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Rebecca J. Leamon

Ellsworth, ME United States
  • 48
  • reviews
  • 160
  • helpful votes
  • 89
  • ratings
  • My Not So Perfect Life

  • A Novel
  • By: Sophie Kinsella
  • Narrated by: Fiona Hardingham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,478
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,958
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,931

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie's life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle - from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she's trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she's desperate to make her dad proud.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another winner by Sophie Kinsella!

  • By Robyn on 02-15-17

Fine Story

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

Reviewed: 09-15-18

Kinsella's story has a bit of an identity problem, as it veers between fluff office story to finding one's identity story to a romance to a farce to an examination of the pressure to be perfect in modern life. It's "fine"--I enjoyed listening to it, but it was a bit unbalanced and left a lot of loose ends. Three stars for sure.

  • How to Be Famous

  • A Novel
  • By: Caitlin Moran
  • Narrated by: Louise Brealey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59

A hilarious, heartfelt sequel to How to Build a Girl, the breakout novel from feminist sensation Caitlin Moran who the New York Times called, "rowdy and fearless... sloppy, big-hearted and alive in all the right ways." You can’t have your best friend be famous if you’re not famous. It doesn’t work. You’re emotional pen-friends. You can send each other letters - but you’re not doing anything together. You live in different countries.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • She’s done it again.

  • By laura wyant on 07-09-18

AMAZING , but not for the faint of heart

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

I just finished galloping through this audiobook--it kept me laughing and engaged all the way through summer traffic on 495 and 95, and it kept me up till 11 (11! ME!) last night. I'm already a Moran fan, and Louise Brealey, the reader, is fantastic.

But the book is more than just a well-read story with a few glitches and one or two spots where perhaps/maybe just maybe/possibly an editor might have convinced Caitlin to trim a bit, which most of the reviews I read (Guardian and something else) mentioned. It's more than just a continuation of the story Moran's building based on her own life (which readers of her other memoirs, collections, and/or novels will recognize). What blew me away was Moran's clear-eyed effort to address the experience of being female in the world--in the novel, 1990's Britpop Europe, but her honest observations ring true in 2018 America as well. And they ring importantly true: Moran (in the voice of Dolly/Johanna) meditates on sex, rape, coming of age as a woman, sexism, relationships, shame (amazing descriptions of shame), sex-shaming, learning to set limits, finding one's voice--the list goes on and on. Yes, at times her unwavering descriptions made me uncomfortable: if I'd been reading a "real book" during the final chapter or so, I would probably have skipped some pages, but there was throughout a strong, victorious sense of claiming. Through Johanna's experience and no-holds-barred, no-physical-experience-undescribed, no-sexual-act-out-of-bounds storytelling, Moran is honoring and presenting the reality of women's whole beings, as whole beings, as sexual, strong, funny, physical, talented, hungry, thoughtful, contradictory, fearful beings. While the subject matter that's most boundary-pushing is sexual, Moran also discusses creativity, the importance of reading and writing, making an entrance, the wonders of American restaurant breakfasts, and the joys of physical exercise as well as good, bad, terrible, and beginning sex. There are great characters--Jo's dad, Susanne and Julie of The Branks, and, of course, John Kite. There is a painfully-resolved conflict that some may critique as unrealistic, but that I loved.

As I listened, as I laughed and winced and cringed a bit and wished I had a hard copy to mark up some of her strongest metaphors and best one-liners, I realized that How to Be Famous is a revolutionary creation that tells the complete story of a person in a way I have never heard it told before. I want many of my female friends to read it, but I also want my sons to read it as well. If you're up for what a family member once referred to as "risky bits," go buy a copy of this book or listen to the audio, and pay attention

  • 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

Puerile and predictable

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

Reviewed: 05-31-18

So trite and formulaic that I couldn't go beyond the third chapter. Uptight midwesterner earns a Rhodes (sp?) scholarship, arriving at Cambridge the same day she lands her dream job on a political campaign, resulting in many ill-timed phone conversations while trying to figure out graduate school. . . .A well-read Anglophile does not know what 'brown sauce' is and, in the age of TV and netflix, is not able to understand a basic British accent--that stretched my patience, but the final touch was the characterization of the rich gorgeous Brit (aka love interest) and the stereotypically shallow, weight-obsessed erstwhile girl friend who is *also* really dumb. Enough. I abandoned it in favor of an Austen re-listen.

8 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Just Mercy

  • A Story of Justice and Redemption
  • By: Bryan Stevenson
  • Narrated by: Bryan Stevenson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 6,728
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,095
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6,071

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Made me question justice, peers and myself.

  • By Kristy VL on 04-17-15

A life-changer!

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

Reviewed: 05-09-18

Bryan Stevenson is speaking at my son's college graduation, so I moved the well-reviewed Just Mercy up my list so I'd have finished it by that auspicious event.

WOW. This story, and Stevenson's knowledge, experience, examples, and facts, are powerful, devastating, energizing, and important. If you've read To Kill a Mockingbird: read this book. If you've TAUGHT To Kill a Mockingbird OR US History, read this book. If you're a human being: read this book. If you're paying attention, it will change the way you look at history, crime, law, and our country, and it will energize you to work for justice in some way.

Stevenson reads the book himself, and he's not a professional reader, but eventually I decided that his slightly awkward, flat delivery actually made the story more personal.

Hugely, highly recommended.

  • The Animators

  • A Novel
  • By: Kayla Rae Whitaker
  • Narrated by: Alex McKenna
  • Length: 15 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 314
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 298
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 297

In the male-dominated field of animation, Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses are a dynamic duo, the friction of their differences driving them: Sharon, quietly ambitious but self-doubting; Mel, brash and unapologetic, always the life of the party. Best friends and artistic partners since the first week of college, where they bonded over their working-class roots and obvious talent, they spent their twenties ensconced in a gritty Brooklyn studio. Working, drinking, laughing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rough beginning but Stick With It

  • By SydSavvy on 04-24-17

Fascinating Story of a New (to me) World

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

Reviewed: 04-02-18

Wow. I loved this story--Alex McKenna was a fantastic narrator, and Kayla Rae Whitaker created unforgettable characters and detailed worlds that I'd never encountered before. The only reason the story didn't get five stars is that it tailed off a bit lamely: after the pitch-perfect tension and plot of the first 3/4 of the story, the last 1/4 seemed to lose its way: I'd've preferred more resolution of the family tensions, Sharon's own personal tensions, and (at least) the mentor tension with Kate. . . . while instead, it just ended.

Still: it will stay in my mind and heart for a long time, and I'll be recommending it to friends who create, who love animation, who have to resolve tensions in their professional and familial lives, AND/OR who can handle a large helping of no-holds-barred language and behavior. Wow. Energetic and alien, but warm and familiar at the same time.

  • The Book of Polly

  • A Novel
  • By: Kathy Hepinstall
  • Narrated by: Jenna Lamia
  • Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,379
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,290
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,287

Willow Havens is 10 years old and obsessed with the fear that her mother will die. Her mother, Polly, is a cantankerous, take-no-prisoners Southern woman who lives to chase varmints, drink margaritas, and antagonize the neighbors - and she sticks out like a sore thumb among the young, modern mothers of their small conventional Texas town. She was in her late 50s when Willow was born, so Willow knows she's here by accident, a late-life afterthought.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The incredible Jenna Lamia!

  • By Mary Smiroldo on 05-09-17

A New Favorite with a fantastic reader

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

Reviewed: 01-12-18

I thought The Book of Polly would be a "lite read," a pleasant story of a quirky woman--I was completely unprepared for the beautifully written, funny, thoughtful meditation on family, death, life, and love that I encountered! It's an audio book I am considering buying in hard copy, just so I can reread and treasure some of Hepinstall's comments. OUTSTANDING--moving and powerful but also laugh-out-loud funny.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Surfeit of Lampreys

  • By: Ngaio Marsh
  • Narrated by: Philip Franks
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 261
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 237
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 240

Ngaio Marsh’s most popular novel begins when a young New Zealander’s first contact with the English gentry is the body of Lord Wutherford - with a meat skewer through the eye.... The Lampreys had plenty of charm - but no cash. They all knew they were peculiar - and rather gloried in it. The double and triple charades, for instance, with which they would entertain their guests - like rich but awful Uncle Gabriel, who was always such a bore.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worth waiting for!!!

  • By Meep on 11-26-15

Top Notch all the way!

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

Reviewed: 08-07-17

Ngaio Marsh is one of my, if not my top, favorite mystery writers; Surfeit of Lampreys has a tangled, surprisingly creepy plot; the characters are original and clear, and Philip Franks is a "I'd listen to him read the phone book" reader, so it's a huge hit all around! Did a lot of knitting and housework just so I could keep listening to this fantastic audio mystery. BRAVA!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Useful Woman

  • A Rosalind Thorne Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Darcie Wilde
  • Narrated by: Sarah Nichols
  • Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,081
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 971
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 971

The daughter of a baronet and minor heiress, Rosalind Thorne was nearly ruined after her father abandoned the family. To survive in the only world she knew, she began to manage the affairs of some of London society's most influential women, who rely on her wit and discretion. So when artistocratic wastrel Jasper Aimesworth is found dead in London's most exclusive ballroom, Almack's, Rosalind must use her skills and connections to uncover the killer.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Give this a chance

  • By James on 05-28-17

Uneven, Unrealistic, and a Terrible reader!

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

Reviewed: 08-01-17

It's hard to know if the book is really terrible or if the awful reader biased me against it, but wow: the story lurches from cliche to cliche ("I don't know how to be!" the Duke says at one point and people's souls are often freezing), the backstory is obscure enough to make it feel like it's the second or third in the series, and the main character has no clear personality. overall, it's hard to tell if we're supposed to see through the veils of society and sneer, or believe that they are important and hold our breath, hoping the heroine will remain as a part of the inner circle. And the reader: I searched for info on her, but couldn't find any: she sounds like an American desperately trying to be British. Her "rs" are annoying: they come out sounding like "ouurrrrrr": JaspAOUUUR, or, even worse "moordoooour'. Hard to describe. Best to avoid. Not even sure why I stuck with it. Bleah.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Fifth Elephant

  • Discworld #24
  • By: Terry Pratchett
  • Narrated by: Stephen Briggs
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,835
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,131
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,130

Sam Vines is a man on the run. Yesterday he was a duke, a chief of police, and ambassador to the mysterious, fat-rich country of Uberwald. Now he has nothing but his native wit and the gloomy trousers of Uncle Vanya. And if he can't make it through the forest to civilization, there's going to be a terrible war. But there are monsters on his trail. They're werewolves - and they're catching up. Sam Vines is out of time and already out of breath...

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Discworld: Worth Visiting Again and Again

  • By Michael on 08-01-03

Vimes, Pratchett, and Briggs: Top Notch!

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

Reviewed: 07-04-17

My son, a Pratchett expert, suggested The Fifth Elephant for a road trip listen, and I am delighted: Stephen Briggs is my favorite Pratchett reader, and this Vimes adventure filled in some of the gaps in my background. As many of Pratchett's novels do, it starts with a lot of unconnected details, but quickly gathers to an interesting central plot. Sometime I want to listen to all the novels in order, but this one is good even on its own.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Secrets of Wishtide

  • By: Kate Saunders
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck
  • Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,960
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,721
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,710

Mrs. Laetitia Rodd, aged 52, is the widow of an archdeacon who makes her living as a highly discreet private investigator. Her brother, Frederick Tyson, is a criminal barrister living in nearby Highgate with his wife and 10 children. Frederick finds the cases, and Laetitia solves them using her arch intelligence and her immaculate cover as an unsuspecting widow. When a case arises involving the son of the highly connected Sir James Calderstone, Laetitia sets off for Lincolnshire undercover as the family's new governess.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Historical intrigue-

  • By Meema on 04-16-17

A wonderful outing!

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

Reviewed: 06-04-17

I've been on a string of not-so-great audiobooks, and then finally I found "The Secrets of Wishtide," which was excellent from start to finish! The main character, Laetitia, and her circle of friends and employers, her world view and her late beloved husband Matt, and the whole reality of 1850's England come to life in a detailed, deliberate, fascinating story. Anna Bentinck, the reader, is excellent, managing a variety of characters with only one or two men sounding a bit awkwardly cartoonish.

Saunders embues the story with a richly understated background that makes Rodd seem like the grandmother who never runs out of stories: there are so many fleeting mentions to past adventures and people that I kept checking to see if this really was the first story in the series (it is). Having ripped through this first outing in a rare streak of nearly all day listening (thank you, big gardening and house-cleaning projects!), I am hopeful that there will be many more!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful