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David

San Diego, CA, United States
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  • 249
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  • The Rival Queens

  • Catherine de' Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal That Ignited a Kingdom
  • By: Nancy Goldstone
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 16 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 518
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 475
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 475

Catherine de' Medici was a ruthless pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for 30 years. Her youngest daughter, Marguerite, the glamorous "Queen Margot," was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor control.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Definitely not a dull bio!

  • By Nella on 07-04-15

Fascinating history disrupted by the footnotes

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

Reviewed: 01-26-18

Goldstone clearly did her homework and weaves a narrative of one of the most powerful families in France and the incredible internal politics that shaped it. She brings in letters, memoirs, and other sources masterfully and does a great job in helping the audience become immersed in the story. One of the drawbacks though were the footnotes, which disrupted the flow of the listening experience. However, even with the interruptions from the footnotes, Toren does a solid job of telling the story.

  • The Ghost Bride

  • A Novel
  • By: Yangsze Choo
  • Narrated by: Yangsze Choo
  • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 698
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 657
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 653

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Delightful, Original, Well Done!

  • By T Higgins on 03-19-14

Beautiful background and promising debut

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

Reviewed: 01-26-18

Choo's debut novel holds much promise. The details of the time (late 1800s Malaysia) showed dedicated research and made for some great background element. Also, the descriptions of the Planes of the Dead were both haunting and incredibly powerful. Choo was able to bring many elements of different Chinese religions together in a masterful manner. However, Pan Li Lan (the narrator) at times feels a bit flat. This might be realistic considering the restrictions on women at the time and in the place, but it can lead to a character who sometimes just doesn't scan well. Also, the mystery in the Planes of the Dead was more told than shown. That said, for a first novel, Choo did well, and I hope she continues.

  • Breaking Free

  • How I Escaped Polygamy, the FLDS Cult, and My Father, Warren Jeffs
  • By: Rachel Jeffs
  • Narrated by: Rachel Jeffs
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 584
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 526
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 523

In this searing memoir of survival in the spirit of Stolen Innocence, the daughter of Warren Jeffs, the self-proclaimed Prophet of the FLDS Church, takes you deep inside the secretive polygamist Mormon fundamentalist cult run by her family and how she escaped it. Born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Rachel Jeffs was raised in a strict patriarchal culture defined by subordinate sister wives and men they must obey.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Heart breaking addition to the FLDS cult story

  • By blueskies982 on 12-10-17

A powerful story

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

Reviewed: 01-26-18

Rachel Jeff's memoir of her experience in the FLDS church as the daughter of the infamous Warren Jeffs pulls no punches. She is honest about the abuse (both emotional and physical) that was part of her life in this church. The details are crystal clear, and you can feel her pain. However, at times, her voice just strikes my ear the wrong way. I was able to power past it, but I think a more skilled narrator might have brought me more into the story.

  • Sense and Sensibility

  • By: Jane Austen
  • Narrated by: Marion Castle
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 315
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 275
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 280

Sense and Sensibility is a sharply detailed portrait of the decorum surrounding courtship and the importance of marriage for women in early 19th-century upper-class English society. The story revolves around Elinor and Marianne Dashwood who, as members of the upper class, cannot "work" for a living and must therefore make a suitable marriage to ensure their livelihood. Elinor is a sensible, rational creature, while her younger sister, Marianne, is wildly romantic - a characteristic that offers Austen plenty of scope for both satire and compassion.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Much better than the Victoria McGee version

  • By A. Thompson on 10-08-12

An Enjoyable Austen Piece

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

Reviewed: 01-09-18

While not my favorite of Austen's works, the Dashwood sisters are compelling protagonists, the supporting cast are enjoyable, and there are just enough details to give you a good picture of what life was like during the period when the story was set. What prevented this from being an outstanding performance or story for me were the musical interludes that occurred between chapters, the whole Ferras marriage plot, and some of the voices the narrator used for the male characters. However, overall it was a very easy listen, and the plot was easy enough to follow.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle

  • By: Shirley Jackson
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,166
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,950
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,954

Six years after four family members died of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The narration changed my interpretation

  • By jaspersu on 10-28-12

A haunting near fable

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

Reviewed: 01-09-18

This work is rightly considered one of Jackson's master pieces. The depth of Merricat's character is well drawn out, and we can see the logic of her world. She and her magical way of thinking dominate the story. By the end, I felt I could understand how she saw the world working.

  • The Princess Diarist

  • By: Carrie Fisher
  • Narrated by: Carrie Fisher, Billie Lourd
  • Length: 5 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,633
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,271
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,231

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her costar, Harrison Ford.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fireworks at Midnight

  • By Gretchen SLP on 11-25-16

Humorous and Powerful

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

Reviewed: 12-10-17

Carrie Fisher does it again in this memoir. Her sense of humor, her voice, her thoughts on her life and her recollections are all on full display here. She doesn't pull any punches, and her honesty is something to be admired. The sections of her diary read by Billie Lourd have a very much stream of consciousness style, and can be hard to access at times (perhaps better read than listened to). However, if you enjoyed Wishful Drinking, I think you will enjoy this.

  • Everything That Rises Must Converge

  • By: Flannery O’Connor
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot, Karen White, Mark Bramhall, and others
  • Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 858
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 727
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 739

This collection of nine short stories by Flannery O'Connor was published posthumously in 1965. The flawed characters of each story are fully revealed in apocalyptic moments of conflict and violence that are presented with comic detachment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pride goeth before the fall

  • By Ryan on 08-14-13

A Powerful Anthology, but No Happy Endings

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

Reviewed: 12-10-17

There are many wonderful stories in this anthology, and the different narrators all bring something different to the table and the characters. However, on a personal note, I liked some of the stories in the collection better than others (as is almost always the way with anthologies) and certain of the narrators didn't pair as well as others with their material. The stories I remember best are "A View of the Woods" and "Revelation" as their characters felt the most realized.

As you might expect for stories in the Gothic Tradition, the endings here are not happy. The most we get is a cautious sort of optimism for the future, and those stories are far from the majority. I give this collection a cautious recommendation as overall, the stories were well written and you get a very good sense of the Gothic Tradition.

  • Misery

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Lindsay Crouse
  • Length: 12 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,234
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,052
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,053

Paul Sheldon is a best-selling novelist who has finally met his number-one fan. Her name is Annie Wilkes, and she is more than a rabid reader - she is Paul's nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident. But she is also furious that the author has killed off her favorite character in his latest book. Annie becomes his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house. Annie wants Paul to write a book that brings Misery back to life - just for her. She has a lot of ways to spur him on.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great job

  • By Whitney on 05-06-16

Haunting, Powerful, Lingering

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

Reviewed: 11-10-17

In Misery, King gives us one of his more human centered stories, and for that reason it is among his most powerful, his darkest, and his most haunting. Annie Wilkes is one of his most disturbing creations because (even if some of her feats toward the end of the piece are hard to believe) she is so grounded in reality. You could see a character like her living, existing in the real world. Crouse (the narrator) does a very good job bringing this character to life and she does an excellent job showing the fluctuations in Annie's mood. Also the novel within the novel, Misery's Return, is sort of fun to hear as you get to see King tackle the tropes of romance novels.

The only reason the performance and overall experience don't get five stars is there were random musical notes and sound effects that detracted from the experience of the story. Also, from time to time it was difficult (at least in the Audio version) to keep track of what Paul was doing vs. what he was imagining. This might be easier to keep track of in the print edition.

  • Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

  • By: Jane Austen, Ben H. Winters
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 384
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 234
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 232

From the publisher of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes a new tale of romance, heartbreak, and tentacled mayhem. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters expands the original text of the beloved Jane Austen novel with all-new scenes of giant lobsters, rampaging octopi, two-headed sea serpents, and other biological monstrosities.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I wish they'd turn this into a movie!

  • By Kat on 10-10-09

Austen Meets Nautical Sci-Fi

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

Reviewed: 11-07-17

This has been something I've wanted to listen to for a long time as I tried and enjoyed "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and very much enjoyed it. The narrator did a solid job, the story had just the right amount of Austen's content and just enough sea monsters (although I feel this novel leaned heavier on the sea monsters than PPZ did on the zombies). It is a fun little listen I was able to finish in just about three sittings, as it is the sort of story that goes great as background noise for almost any activity.

  • The Good Earth

  • By: Pearl S. Buck
  • Narrated by: Anthony Heald
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,407
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,303
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,322

This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow

  • By Ryan on 05-08-10

An Epic of its Time

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

Reviewed: 11-07-17

Set in pre-modern China, this novel talks of the rise of a family. Of how one man through hard work (and a little bit of robbery at the right moment) manages to secure the fortune of his life. We get a detailed picture of the inner life of this man, and see the world well through his perspective. Heald does a good job in aging the central character from young manhood into his old age. Elements of this story (such as the relationship between O-lan, Lotus Flower, and Cuckoo) don't feel fleshed out and I would have like to know more about O-lan and how she saw the world. Also, the main character's daughter is dropped when she is no longer of convenience to the plot. Still, there are great insights, some powerful moments, and this is clearly a foundation for later works that stands well on its own.