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Michael

Highpattern

Groton, NY, United States | Member Since 2011

ratings
51
REVIEWS
25
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
37

  • The Goose Girl: Book One of the Books of Bayern

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Shannon Hale
    • Narrated By Cynthia Bishop
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (50)

    Princess Anidori-Kiladra of Kildenree was born with a word on her tongue, and a secret magic. Though she is raised in luxury, she is never quite comfortable with who she is, or what she is to become. Then she is sent on a journey to marry an unknown prince. The trip is difficult, and before it is finished all her expectations are overturned. Alone, friendless, stripped of her crown and her title, Ani must learn to make her own path in the world. Along the way, she just might learn to be a princess.

    S. Glanzer says: "good fun"
    "Cynthia Is a fairytale narrator Par excellence!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Goose Girl?

    My girls will love this! Good moral character qualities but still exciting.


    Any additional comments?

    A full five honks! (Or whatever geese do). I am so glad to a found this. Well-crafted, the story does justice to the original fairytale without changing the storyline for a much at all.
    Anni the goose girl is a very good character-- truly the character of a humble Princess who has to learn the plight of the common people and seek their help.
    There is a lot of action and plot twists-- just the kind of thing to keep my daughters really interested. And the 2005 full cast audio production of it on audible is great!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Theft of Swords: Riyria Revelations, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4786)
    Performance
    (4402)
    Story
    (4403)

    Acclaimed author Michael J. Sullivan created instant best sellers with his spellbinding Riyria Revelations series. This first volume introduces Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy bigger than they can imagine, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery - before it’s too late.

    Magpie says: "Two books in one - keep listening!!"
    "A+ world building, story lines and deep characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Theft of Swords rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Definitely right near the top


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Theft of Swords?

    Rescue of the princess from the dwarf rigged tower.


    Have you listened to any of Tim Gerard Reynolds’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The writing here gives him an opportunity to shine even more. He seemed to perceive the characters very well!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Actually, there were quite a few. Royce and Hadrian definitely end up having a Robin Hood like ability to sniff out where the evil is coming from. They then defend the helpless against powerful schemers.


    Any additional comments?

    Okay, I'm going ahead in getting into these because they are on audio which is what I have time for in the narrator is very good. I actually thought that the plot twists in this book were extremely funny and well done. For example, having the overly pampered prince rescued from the Castle via the sewer was funny! The dialogue there made me laugh hard and help me to get to know the two main sword thieves.

    These guys are basically Robin Hood types overall in that they always tend to help those who are down and out and are not very supportive of tyrants.

    Generally speaking, his characters are very human in their flaws and good qualities as well. So far, I have really liked the fact that the church is worked into these tales (both Saints and scoundrels) for example, they help a monk named Myron to reconstruct a church library.

    The author has a healthy restrained from being overly graphic and the humor is top-notch. Very entertaining!

    He's also very good at explaining the plights of scullery maids and common blacksmiths. And of course, the swordfights are very well described!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Tandem: The Many Words Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Anna Jarzab
    • Narrated By Amanda Dolan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds, inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real - until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will. To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever.

    Michael says: "Top Notch! My daughter and I both enjoyed!"
    "Top Notch! My daughter and I both enjoyed!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Tandem again? Why?

    Already did. The concepts were very intriguing and it took the second time around to really appreciate it. Easily entertaining enough. My daughter Mercy went through it twice in a row too.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Sasha's character, the way she deals with the amazing set of circumstances she's thrown into and empathizes with others.


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

    No, but now she will be on my radar screen as a narrator! Excellent job Amanda! I liked the way she did male voices and the King's voice which was a difficult conundrum.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    One of the ways I can gauge whether I like an audiobook is that, as soon as I get to the end, I want to go right back and listen to the beginning again. This was one such book!

    I'm becoming a big fan of Anna's writing in general-- her characters have a realism that springs from their home life, caring about their parents (or not for a time), connection to Shakespeare and literature in general, appreciation for history and science. Her books motivate young people to want to learn!

    As for this book, I would seriously like to see it as a movie.

    The idea that you would have a person like you in a parallel universe is really cool to begin with, but she executes it brilliantly! If you enjoy books like the Hunger Games, but also like princesses and having to deal with difficult situations that you find yourself in by using your wits, this is a big winner.

    The science of this gradually unfolds, as do major plot twists and interpersonal relationships. There are secret codes to discover, and personalities to figure out. When she goes into the alternative universe, she has to figure out gradually who is to be trusted. This becomes extremely difficult!

    I really like the main character, Sasha, mainly because she empathizes with people that seem to be her enemies. She is thoughtful, likable and for me, very believable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • On the Jellicoe Road

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Melina Marchetta
    • Narrated By Rebecca Macauley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (88)

    Taylor Markham is now a senior at the Jellicoe School, and has been made leader of the boarders. She is responsible for keeping the upper hand in the territory wars with the townies, and the cadets who camp on the edge of the school's property over summer. She has to keep her students safe and the territories enforced and to deal with Jonah Griggs - the leader of the cadets and someone she'd rather forget. B ut what she needs to do, more than anything, is unravel the mystery of her past and find her mother.

    Courtney says: "BUY THIS BOOK NOW!"
    "Deep and emotionally charged. Good to listen to t"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about On the Jellicoe Road?

    I actually really enjoyed this one as an audiobook. Marchetta's ability to paint with words is simply amazing. She is strong exactly where I am weak as a writer. She was really good at describing Taylor's emotional pain and struggles from the first-person point of view.

    The dialogue was Believable. She sets up a lot of tension in the conversations. As you read, you learn most of what you learn in dialogue. Taylor is trying to find out who she is because she's at a boarding school and she doesn't really know who her mom is and she has missing pieces in her memory.

    The story arc is hard to follow in the beginning, but it's the kind of book you can go back to the beginning and get a lot more out of it the second time. This definitely had a lot of depth.


    What about Rebecca Macauley’s performance did you like?

    Great job of getting the Australian feel and distinguishing parts.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It is very emotional.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Centurion’s Wife: Acts of Faith, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Janette Oke, Davis Bunn
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (151)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (104)

    Three-time Christy Award winner Davis Bunn collaborates with Janette Oke to evoke the tumult of first-century Judea in the wake of Christ’s crucifixion. Although she prefers service in Pontius Pilate’s palace to a loveless marriage, Leah is betrothed to a Roman centurion. Before he can have Leah, however, he must go on a secret mission. But when a rabbi’s missing body sends Leah and Alban after the same answers, what they discover could change all they hold dear.

    Kindlefan says: "Not what I expected"
    "Gets you into the events in a fresh way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Centurion’s Wife the most enjoyable?

    I actually really enjoyed this book. I know, I know Jeanette Oake. But she really did a good job of writing a story that is pretty accurate to the facts of what happened surrounding Jesus death, resurrection and Pentecost. She sets up the tension well and has a believable take on what could’ve happened to Pontius Pilate after Jesus. Also, getting at the events from fresh angles helps to remind you of the biblical narrative.
    The book suffers from a lowchurch understanding in terms of baptism and communion. Also, it has some theological misunderstandings of the Jew, Gentile question, but these were small and easily laid aside.
    I did find myself rooting for the main characters. I would have liked to see what became of Jacob-- maybe he becomes the apostle James or something.


    What does Susan Lyons bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Really good voice. Susan, you are one of my favorites


    Who was the most memorable character of The Centurion’s Wife and why?

    Alben


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The 5th Wave

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Rick Yancey
    • Narrated By Brandon Espinoza, Phoebe Strole
    Overall
    (472)
    Performance
    (440)
    Story
    (446)

    After the first wave, only darkness remains. After the second, only the lucky escape. And after the third, only the unlucky survive. After the fourth wave, only one rule applies: Trust no one. Now, it's the dawn of the fifth wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother - or even saving herself.

    FanB14 says: "Not Your Typical YA Dystopian Fare"
    "Really good character voicing and POV"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The 5th Wave the most enjoyable?

    The book keeps you in a constant state of tension because you are always waiting to understand more about the aliens and what is actually happening. This tension is something that pulls you forward.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Lots to like. Cassie's POV, some great action sequences, good humor, etc.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I have to say the rescue of Jamie


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Maybe I'm just dull emotionally, but it sure could have done those things. For me, it was more intriguing and enjoyable and made me think what would I do in such situations?


    Any additional comments?

    I learned some things about writing from this book. Thanks Rick.

    As to the performance, both of you did a great job and were VERY believable!

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Tuesday's Gone: A Frieda Klein Novel, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Nicci French
    • Narrated By Beth Chalmers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (166)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (143)

    In Tuesday's Gone, a London social worker makes a routine home visit only to discover her client, Michelle Doyce, serving afternoon tea to a naked, decomposing corpse. With no clues as to the dead man's identity, Chief Inspector Karlsson again calls upon Frieda for help. She discovers that the body belongs to Robert Poole, con man extraordinaire. But Frieda can't shake the feeling that the past isn't done with her yet. Did someone kill Poole to embroil her in the investigation? And if so, is Frieda herself the next victim?

    Katherine says: "I like this series but..."
    "Terrific reader! You got so many voices right."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Tuesday's Gone to be better than the print version?

    Yes, but I'm not qualified to say. However, the narration was top-quality and I look forward to more from Beth Chalmers


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Freda is a person who is very tough to read at first. But it introduced me to many things in the world of the psychotherapist. I ended up empathizing greatly with her and feeling that she was basically doing the right thing most of the time.


    Which character – as performed by Beth Chalmers – was your favorite?

    Well, she did a good job with Carlson. But she switched very deftly for different characters.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    It was about a third of the way through where freedom really begins to care for Mary Laughton and others. That's what makes her believable. It makes the whole story rise above a normal whodunit.


    Any additional comments?

    Yes, the author has a terrific feel for London, and how to work with down and out people. The word s**t comes up a lot because they all have to deal with it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Door Away from Heaven

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By Anne Twomey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (578)
    Performance
    (275)
    Story
    (276)

    In a dusty trailer park on the far edge of the California dream, Michelina wants to change the direction of her troubled life but can't find her way. When a new family settles into the rental trailer next door, Micky meets the young girl who will change her forever.

    Perk4me says: "Koontz outdoes himself"
    "Mixed bag"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Some parts


    Would you be willing to try another book from Dean Koontz? Why or why not?

    Definitely uses language to paint characters well


    What three words best describe Anne Twomey’s voice?

    Gentle, not hurried


    Did One Door Away from Heaven inspire you to do anything?

    Look out for the outcasts of society and the weak.


    Any additional comments?

    In terms of some good action sequences and character development, I enjoyed many parts of this.

    As a polemic for utilitarian bioethics, while he does cause you to think about the issues, I think the characters and some of the horrible things they did were overdrawn. It just isn't all that winsome if you are trying to convince a utilitarian. Most utilitarians are nearly this extreme, but the story does show where these things could go under the worst of circumstances.

    Some parts are gross and disgusting and go on too long being gross and disgusting.

    I did enjoy the author's portrayal of Curtis and Leilani who really were interesting young characters.

    This author definitely loves dogs!
    flag

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow on the Crown: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Patricia Bracewell
    • Narrated By Katie Firth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (50)

    In 1002, 15-year-old Emma of Normandy crosses the Narrow Sea to wed the much older King Athelred of England, whom she meets for the first time at the church door. Thrust into an unfamiliar and treacherous court, with a husband who mistrusts her, stepsons who resent her and a bewitching rival who covets her crown, Emma must defend herself against her enemies and secure her status as queen by bearing a son.

    Molly B. L. says: "This one is a keeper"
    "Captivating and intriguing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Shadow on the Crown to be better than the print version?

    For me? Definitely. That may not be the case for all maybe.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Emma's character.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The chase with the King of Denmark for action! Emma's challenges at court for character!


    If you could take any character from Shadow on the Crown out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    “Margot” ! I was deeply touched by the way Margot becomes the embodiment and extension of the voice and hands of Emma’s mother. When Emma doesn’t know what to do, her "voice" is there. When Emma would give up in the midst of stormy seas, her "voice" is there. It’s the voice of her mother.


    Any additional comments?

    Bravo Katie! Great job reading this with the pronunciations and inflections! I hope you are there when the next book comes out!

    This book has sex.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Opposite of Hallelujah

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Anna Jarzab
    • Narrated By Leslie Bellair
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Caro Mitchell considers herself an only child - and she likes it that way. After all, her much older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago, and Caro barely remembers her. So when Caro's parents drop the bombshell news that Hannah is returning to live with them, Caro feels as if an interloper is crashing her family. To her, Hannah's a total stranger, someone who haunts their home with her meek and withdrawn presence, and who refuses to talk about her life and why she went away.

    Anet says: "The cost of misplaced guilt is high"
    "really likeable "voice" -- good real life story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely--Really good for families working through issues and older teenage girls.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Opposite of Hallelujah?

    Since this review the format does not leave a place to say it, I will just say that the reader was absolutely believable as CARO! Great job!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Clash between mother and daughter near the beginning. Also her interactions with Father Bob.


    Any additional comments?

    The “voice” of Caro was beautifully done! The author had an amazing ability to use Caro’s POV to:
    1. express what she is really feeling
    2. give huge insights into many family dynamics
    3. give huge insights into many school and relationship dynamics.

    Bravo!

    This book shows a way out for families who are struggling through something dark (in this case really dark) in the past. It was beautiful in that Caro needed all the support of her family, friends, teachers and (which was very nice for me to see) a minister.
    This will be a great read for my older teenage daughter. The worldview choices in the book are certainly not mine in every case, but the author navigated quite well through religious and highschool waters.
    Some things that happen to us in life are so dark and difficult-- but a father and mother who really TRY to understand, combined with some friends and church people can help to unravel a world of hurt.

    Thanks Anna for giving me insight to TRY to understand my young ladies!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Me Before You: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, and others
    Overall
    (2728)
    Performance
    (2483)
    Story
    (2491)

    Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

    Bonny says: "Will & Louisa - each has what the other one needs"
    "Thank you for a wonderful reading performance!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What other book might you compare Me Before You to and why?

    The Fault in Our Stars Deals with loving someone who is physically challenged and about to die.


    Any additional comments?

    Louisa was simply an amazing person. She starts out as someone who can serve others and enjoy waitressing. When she looks for a job, (parts that are done with absolutely terrific writing and British humor) it becomes obvious that the color of her parachute is one that really just longs to selflessly serve someone else.
    Her ability to love someone in a way didn’t fit the cultural romantic norms. She loved the quadriplegic, impotent Will in a way that was much more focused on little ordinary everyday things. The way that she loved him had a very important lesson as we love someone who is aging or sick or injured: physical attractiveness in the Hollywood sense falls away. What’s left? Louisa showed me that a whole lot is left!
    Luisa’s character is one that doesn’t treat someone with kid gloves-- she dishes it right back! Gradually, her motives for her choices moved away from just needing a job. She allows herself to become changed powerfully by serving and gradually loving Will.
    This type of literature is changing me. I know, I know: chick lit. But as a man with a wife and three daughters at home, and many hurting people around me, I need this insight and sensitivity to human emotion. I’d like to thank the author for that. For example, this book gave insight as to why my wife and daughters want my shirts to sleep with when I’m gone.
    Being a Christian minister, I had to take away a star for some ethical and worldview issues. Just the other day my dad (74) and his friend Ralph, both of whom are physically struggling with disability and aging had robust joy in the consideration of the resurrection and heaven. They are laughing and confident facing death. That perspective is lacking here. At least it’s not considered.
    I found the author’s writing style to be entertaining and definitely engrossing. Her description of facial expressions and gestures was exquisite.

    19 of 24 people found this review helpful

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