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Natalia P. Valdes

Natalia

South San Francisco, CA USA | Listener Since 2007

ratings
391
REVIEWS
86
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
66
HELPFUL VOTES
265

  • Matched: Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ally Condie
    • Narrated By Kate Simses
    Overall
    (1466)
    Performance
    (1161)
    Story
    (1180)

    Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

    FanB14 says: "Giver Goes Green"
    "Wow"
    Overall

    I was worried about picking up this book because so many people were bashing it as a rip off of 'the giver'. I could not find many reviews that praised this particular story. I have not read the giver so i cannot agree with them, but i did read this book and i can say that i loved it. The structure of the society was not as big a part of the story for me as the events surrounding the characters was.

    The book takes place in a dystopian society and you are immersed in it so much that when Cassia begins to open her eyes it is subtle. I really enjoyed that fact because in a lot of YA books the main character is really blunt with their epiphany. I enjoyed the way it was written and how realistic it felt even though the environment is like nothing we have experienced. I am excited for the next installment, but if the book were to end here i would not be dissatisfied. The main character is strong and she really kept the story interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a story of teenage rebellion and strong characters.

    The narrator did a great job. No complaints here.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • The Neverending Story

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Michael Ende
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    Overall
    (146)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (132)

    In this classic fantasy novel from author Michael Ende, small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux is nobody's idea of a hero, least of all his own. Then, through the pages of an ancient, mysterious book, he discovers the enchanted world of Fantastica, and only Bastian himself can save the fairy people who live there. Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.

    James says: "So much better than the movie"
    "whoa-oh-whoa-oh-whoa-oh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Neverending Story had such a great message for young readers. A story that really makes you understand the consequences of actions while being dressed up in a fantastical adventure story.

    I must have watched the movie dozens of times as a child, but I wish someone had made me sit and read the book instead.

    I loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Piper Kerman
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2542)
    Performance
    (2308)
    Story
    (2322)

    With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 - one of the millions of women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.

    Mark says: "My favorite book of the year, so far"
    "Orange Obsession"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am absolutely obsessed with Piper Kerman's story. The book is a much more subdued story compared to the Netflix series based on the memoir.

    I have had someone close to me in the prison system and felt that I had a good understanding of the hardships facing prisoners, but this story helps to shed light on the issues as well as bond with the characters.

    The lessons that Piper learns while doing time are words of wisdom that are applicable to all of us. I enjoy reads like this because it makes me step back and review my choices. I can compare my views to those I have read and ask myself, Am I happy? Could I be doing something better? Am I taking enough risks?

    Sometimes perspective is more valuable than an edge of your seat story.

    If you just want a fun ride through the prison system, perhaps a Netflix subscription is right up your alley. ;)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goddess Hunt: A Goddess Test Novella, Book 1.5

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Aimée Carter
    • Narrated By Brittany Pressley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (48)

    A vacation in Greece sounds like the perfect way for Kate Winters to spend her first sabbatical away from the Underworld... until she gets caught up in an immortal feud going back millennia. Castor and Pollux have been on the run from Zeus' and Hades' wrath for centuries, hiding from the gods who hunt them. The last person they trust is Kate, the new Queen of the Underworld. Nevertheless, she is determined to help their cause. But when it comes to dealing with immortals, Kate still has a lot to learn....

    Natalia P. Valdes says: "meh"
    "meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    Um... Kate is getting a little tedious. This is a peek into Kate's 6 months off from Underworld duty, but nothing actually happens.

    They run into people who are fugitives and Kate invokes power that she doesn't possess yet to force Henry into letting these fugitives go. Oh and everything is left without any repercussions.

    She is off with a guy who is trying to be more than a friend, she knows it, and yet even though she is a newly wed, she is playing the whole "he is just a friend" thing. So either she is dumb, or selfish.

    I already bought book two... I guess i will see what happens in the autumn. :/

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4624)
    Performance
    (4266)
    Story
    (4280)

    A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie - magical, comforting, wise beyond her years - promised to protect him, no matter what.

    Dave says: "Oh, the Wondrous Ocean!"
    "Gaiman is the master of the written word."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this story, I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I read the last line I started the book over again. Yep, 2 readings in 2 days….skill! Ahem, I mean, it helps that I have the audiobook and Neil Gaiman reads to me as I push papers around my desk.

    When I read Coraline, I came into it thinking it was a story for children and I had that mode in my head. There was aspects of that story that were fun and exciting for a child, but when an adult reads it they are kind of freaked out.

    Ocean is a book meant for adults, so the darker aspects hit home in a different way. We have all been children. We have all been afraid of the dark or believed that there really were things that were magic. As adults we believe what we can see (or we are supposed to). The fact that the events touched both the adults in the story and the child made it especially frightening. You are lifted out of the story and begin to wonder, is it the imagination of a seven year old trying to cope with what his family is going through, or is this flea real? That uncertainty is what is so exciting about this book. The Hemstock women help keep the story from being too dark. Gaiman does an amazing job of using these women to balance the terror he has invoked with their warmth. Their farm becomes a symbol of refuge and comfort. The young narrator comes to them for help and in Letty he finds a protector.

    Letty protects our young narrator, but never explains why she does it. This point in the story begs the question: Was I worth it? I guess what I mean is that the narrator is an adult when we begin the story. He is not at the best place in his life and when these memories begin to rush to him it makes him evaluate if he was worth protecting. Let’s take it a step further. When we were children someone protected us. They did this because there was an expectation / hope of the persons we would become as adults. Have we met that expectation? Is that a bar that we should measure ourselves by? Or perhaps they had no motive and just wanted to make us feel safe.

    This is why I read Neil Gaiman’s books. I get so much more from them than an amazing story. I hope you pick up this novel and that you enjoy it as much as I have.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A Discovery of Witches

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Deborah Harkness
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9439)
    Performance
    (6945)
    Story
    (6987)

    Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library.

    Tim says: "True Blood PG13"
    "Wow..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The only thing more annoying than having to listen to someone describe the smell and taste of wine is having to read about it.

    30 minute wine tastings and listening to someone reading in the library day in and day out gets really boring.

    I enjoyed the first 5 hours of this book. It is really interesting and well written, but once the main characters begin dating it really drags down the story. It doesn't even have a proper ending. It really leaves the book wide open for the next installment, but if i had loved the story that may have been alright.

    Sorry to those who loved it, but i would rather imagine how delicious food is or how beautiful a sunset can be. Don't try and describe every nuance at length for hours on end.

    Narration:

    Wonderful job! Really saved the story at times.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Euan Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1162)
    Performance
    (1013)
    Story
    (1024)

    In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh went into a cornfield and shot himself. Or did he? Why would an artist at the height of his creative powers attempt to take his life... and then walk a mile to a doctor's house for help? Who was the crooked little "color man" Vincent had claimed was stalking him across France? And why had the painter recently become deathly afraid of a certain shade of blue? These are just a few of the questions confronting Vincent's friends who vow to discover the truth of van Gogh's untimely death.

    Melinda says: "Is Nothing is Sacre'?"
    "Sacred Blue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed the story Christopher Moore dreamed up. Bohemian Paris is one of the places i would love to time travel to. Can you imagine it? Painters and writers and can-can dancers drinking to the green fairy. What i love about Christopher Moore, is that he is extremely thorough with his research, look at Lamb.

    The actual storyline was just okay, its entertaining and keeps you interested, but it paled in comparison to the amazing world that Moore paints for the reader. You are transported to Paris at a time where some of the most renown painters are friends and you get to peek into their process. What makes them who they are as well as the women who act as muses for them.

    I would recommend this story for anyone who has even a small interest in art. Also, the summary makes this sounds like a detective story about the death of Van Gough. Yes, it is, but Van Gough's part is really short. His death is not really a motivating factor, but it is entertaining and has an interesting take on why he cut off his own earlobe.

    The narration:

    Euan Morton does a great job with the different characters. He was able to distinguish all the men and made the women's voices believable. I like it when the narrator doesn't outshine or hinder the story. Morton did a great job.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Fault in Our Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John Green
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10324)
    Performance
    (9478)
    Story
    (9532)

    Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

    FanB14 says: "Sad Premise, Fantastic Story"
    "Okay i cannot stress how GRAND this book is!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I absolutely loved this story. I am not the kind of person who cries at movies or goes awww during romantic moments, but this book is different. I laughed out loud at parts and i did cry a bit... only a few tears, but for me that is huge!

    John Green outdid himself with this unbelievably touching story. The characters are amazing individuals who you like immediately. You enter a world where the character's problems are on such a different level that it feels almost foreign and you can lose yourself in it.

    I don't want to drone on over every detail because that will ruin its twists and turns for all who read this review so i will keep it brief.

    This story reminds us to be present in life and appreciate the things we take for granted. Please read this book, you will absolutely fall in love with it. You will feel for these characters and perhaps see life from a new perspective. Thanks to this story my life, "is a roller coaster that only goes up...." my friends.

    Narrator: Did a great job with both male and female voices. The accents sounded authentic. A perfect choice for this book.

    24 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • The Clockwork Prince: The Infernal Devices, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Cassandra Clare
    • Narrated By Ed Westwick, Heather Lind
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1593)
    Performance
    (1428)
    Story
    (1437)

    In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street - and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends. The special Collector’s First Edition will include a never-before-seen letter from Will to his family!

    Aimee says: "Beautifully Written."
    "Amazing Narration for this adventure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I absolutely loved this installment. I had been a big fan of the Mortal Instruments series. Infernal Devices has proved even better! I love the steam punk influence to this familiar story. The mixture of shadow hunters and Victorian manners work really well.

    This book really developed the Jem, Tessa, Will triangle. I couldn't settle on who i want her to end up with and i loved every second. Will's backstory is revealed and makes you fall for him even more.

    The Narrators really made this story for me!

    There is a scene between Will and Tessa towards the end of the book where Ed Westwick deserves some sort of award! I am not sure if it is the words or the way he performed it, but this book has stuck with me the past few days.

    Worth a credit! You will not be disappointed.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Iron Crowned: Dark Swan, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Richelle Mead
    • Narrated By Jennifer Van Dyck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (522)
    Performance
    (361)
    Story
    (359)

    New York Times best-selling author Richelle Mead takes readers back to the Otherworld, an embattled realm mystically entwined with our world--and ruled by one woman's dangerous choice. Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham is the best at banishing entities trespassing in the mortal realm. But as the Thorn Land's queen, she's fast running out of ways to end the brutal war devastating her kingdom. Her only hope: the Iron Crown, a legendary object even the most powerful gentry fear.

    Cheryl says: "Sorry I used my last credit this month on this one"
    "Action packed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    War, quests, and prophecies oh my! This book keeps you on your toes. The balance between worlds has really been tipped to the other world in this book, but you feel comfortable. Euginie's character is coming to grips with her gentry side and i feel like we're getting to know storm king though her new outlooks. Jasmine is becoming a bigger part of her sister's life and helping to strengthen that bond with the gentry side.

    Her love life is an absolute mess, but what kind of book would it be if there weren't any romantic drama!

    Narrator: Great job. I love her performance with each character.

    I can't wait for the next book to come out, I am officially hooked. Oh, and the explicit nature of the last books feels a bit toned down in this one. Not by much, but it is toned down.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thorn Queen: Dark Swan, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Richelle Mead
    • Narrated By Jennifer Van Dyck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (572)
    Performance
    (366)
    Story
    (368)

    Eugenie Markham is a shaman for hire, paid to bind and banish creatures from the Otherworld. But after her last battle, she s also become queen of the Thorn Land. It's hardly an envious life, not with her kingdom in tatters, her love life in chaos, and Eugenie eager to avoid the prophecy about her firstborn destroying mankind. And now young girls are disappearing from the Otherworld, and no one--except Eugenie--seems willing to find out why.

    Dharma says: "Absolute power corrupts absolutely"
    "No sophomore slump here!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Eugenie has really grown on me in this book.The other world is becoming a bigger part in Eugenie's life and exploring it is just as enjoyable as the storyline. I love that the character has held true to the person she was in the first book. She cares about the human world, but still does her best to keep the human world safe (and take care of the people in her life).

    Kiyo and Dorian are amazing characters, both flawed and strong in their own ways. I really like the flaws in male leads because it keeps you guessing. Who will she end up with? Who is a better choice? What are they hiding? etc.

    This series is still a bit sexually explicit for my taste, but the story is so intriguing that i can sit through the uncomfortable parts. This book does have a large chunk of uncomfortable parts involving rape, so i would take that into consideration before buying it.

    Narrator: As always Jennifer Van Dyck did an amazing job.

    On to book 3, spend that credit!



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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