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Holly Booms Walsh

audiobook addict

Madison, WI, United States | Member Since 2011

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 57 ratings
  • 251 titles in library
  • 54 purchased in 2014
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  • The Raven Boys

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Maggie Stiefvater
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (569)
    Performance
    (521)
    Story
    (521)

    It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them - not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain.

    C. ALLINGER says: "Stiefvater does it again!"
    "Magical realism/boarding school coming of age"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is kissing cousins to The Magicians series by Lev Grossman and The Secret History by Donna Tartt, both of which I particularly enjoy. It is a lovely mix of the isolation/coming of age story that boarding school stories often lend themselves to, and a sort of mythological, almost scientific magical realism. In The Raven Boys, the "magic" involves psychic premonition (Blue comes from an entire family of psychics), a very unusual ghost story, and the physical search for a lay line energy source which may conceal the resting place of an ancient Welsh king. This book is erudite, dense, and captivating. It's surprisingly emotional, tackling topics like the parent/child relationship and loyalty among friends. It has a quiet, almost grotesque or Gothic feel to it, yet it feels modern and uses clear prose rather than emotive, flowery language. It is similar to Stiefvater's other book The Scorpio Races in this spare, almost bleak, matter-of-fact style. Luckily, it does not repeat the faults of her Shiver series (which I found to be trite, cliched, and sappy) despite the somewhat tired "poor little rich boy" character trope that she indulges in here. I'm so happy this is the beginning of a series, and look very much forward to the next installment.

    I liked Will Patton's delivery. I wasn't sure since his voice is nothing like an 18 year old rich boy's but he provided a voice that sounds reasonable and sober even when fantastical magical events are occurring and helps you "believe" the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Greyhound

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Steffan Piper
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (5)

    Sebastien Ranes’s single mom and her feckless boyfriend can’t be bothered to take care of a stuttering 12-year-old. Banished to live with his grandmother on the far side of the country, the boy can barely understand a bus schedule when he gets dumped at the Greyhound station in Stockton, California. Given $35 and a one-way ticket to Altoona, Pennsylvania, Sebastien must cross the country - alone, without a clue how to fend for himself. Filled with youthful anger and naïveté, Sebastien heads out into the "Morning in America" of Ronald Reagan’s 1980s.

    Pennalie says: "perfect narration for an almost perfect story"
    "roadtrip coming of age story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an enjoyable tale! 11 year old oddball Sebastien is put on a Greyhound train by his no-account mother to go across the country alone to live with his grandparents. On the way he meets Marcus, a thirty-something black man returning home after a prison sentence, who acts as a sort of father figure and protects him on his journey. Lots of strange things happen on the journey, and they become true friends, each other's experiences and perspective enriching the other's in their three days together. It's a little bit sad, often funny, and overall heartwarming. Set in the late 70's, complete with cassette tapes and payphones.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Night Broken: Mercy Thompson, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Patricia Briggs
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1054)
    Performance
    (983)
    Story
    (983)

    An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from a stalker. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right. Soon her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the furthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get him, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.

    Hassan says: "Good Addition!!"
    "Adam is weak; new Big Bad is a reach"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was definitely not my favorite mercy Thompson novel. I loved the Coyote bits and Gary Laughingdog but the Christy storyline irked me. Mercy was a bit of a Mary Sue being so patient with Christy, and Adam was appallingly insensitive and weak inthe face of Christy's manipulations. He never stood up for Mercy or Jessie and allowed Christy to play housewife and trick him into being nostalgic with her in front of the pack and Mercy. He was romantic in private with Mercy but not much of an Alpha when Christy was there. I also thought that the Volcano God was a bit of an improbable stretch for a new bad guy, though the resulting revelations about Stefan and Tad were interesting and hopefully will be featured in upcoming books. I hope Briggs keeps the action closer to home from now on instead of bringing new mythologies to the TriCities.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Burn: An Anna Pigeon Mystery, Book 16

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Nevada Barr
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (323)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (120)

    Anna Pigeon, a Ranger with the National Park Service, is on administrative leave from her job as she recovers from the traumas of the past couple of months – while the physical wounds have healed, the emotional ones are still healing. With her new husband busy and back at work, Anna decides to go to stay with an old friend from the Park Service, Geneva, who works as a singer at the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park.

    Ilah says: "Bring other narrator back!!!!"
    "disappointing and haunting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hated the new narrator - bring Barbara Rosenblatt back!

    The subject matter of this book - child prostitution with graphic description - was far too much for me to handle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mountain Echoes: The Walker Papers, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By C. E. Murphy
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (183)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (171)

    Joanne Walker has survived an encounter with the Master at great personal cost, but now her father is missing - stolen from the timeline. She must finally return to North Carolina to find him - and to meet Aidan, the son she left behind long ago. That would be enough for any shaman to face, but Joanne's beloved Appalachians are being torn apart by an evil reaching forward from the distant past. Anything that gets in its way becomes tainted - or worse. And Aidan has gotten in the way.

    Sho Sunaga says: "Finally MORRISON!"
    "big emotional payoff for readers of the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a four star book for readers who have been following the series. While it has all the typical earmarks of the series: solid writing, fast plotting, good characterizations, snappy banter, and a particularly great magic system, this particular book's big payoff is in the resolution of Joanne's family background. She faces her past figuratively and literally as she has to come home to the Cherokee reservation that she spent her teenage years on. She discovered her mother's story in the last book, and in this book she learns her history on her father's side and faces the child she gave up for adoption. The book also has a lot of Morrison and their romance, which goes from budding to fully-realized. There is a lot of humor in the book as well as battle against evil and emotional reunions. I enjoyed this one mightily. The Cherokee history and lore was interesting as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Altered Destiny

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Shawna Thomas
    • Narrated By Uma Incrocci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (56)

    Selia has run her family's tavern since she was 15 and can hunt and fight as the equal of any male. When she rescues a badly wounded man and nurses him back to health, she has no idea she's about to change not only her life, but also the destinies of two peoples….

    Racheal says: "Wow! It was perfect!"
    "engaging YA "vampire" tale in high fantasy setting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A satisfying twist on the vampire tale. The setting is what I'd call "high fantasy" - horses, swords, castles, inns, tankards of ale, etc. The vampires in question are the Svistra, a race that lives alongside humans geographically, and a war is in progress over the disputed lands. The story is more of a civil war between hated enemies than human versus monster or supernatural beast, as the Svistra are intelligent and not so gifted that they are unbeatable. I liked the main character Selia. She was practical, stubborn, plucky, and moral but not overly gorgeous, sexy, or emotional. She stands up for herself and those she cares about, buckles on a sword, and takes care of business. While there is some cliche in her finding and nursing the one Svistra "prince" that would try to stop war with the humans and falling in love with him despite the racial taboos, the storyline was handled in a mostly believable and deft way. The romance was mostly understated and PG-13. There is violence and blood in the battle scenes, but in a fantasy way not a horror way. The book seemed YA age appropriate, and was a welcome relief from the overt emotional angst of most YA romances. It works as a romance as well as a parable of racial intolerance. It was also satisfying in that it wrapped up the story in one book without leaving you looking for the next book in a series. This book reminded me of Clay & Susan Griffith's Vampire Empire series and Neil Gaiman's Stardust. The narration was well paced and well edited.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4244)
    Performance
    (3879)
    Story
    (3879)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "dense, melancholy, lyrical, breathtaking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's hard to imagine giving a five star review to a book in which you don't really like the main character. Tartt's novel is dense, painstakingly detailed, and rich. After a tragic beginning, Theo is a lost soul with a secret. He is lonely, melancholy, private, and emotional. The characters around him are all lost or broken in one way or another. There are moments of joy in the novel, particularly in the loving descriptions of the New York City that is so dear to Theo (cabs, museums, doormen, hotels, Central Park). The book's mood shifts through all the aspects of melancholy - from the sadness of grief, the paralysis of fear, the ennui of being young and aimless, the frisson of tension, the dissatisfaction of unfufilling relationships, the quiet calm of fleeting contentment, and the ache of unrequited love. All states are so beautifully shown to us in description and tone,and their strength makes the lovable parts of the characters and plot shine so brightly in comparison. The novel is very wordy, with passages of philosophical observation and introspection that sometimes get tedious.

    The novel is powerful and leaves the reader in a reverie. The skill of the author is breathtaking. You end the book feeling as though she has exposed deep parts of herself to you in writing this novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ken Ilgunas
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (45)

    The story of a student who went to extraordinary lengths - including living in a van on a campus parking lot - to complete his education without sacrificing his financial future. In a frank and self-deprecating voice, memoirist Ken Ilgunas writes about the existential terror of graduating from college with $32,000 in student debt. Inspired by Thoreau, Ilgunas set himself a mission: get out of debt as soon as humanly possible. To that end, he undertook an extraordinary three-year transcontinental journey.

    matthew says: "A delightful foray into simple freedom"
    "the author had little wisdom to share"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not a guide to living frugally (as I had hoped), this is the memoir of a college student that awakens to his plight of being heavily indebted for student loans but with little tolerance for office jobs. Ken is engaging and interesting but definitely a bit unusual. The length he goes to to get solitary jobs in the great outdoors and in Alaska to pay off his debt show a penchant for isolation and rigid self-control. He talks of living a simpler life but most of us are not willing to live in such isolation, eating only subsistence foods (peanut butter spaghetti stew, anyone?), living without necessities like a winter coat or heat in winter. Ken gets awfully preachy and overly philosophical in between anecdotes, to the point where it sounds like he is trying elevate his choices to a greater philosophical meaning that I am not sure even Ken believes. It loses its edge of truth.

    Interesting, sometimes tedious, offbeat memoir, but I don't think his lessons will last in my mind other than his valid warning about not accruing mindless debt.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Divine Misfortune

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (323)
    Performance
    (263)
    Story
    (268)

    Teri and Phil had never needed their own personal god. But when Phil is passed up for a promotion - again - it's time to take matters into their own hands. And look online. Choosing a god isn't as simple as you would think. There are too many choices; and they often have very hefty prices for their eternal devotion: blood, money, sacrifices, and vows of chastity. But then they find Luka, raccoon god of prosperity. All he wants is a small cut of their good fortune. Oh - and to crash on their couch for a few days.

    Cassandra says: "Office Space rewritten by Disney"
    "funny, offbeat, irreverent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very funny urban fantasy in which choosing a religion is done like online dating, and the pantheon of gods are revealed to be just as imperfect, petty, and unique as humans. Fans of fiction like John Scalzi or Tim Robbins' work will enjoy this irreverent romp of a story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bean Trees

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By C. J. Critt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (144)

    Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity of putting down roots.

    Nancy says: "Barbara, can we have a "re-do?""
    "a dear favorite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have long been a fan of the story of Taylor and Turtle Greer and their search for family (this book and Pigs In Heaven, the sequel). I read these in hard copy when I was living abroad, and they made me so nostalgic for home that I cried. They may not be as grand and sweeping a tale as The Poisonwood Bible, but they feel true and real in a tangible way. Taylor is matter of fact, practical, insecure, and wryly funny. I feel a deep connection to her. I thought CJ Critt's narration was perfect for Taylor (despite the lack of a Southern accent) as her tone is perfectly humble, heartfelt, and sarcastic. These books are a great coming of age story and I'll re-listen many more times in my life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crescendo

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Deborah J Ledford
    • Narrated By Christina Cox
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    As the only female Native American officer on the Bryson City, North Carolina police force, Inola Walela, must always play her A game. Allbets are off when during a routine traffic stop the passenger insists her sonhas been kidnapped but is struck by a car before Inola can glean any hardfacts. An altercation ensues and Inola's partner is felled by a bullet-possiblyfrom her gun.

    Tim says: "Cut Through the Chase"
    "Great cop loses all her good sense under pressure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved the cast of characters: native American cop with intimacy issues and a chip on her shoulder, her Wise Woman grandmother, black Sheriff that acts as voice of reason, eager young cub of a rookie that rides with the cop, even a reformed computer hacker. Nice details about the North Carolina setting and good setup for the mystery with a mother on the run with her young son from a dangerous father trying to grab the kid. The book opens with a bang - big action. Then inexplicably, the lady cop that supposedly gets all the awards for service and bravery completely loses all sense. She goes against her commanding officer's orders, jeopardizes the investigation, steals evidence from the crime scene, endangers her grandmother, bonds with a obviously untrustworthy ladykiller, and urges her friend to violate his parole. She completely stops communicating witht he few people she trusts, one of my pet peeves in mysteries. I got very exasperated with Inola midway through the book, as her actions made me doubt what he writer had previously told me about her. Luckily, once the plot gets back on track and it is about catching the bad guy, the action is tight and the ending satisfactory. I just wish that the writer hadn't cheapened a potentially great character by turning her into the cliche of a hysterical woman for most of the book.

    Nice narration by Christina Cox.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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