but not a very good one), grad student (twice-cooked), professor (Adjunct really), accountant, husband, executive, author, father. Joe Bonadonna, author of short stories, novels, and screenplays, a former rock and roll guitarist and songwriter from the Golden Age of 1964-1984. Milton John Davis, a chemist who enjoys his passion for writing, M. Harold Page, who wrote an earlier book inspired by a conversation with his son, who asked, “Daddy, how did the Roman Empire fall?” Alexandra Butcher. William Hiles. Walter Rhein, who splits his time between Wisconsin and Peru. Cas Peace, a folks song writer & performer whose first career was as a horse-riding instructor. Beth Waggoner Patterson. Bruce Durham, who writes history, young adult, post-apocalyptic, alt-historical and Lovecraftian horror, in addition to graphic novels.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Song of Kings

  • Book 1
  • By: R. J. Chance
  • Narrated by: Don Warrick
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

Twins, Princes Leonidas and Calanus, are born to the Emperor Ptolemy and Queen Eugenia. Their mother dies in childbirth, and the twins are separated when Calanus is kidnapped by a radical group whose leader is known only as The Stranger. On the same day an elderly scholar named Nur'ed'Din hides a mysterious box within the walls of his crumbling house; moments later he is murdered by soldiers searching for the box and its secrets. The box remains hidden, awaiting a time of awakening.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • imaginative world building

  • By U.P. on 11-29-15

imaginative world building

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

Reviewed: 11-29-15

What did you like best about this story?

There is a subtle connection between mythology and science fiction—and listening to the audiobook edition of THE SONG OF KINGS has brought it into focus. Describing an ancient world as well as a future universe both require a leap of imagination and the skill of world building. The future, as described by RJ Chance, is infused with names that resonate with histories, such as Emperor Ptolemy and Queen Eugenia. Even as you are swept away to witness heroic struggles, the past of this future world is ever present: “King Ptolemy would often stumble upon broken bones, sand scoured skulls; and every now and then a mummified body. With skin stretched upon their skeletons as thin as paper, but as hard as leather; kept preserved for all eternity in the dry conditions inside the trap.”

While humanity has branched out into the stars using warp drive, the basic urges and the struggle for power remain in place. It is against a very real prospect of death that three young princes—Calanus, Leonidas, and Ja’din—must survive, and as they find ways to overcome obstacles, their actions have far reaching affects, influencing the galaxy’s future forever.

Have you listened to any of Don Warrick’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The audio narrator, Don Warrick, goes out of the skin of one character and into the skin of another with quick, nimble leaps. Through a variety of accents we sense all the characters as they change, as they fight their way through the dramatic unfolding of this story. At the center of it all, amidst all the vocal contrasts, is his warm, intimate tone, the tone of a storyteller, singing the song of kings.

  • Shards of the Glass Slipper

  • Queen Cinder
  • By: Roy A. Mauritsen
  • Narrated by: Christopher Crosby Morris
  • Length: 16 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 16

Can a group of heroes, including Goldenhair, Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel, help General Snow White and her dwarven resistance fighters defeat the tyrannical Queen Cinderella? And will they succeed before a war with Wonderland destroys everything? Their only hope to stop Cinderella's quest for power lies with a young girl named Patience Muffet.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A fantasy seen from a yet unexplored angle

  • By U.P. on 07-14-15

A fantasy seen from a yet unexplored angle

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

Reviewed: 07-14-15

Any additional comments?

Shards of a Glass Slipper is a wonderful title. It suggests what this book is about: shattering vintage objects so they reflect new and surprising visions. Based on iconic images from classic fairy tales (such as the Brothers Grim) it takes a different approach to these images, expanding our understanding of what they mean. Written by the artist-turned-writer, Roy A. Mauritsen, this book is truly creative, evoking images (such as large battle scenes) by use of words, and allowing characters we have known for since childhood to be seen from a yet unexplored angle. Case in point: Cinderala, whom we thought we knew as a sweet, innocent girl, turning into Queen Cinder, a cruel, scheming dictator, and the symbol of her uniqueness—the elegant glass slipper she wore that unforgettable night—breaking into shards. That is vessel that contains the last remnants of fairy magic in the kingdom. And so, beware, anything can happen!

The narration of it, by Christopher Crosby Morris, is simply a pleasure for children of all ages. My sense of it is that Christopher truly had fun bringing this magical, whimsical fantasy to life. He used different pacing and different tones of his voice, and the full range of his storytelling technique, to reflect the many different characters and the drama unfolding between them. On top of this, he made this audiobook a performance like no other, with music and sound effects in the background, which sweeps you into the scene and enriches the experience.

Five stars.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Moscow Dreams

  • By: Julia Gousseva
  • Narrated by: Gary Roelofs
  • Length: 5 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

A peaceful summer morning in Moscow is invaded by a column of tanks rumbling down a quiet tree-lined street. People are protesting in the streets, independent news outlets are being silenced, and Mikhail Gorbachev is declared unfit to run the country. His whereabouts are unknown. It is August 19, 1991, and the communist hardliners are attempting a coup with plans of eliminating Mikhail Gorbachev and turning back his democratic reforms.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Be Lifted to Moscow:1991 as seen by teenage Marina

  • By Adam B Crafter on 08-19-15

Life Change, Inside and Out, Faithfully Delivered

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

Reviewed: 01-30-15

Would you listen to Moscow Dreams again? Why?


Who was your favorite character and why?

Without a question, my favorite character is Marina. This a story is about her. She is a highly intelligent, ambitious Foreteen years old girl, who lives in Moscow. She is driven to learn English and prepare for her college exams, which are two years away, as a way of shaping her future. Her dream is to travel and see the world.

What about Gary Roelofs’s performance did you like?

I have read the story months ago and enjoyed it tremendously, yet listening to the narrator, Gary Roelofs, deliver the fine nuances of the writing is a whole different experience. He truly breathes life into the dialog, taking on different voices and accents with great ease, and imbuing the story with feeling.

Any additional comments?

The author, Julia Gousseva, sweeps us away into a different time and place, unfamiliar to most of us. She brings us into Marina's home, allows us to take snapshots of her family, feel the change of seasons going into a cold Russian winter, and hear her father's stories as he comes back home from his travels. We smell the aroma of Russian foods, such as modlovnik, as they are prepared by her Babushka (grandmother.)

The descriptions are utterly honest, drawn faithfully and in precise, authentic detail, all of which builds our trust in the writing. Through the observant eyes of this sharp-minded girl, we become witnesses to an increasingly turbulent time of change: the Perestroika period, which restructured the Soviet political and economic system, and caused of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, during 1991-1992.

I love the double twisted yarn where "life around Marina was changing, and she was changing too." How would she cope with these changes, in herself and in her country, which are beyond her anything she has imagined before?

What a fascinating listen! Five stars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful