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Julie

YALitTeacher

United States | Member Since 2009

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 35 ratings
  • 318 titles in library
  • 34 purchased in 2014
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  • My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Steve Kluger
    • Narrated By Eileen Stevens, Ben Rameaka, Jeremy Beck
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    Classmates T.C., Augie, and Alejandra each have different passions: the Red Sox, musical theater, and acting. They uproariously combine in friendship, love, and a quest to make a special addition to Manzanar, the famed Japanese internment site. Throw in a little Mary Poppins, and things really turn upside-down!

    Julie says: "Encore! Encore!"
    "Encore! Encore!"
    Overall

    I could not have asked for a more exciting time listening to an audiobook. A story written from multiple characters points of view in multiple formats - email, instant messaging, playbills, journals, even sign language. Who knew that the narrators could pull off such an amazing feat, and yet they do. Bravo and brava. It definitely helps that Kluger has written a story that wins over the high school student reader as well as the high school English teacher-reader as well as the YAL junkies (re: me) alike. I want more of the same style because it was a fun ride with characters I could connect to and stories that brought back fun memories of high school. THANKS!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Grasshopper Jungle

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Andrew Smith
    • Narrated By Philip Church
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend, Robby, have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things. This is the truth. This is history. It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it. You know what I mean. Funny, intense, complex, and brave, Grasshopper Jungle brilliantly weaves together everything from testicle-dissolving genetically modified corn to the struggles of recession-era, small-town America in this groundbreaking coming-of-age stunner.

    Julie says: "What just happened?"
    "What just happened?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Be prepared for a horny teenage boy in this apocalyptic-coming-of-age story where our protagonist, Austin, is a history obsessed boy who is in love with his girlfriend and his best friend. Read the book description, it will tell you better. What I will tell you is this: 1) Read this book. Don't think about it, just do it. Cursing give you the willies? Get over it and read this book. 2) Be prepared for repetition - these are teenagers and they hear things in their heads over and over... and we're just along for the ride. 3) Laugh. Gasp. Think. and 4) Read everything else by Andrew Smith, just so you will know he's a fabulous author, but this book is so far above everything else - it's almost a little daunting.

    My only drawback is listening to it - Philip Church has a pleasant voice, almost news-broadcaster-esque. It almost doesn't fit for this story, but at the end, I think I see why they chose him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Poe

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By J. Lincoln Fenn
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (65)

    It's Halloween, and life is grim for twenty-three-year-old Dimitri Petrov. It's the one-year anniversary of his parents' deaths, he's stuck on page one thousand of his Rasputin zombie novel, and he makes his living writing obituaries. But things turn from bleak to terrifying when Dimitri is assigned to cover a séance at the reputedly haunted Aspinwall Mansion. There, Dimitri meets Lisa, a punk-rock drummer he falls hard for. But just as he's about to ask her out, he unwittingly unleashes malevolent forces, throwing him into a deadly mystery.

    Julie says: "Not finished - but need to write this!"
    "Not finished - but need to write this!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not even finished with this story, but need to write a review because it's so freaking awesome! The story is an edge-of-your-seat kind of thing. I love the twists and turns. However, the Luke Daniels is rockin' his role as reader! Not every book works to have a voice-driven and enthusiastic reader, but Poe is a perfect fit. At one moment, you are laughing, the next, consumed in an intimate moment - all enhanced by a perfect fit reader. What a rush!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Diviners

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Libba Bray
    • Narrated By January LaVoy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (219)
    Performance
    (200)
    Story
    (200)

    Something dark and evil has awakened.... Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City - and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It's 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far.

    Amazon Customer says: "A delightful surprise."
    "Hooray for Libba Bray"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Libba Bray - where does this woman's imagination come from? From mad cows to beauty queens to the occult? The occult-based murders in this story almost made me stop the book, but maybe I am more easily scared by most. What kept me going were two things: 1) main character Evie O'Neill is the ultimate 1920's gal (way fun) and an amateur detective (love mysteries) and 2) narrator January LaVoy pulls you in with a wide array of character voices. The humor also had a little to do with reading this because while Libba Bray will probably tell you she is funny, I admit that she is right. Enjoy this creepy, humorous, historically cool story, but beware, while there is a very satisfying ending, this book is the first of a series/collection.... and now I have to wait.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Splendors and Glooms

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Laura Amy Schlitz
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz's gothic novel in the grand Victorian tradition, Spledors and Glooms, is set in London and centered around the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl, who goes missing. Two children realize it is their guardian, a Venetian-born puppeteer and magician, who has kidnapped her and used his dark powers to imprison her mind and body in the form of a puppet and strive to return her to human form.

    Julie says: "Yawn turned into a dropped jaw"
    "Yawn turned into a dropped jaw"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't sure about this story at first. A Victorian Era piece, really? But I needed to read at least part of this award winning book to better share it in a presentation on award-winning books. So I began and hummed along and then, boom, I was sucked in. I could not let go! Davina Porter as a narrator was a delight. Her voices and accents manifested a visual of characters I could not have done just reading the words off the page. That being said, this magical story of an evil puppeteer, a witch, and the three children thrown into a plot of corruption and dispair had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Laura Amy Schlitz proves to be a master storyteller.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Seraphina

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Rachel Hartman
    • Narrated By Mandy Williams, Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (269)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (242)

    Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered.

    Amazon Customer says: "Completely Inspiring Fantasy"
    "A story of acceptance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was mesmerized by this story! Hartman has created a fantastical world of humans and dragons that would do very well in a HISTORY classroom. Seriously! The trials and tribulations that groups such as Native Americans, African-Americans, and Hispanic Americans have faced - such as racism, segregation, and forced removal - blossom in this story. It was so touching yet so very relevant to what young people need to understand about what our country (US) has done to those who are "different" from the people in power. Beyond the social aspects, it was an intriguing story in itself. Highly recommended to readers of all ages.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Scorpio Races

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Maggie Stiefvater
    • Narrated By Steve West, Fiona Hardingham
    Overall
    (460)
    Performance
    (413)
    Story
    (422)

    With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world, where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff—with more than just their lives at stake should they lose.

    Staaj says: "Stiefvater at Her Best"
    "Not a horse book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I was young, in middle school especially, I read all types of animal books. Then I moved on. I almost did not choose this book because it had a horse on the front and my mind automatically went back to middle school. Two words changed my mind - Maggie Stiefvater. She does such an amazing job of telling stories in multiple voices and she does not disappoint here. Visually compelling - you will dream landscapes reminiscent of Ireland - heartbreakingly familiar families, and the excitement of racing on beings that would just as soon kill you. How can you not want to read it?

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Red Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Alice Hoffman
    • Narrated By Nancy Travis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (130)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (76)

    From the town’s founder, a brave young woman from England who has no fear of blizzards or bears, to the young man who runs away to New York City, the characters in The Red Garden are extraordinary and vivid: a young wounded Civil War soldier who is saved by a neighbor, a woman who meets a fiercely human historical character, a poet who falls in love with a blind man, a mysterious traveler who comes to town in the year when summer never arrives.

    Carol says: "pleasant but unfulfilled"
    "Unexpected story about a town"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I decided to purchase this book because of reviews and because I enjoy Alice Hoffman. During the first chapter, I thought, "here's a well-developed overview of the beginning of a town." I don't know what my real expectations were, because then I realized each chapter was it's own short story - which I avoid. But I kept going, I came to love the town of Blackwell, MA as a character, not a setting. The setting would be best described by time rather than place. Nancy Travis has a subtle way of narration, which is much appreciated with this story. Well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hold Me Closer Necromancer

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Lish McBride
    • Narrated By Jonathan Todd Ross, Chris Sorensen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (71)

    The riveting debut work from celebrated newcomer Lish McBride, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer drops a seemingly average boy into the adventure of a lifetime. Sam can’t complain about much, even if his job isn’t the most glamorous one around. But his world gets a whole lot more complicated when he crosses paths with Douglas, a necromancer who gets paid to raise the dead. Douglas thinks Sam might have the right touch for necromancing, and when this turns out to be all too true, Sam faces unimaginable dangers.

    Amazon Customer says: "I will love you all night long..."
    "My Life Would Suck Without You"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sing the title of this book and you will taste a small bite of Lish McBride's humor. This book has it all - necromancers, vampires, werewolves, witches, even an awesome teenage girl harbinger. Most people kind of moan when I say that. But then, I tell them of the smart humor, somewhat dry, maybe even snarky. I looove it. It left me satisfied buy wanting more from McBride. Having the two readers helps the listener, and both are awesome in their own right, great voice texture for each really fit the characters. Enjoy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6501)
    Performance
    (5783)
    Story
    (5780)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Pamela says: "The circus of your dreams"
    "A storyteller's story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I tried to explain this book to a dear friend of mine and could not do it justice. Still, she said to me, "I have to read this book! You are so taken passionate about the story!" If you enjoy stories like Zafon's Shadow of the Wind or Setterfield's The 13th Tale, this is a book for you. Told in a unique present-tense, third person, the time shifts beneath you as the circus grows and lives around you. Fabulous.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By A. S. King
    • Narrated By Lynde Houck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (29)

    Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

    Julie says: "Moving, disturbing, and humorous"
    "Moving, disturbing, and humorous"
    Overall

    Please, don't ignore Vera. She has some amazing things to say. Wonderfully read by Lynde Houck (and a couple others not credited by audible - Mark Deakins, Ryan Gesell, and Arthur Morey). These multiple narrators are necessary because they help with some of the unusual formatting aspects of the print book. Anyway, they all do a fabulous job. The story won a Printz Honor, easy to see why. I have a soft spot for female characters standing on the outskirts of high school society - not the outcast, just the ignored. Vera takes her "status" and thrives. Her father is a great dad, if a little misled to the idea that he can help Vera avoid all the mistakes teenagers make. That's part of life and Vera knows this whole-heartedly! You will ache with her for her dead ex-best friend, Charlie. Learning their story is what this book is all about. A must read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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