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Yolanda S. Bean

Chicago, IL | Member Since 2013

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 20 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2014
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  • The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Bruce D. Perry, Maia Szalavitz
    • Narrated By Danny Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (400)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (351)

    What happens when a young child is traumatized? How does terror affect a child's mind---and how can that mind recover? Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses to their own parents' murders, children raised in closets and cages, the Branch Davidian children, and victims of family violence. In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, he tells their stories of trauma and transformation.

    Marilyn says: "Changed a Sixth-Grade Teacher's Life"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This nonfiction audiobook is definitely an intriguing listen. The author, a prominent child psychologist, reflects upon his more high profile and memorable cases. Though Perry uses pseudonyms, each case history rings with authenticity, interspersed with the science and theories of the mind. Perry discusses a wide range of disorders and scenarios of the worst types of neglect. Sexual abuse, outright neglect, Munchausen By Proxy, children of the Branch Davidians, orphans from Eastern Europe and even juvenile delinquents all fall into this fascinating book.

    The narrator’s voice convincingly sounds like the author. Although, and perhaps this isn’t as apparent if reading it silently, the author’s own hubris begins to slip through as he displays pride in his own genius and revolutionary ideas in treating these troubled children. And though this pride is certainly justifiable in the successes recounted here, it makes the book slightly off-putting at times. And though the book is certainly sad, only focusing on successful cases mitigates the book’s overall depressing nature, though it does cast the author in an occasionally negative light. It’s an interesting listen though.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Escape Artist

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Diane Chamberlain
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Susanna Miller loses custody of her 11-month-old son, Tyler, but rather than turning the little boy over to her ex-husband and his new wife, she goes on the run. She dyes her hair, changes her name and escapes from Boulder, Colorado, leaving behind everyone she knows, including Linc Sebastian, the man who has been her best friend since childhood and who knows her better than anyone. Susanna lands in Annapolis, Maryland, alone, frightened, and always looking over her shoulder for someone who might recognize her. Just as she's beginning to feel safe in her new surroundings, she stumbles across information that could save the lives of many people....

    Yolanda S. Bean says: "Not My Favorite of Hers"
    "Not My Favorite of Hers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have truly enjoyed several of Chamberlain’s other books - both in print and in audio. This one, unfortunately, is far from my favorite of her work. Though Chamberlain’s books all have a certain Lifetime-movie-quality, this one feels more like a re-run... the story feels overly familiar and even the subplots fail to add an unexpected element (despite the bombings, even!). The performer narrates the audio version has a smooth voice, and though she handles the male characters well, the timbre she uses for Lucy in particular is almost painfully brash. It certainly makes me thankful that she is such a relatively minor character!

    Originally published in 1997, this book certainly feels a bit dated listening to it now. Particularly in the way that the research is handled, and how many different factors would change in today’s world were the same story to be told. The Internet really has changed daily lives! The early computer technology that is mentioned here will certainly make modern readers reminisce over their own memories.

    But, ultimately, these are not Chamberlain’s best characters. Suzanne/Kim is not easily likable and the other characters, like Peggy, just don’t feel as realistic or complex as other characters in Chamberlain’s other novels. The pacing drags in the middle, and unlike other audiobooks that I have listened to by Chamberlain, I never once found myself exploiting every opportunity to listen. I am still a big fan of Chamberlain, but this one just feels more bland by comparison.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Father

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Diane Chamberlain
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Arielle DeLisle, Emily Durante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (36)

    Four years ago, 19-year-old Travis Brown made a choice: to raise his newborn daughter on his own. While most of his friends were out partying and meeting girls, Travis was at home, changing diapers and worrying about keeping food on the table. But he's never regretted his decision. Bella is the light of his life. The reason behind every move he makes. And so far, she is fed. Cared for. Safe. But when Travis loses his construction job and his home, the security he's worked so hard to create for Bella begins to crumble....

    Yolanda S. Bean says: "Another Great Book By Chamberlain!"
    "Another Great Book By Chamberlain!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just love Chamberlain’s books! She is a wonderful writer who masterfully creates characters that tug on a reader’s (and in this case, listener’s) heartstrings. And her plots also hook in her audience so tightly that I set aside my usual audibook-listening routine of my commute and have instead been illicitly listening at work and even using headphones at home! The three narrators here each have distinctive voices and the performers all do a wonderful job. The North Carolina accents add to the authenticity of the characters. And though the plot ultimately plays out in a predictable conclusion, I don’t think that any other ending would have been satisfying and any predictability in no way diminishes the storyline.

    Really, the only thing that nagged at me throughout the story is a rather minor detail. A house fire sets the entire book in motion and there is not a single mention of insurance... A fire is almost entirely covered, so no mention of it all sticks out a bit. But, without the fire, Tyler’s story would not have been as dramatic - or as engrossing - but I wish that at least a mention of how the homeowner’s insurance was overdue or something had been made... But, really, I am looking forward to both reading and listening to more of Chamberlain’s books. She is a talented author and this is a very well-performed audiobook!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Midwife's Confession

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Diane Chamberlain
    • Narrated By Angela Dawe, Cassandra Campbell, Abby Craden, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (197)
    Performance
    (178)
    Story
    (179)

    Dear Anna, What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry. The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle - her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family - described a woman who embraced life. Yet there was so much they didn't know. With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives.

    Kathryn says: "Such a Soap Opera"
    "Engrossing!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Though I have read a few of Chamberlain’s other books, this is the first audiobook of hers that I have listened to and I love it! It’s a completely absorbing story and one that makes me sneak in listening to it at every opportunity - not just in the car like I usually do. It’s an engrossing plot with characters that it is impossible not to sympathize with. It reels you in from the very first chapter. With a variety of narrators (five in all), the performers do a wonderful job of using their voices to bring these characters to life. The plot - full of secrets, twists and turns - contains some expected paths and some surprises, too.

    This family drama reminds me a bit of a Lifetime movie in some ways as the sheer amount of drama continues to amplify throughout the entire book. And with Chamberlain’s penchant for cliffhangers, the book is hard to turn away from. The story ranges through time and each character feels distinct, but still so relatable - even through some terrible choices. In some ways, Chamberlain’s books remind me of Jodi Picoult’s - though without the set formula. Chamberlain is very talented and I look forward to reading - and listening - to more of her work!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods
    • Narrated By Fred Sanders
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (66)

    Brian Hare, dog researcher, evolutionary anthropologist, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, and Vanessa Woods offer revolutionary new insights into dog intelligence and the interior lives of our smartest pets. In the past decade, we have learned more about how dogs think than in the last century. Breakthroughs in cognitive science, pioneered by Brian Hare, have proven dogs have a kind of genius for getting along with people that is unique in the animal kingdom.

    Just says: "Barking Up The Wrong Tree"
    "Absolutely Fascinating!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This audiobook was both a fascinating and fun listen! It was definitely the highlight of my commute - and brightened some household chores as well! I first encountered Hare’s studies in a magazine article and later in a documentary special (on PBS, I think). And though there was more context into the studies, there wasn’t quite as much detail and new information as I had hoped for. Despite some of this overlap, though, this was still a very interesting listen. The authors offered more of a historical perspective and also studies that showed conflicting results. Though the author’s obvious affection for dogs might seem like it would obviously skew the results, their devotion to the scientific method and maintaining genuine objectivity was still quite evident.

    Amongst the clear descriptions of experiments, the authors offered anecdotes and examples of dog genius outside of the lab. I especially enjoyed the section of speculation on the true history of the domestication of the wolf and development of the dog. The conversational style worked well in the audio format, and I sincerely hope that the authors continue to publish their findings in this mainstream medium. While the narrator was not the most dynamic, his voice worked well for this non-fiction topic. A physical format, though, would lend itself better as a stepping stone for further independent research, so I will be keeping an eye out for the physical format as well. All in all, though, this was a great listen and I will continue to follow their research into dog-nition.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Neon Rain: A Dave Robicheaux Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2915)
    Performance
    (1728)
    Story
    (1722)

    New York Times best-selling author James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels began with this first hard-hitting entry in the series. In The Neon Rain, Detective Robicheaux fishes a prostitute's corpse from a New Orleans bayou and finds that no one, not even the law, cares about a dead hooker.

    S. Sand says: "The perfect combination of author and narrator"
    "Highlights New Orleans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first became curious about Burke’s books after reading his daughter’s mystery novel, If You Were Here, last May. Though I don’t usually listen to mysteries, I decided to give this one a try - and I am glad that I did! The narrator does a wonderful job of bringing Dave Robicheaux to life (and I was even more surprised to recognize the performer’s voice while flipping through channels - he played a DA in a made-for-TV movie!). The narrator brings the other characters - and their regional accents - to life quite well. And if the remainder of the series (nineteen more books!) were available in unabridged versions by this same narrator, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase the rest in this format! That is how wonderful the performance is!

    As for the storyline itself, the plot holds some big surprises, but the real strength of the novel lies in the way it captures New Orleans and its surrounds. The ending makes me curious to explore how this has spawned such a long-lived series as it feels quite complete. And though initially published in 1987, there is still something very modern about the book (though, naturally, there are hints to its time period in the lack of cell phones, some crime scene tech, etc). I am looking forward to following this series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War

    • ABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, and others
    Overall
    (2681)
    Performance
    (2534)
    Story
    (2539)

    World War Z: The Complete Edition is a new recording of Max Brooks’ best-selling novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, featuring 21 additional Hollywood A-list actors and sci-fi fan favorites performing stories not included in the original edition. New narrators include Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, Spiderman star Alfred Molina, The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, rapper Common, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg, and members of the casts of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and more!

    Kim Venatries says: "A Good Story with an All Star Cast but ABRIDGED"
    "Riveting!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This audiobook is definitely the most star-studded one that I have ever listened to! From Martin Scorsese to F. Murray Abraham, each voice in this oral history sounds familiar - and in a way, it is a bit distracting - especially while driving and trying to listen and look up online just who’s voice is speaking. But, once the mystery of the identity is solved (some of the voices are instantly recognizable like Carl Reiner and Alan Alda), though it is easy to become absorbed in this history of the zombie apocalypse.

    I have been hearing good things about this book for a long time - but though I own a printed copy, I am actually really glad that I listened to it first! It is such a fun experience to listen to this surprisingly global view on the history of the war of the zombies. Brooks offers a surprisingly full story. It’s a moving story in parts (the dog chapter really made me cry!) and is completely riveting. And because of the strength of the performances, this is one audiobook that I imagine that I will listen to again. Zombies may not be my favorite subgenre, but this is one of the better zombie books that I have experienced!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beauty Queens

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Libba Bray
    • Narrated By Libba Bray
    Overall
    (284)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (247)

    The 50 contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

    Vanessa says: "No one left unscathed"
    "Not What I Expected..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This audiobook left me with some mixed feelings. But, in regards to the performance, the author herself reads the book aloud in a wonderful manner. She has a lovely and lively reading voice and the accents all sound quite convincing - not only in just keeping the Miss Teen Dream contestants apart, but also in the accents of Ladybird Hope, the Bodacious Babes British pirates and even a crazed dictator. On this level it is an entertaining and lively and well-performed listen with special effects at just the right parts to augment the fun. And this Audible edition concludes with a bonus interview of the author which offers insight into Bray’s motivations and inspirations for telling this story. Actually, the interview contains more emotional depth than the entire novel that precedes it.

    It’s not that I disliked the book - it’s a campy, fun idea for a novel that works well in engaging readers from the very beginning. A plane, full of beauty pageant contestants, crashes and maroons the surviving girls on what at first appears to be a deserted island. Despite the storyline, the book is less Lord of the Flies and more Gilligan’s Island. Not all 50 contestants make it, but it’s a sizable enough crowd that there are still major and minor characters (poor Miss New Mexico runs around the whole novel with her only remarkable trait the airplane tray that is lodged in her forehead) but with the varying accents it is quite easy to keep them all straight.

    The book is set in a vaguely dystopian future where all is run by The Corporation. This drives the entire plot and also provides ample fodder for the satire (Bray puts her past experience in advertising to hilarious use here). Unfortunately, the soapboxing that comes with all the satire goes beyond mocking The Corporation. As almost (sorry, Miss New Mexico) each girl begins to be developed each one deals with a different key issue - being Indian, black, gay, transgendered, intellectual, ditzy, deaf, slutty. It’s a lot to cram in one book - and ultimately, it leaves none of their struggles feeling particularly genuine. Plus, despite some references to diets, makeup, waxing, at the end of the day, they are all still beauty queens so body image - a topic that I fully expected to be beaten over the head with - isn’t really addressed at all. When mixed in with the hunky pirates, utterly ridiculous plot and by the tenth hour, I was just anxious for the book to be over. I wish that it had been more tightly edited, less politically motivated. It had some very fun moments, though, some genuinely funny moments, but it just wasn’t the book I had hoped for - especially considering the rather shallow “happily every after” epilogue that wraps up the novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2085)
    Performance
    (1642)
    Story
    (1641)

    The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues.

    Robert says: "Interesting but wandering"
    "Scattered, But Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This audiobook is read aloud by the author himself, which I think adds quite a lot to it. As Ronson navigates madness - focusing primarily on psychopaths - he manages to include a surprising amount of humour, as well as his own varied emotions along the path of his investigation. He meets with a wide range of individuals as part of his research, and it is perhaps this wide scope that makes this both entertaining, but a bit scattered to listen to. There is an attempt to pull together the entire book in the mystery of a strange novel mailed to an international group of recipients (Being or Nothingness), but as a framework it really fails to support the meat of the novel - psychopathy.

    From Scientologists to psychiatrists to psychopaths both imprisoned and free, Ronson collects a range of thoughts and opinions on the realms of mental illness. The entire industry from facilities, to patients, to doctors are tied in, The book moves along at a fast pace and it is genuinely impossible to predict what avenue Ronson will investigate next. With a narrower focus, the book would feel a lot more cohesive, but in this manner there are plenty of thought-provoking and fascinating ideas presented. All in all, it definitely made my commute a more interesting one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Scott Aiello
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1058)
    Performance
    (983)
    Story
    (985)

    Emperor Mollusk. Intergalactic Menace. Destroyer of Worlds. Conqueror of Other Worlds. Mad Genius. Ex-Warlord of Earth. Not bad for a guy without a spine. But what's a villain to do after he's done... everything. With no new ambitions, he's happy to pitch in and solve the energy crisis or repel aliens invaders should the need arise, but if he had his way, he'd prefer to be left alone to explore the boundaries of dangerous science. Just as a hobby, of course. Retirement isn't easy though.

    Kat Hooper says: "Hilariously wacky!"
    "Tons of Fun!"
    Overall
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    Story

    This audiobook is, quite simply, a ton of fun! I can hardly imagine actually reading it - that is just how strong of a performance Scott Aiello, the narrator, gives! Like Martinez’s other novels, this is a rather mad-cap adventure full of hilarity, witty humour and some quite likable - not to mention unforgettable - characters. The novel is set primarily on Earth (or Terra as it is referred to here) and seems inspired by 1950s-60s type space dramas. The titular character, Emperor Mollusk, hails from Neptune (though they don’t care for him much back there). Mollusk has conquered Terra (without a single gunshot fired!), but has retired from the world-conquering business after some recent unpleasantness with Saturn.

    When a Venutian warrior with a grudge attempts to take Mollusk under protective custody (to later try him for his crimes committed on Venus), she ends up falling in with Mollusk and his faithful ultra-pede (a centipede from Hell) as they track down the assassination plot to its perpetrator. Their adventures range from Atlantis, a Lost World type island in the Bermuda triangle, a visit to the moon and some epic battles with the radioactive brain of Madame Curie. The tale is filled with adventure, excitement and plenty of laughs.

    The performance, though, really sets the book apart. The voices Aiello creates for each character are wonderful and quite distinct. He makes Mollusk sound like a cross between the Dread Pirate Roberts and Stewie Griffin. The Brain also sounds quite like Vizzini and there are many other convincing and entertaining voices throughout. Not only will I continue to follow Martinez’s work, but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this very talented narrator as well!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Among Others

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jo Walton
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (687)
    Performance
    (594)
    Story
    (593)

    Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

    Eoin says: "Subtle Character Piece"
    "Meandering"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Unfortunately, this audiobook was not my favorite - which perhaps explains why it was so easy to take a long break from listening to it! It is not a bad book, really, but the author chose to have this coming-of-age-story be relayed through journal entries. I think it would have perhaps been more successful in print version. Though I originally though that the accent would add to the fun of this, the narrator’s voice can be a bit distracting in the performance with some accents overly emphasized. What I like the most about the book is the obvious passion the journaler, Mor, has for reading - particularly Science Fiction novels. Though I have read quite a bit in this genre as well, this book includes her reactions to many titles that I had never even heard of! In fact, the majority of the book seems to be an outlet for discussion on SF literature - with a few classics sprinkled in. School, Mor’s fractured family life, romance and bits of magic are all rather sidelined by recountings of plots, characters, authors and a consistent dislike of maths. The climax feels rather rushed and genuinely unsatisfying - nor does it seem to mesh with the preceding pages (hours listening). Maybe it’s just that Walton too accurately captured a fifteen year old and that is why I never quite connected with the narrator...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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