Davis, CA, United States | Member Since 2008
I usually avoid "blockbuster authors", you know, those who are always on the top ten lists, as many are over-rated, IMHO. However, this book had great reviews along with subject matter that currently interests me, so I took a chance. I figured it was about time I decided from actual experience whether a Jodi Picoult was credit-worthy. The answer is yes!
I am really glad I chose this book, as it was a compelling, fascinating story that kept me interested all the way through. I liked all the narrators and their different characters and felt there was a smooth transition between each of their stories. The thread of the "vampire" was at first distracting, but I do feel it added meaning to the story and didn't detract enough to lower the rating.
The characters were well-developed, believable, and interesting. The book elicited a plethora of emotions from me. There was sadness, of course, but also humor along with a bit of a budding romance and I enjoyed every part of it. I laughed, smiled, and shed a few tears.
I am still not sure I loved the ending and have to give that some more thought, but it also did not detract enough to cause me to lower my rating. It is sitting on a fence between 4.5 and 5 stars but really deserves the higher 5 stars.
I had hopes this book would be similar to Card's Ender series, in that they had wide appeal to adults and YA audiences, alike. However, I feel this book was written mainly for young adults, which is certainly understandable and reasonable. Therefore, I am not deducting stars because I was not the target audience.
I felt that this book was lacking in action, that is, too much time was spent in setting up the story and characters. Yet, there was very little description of the characters and in my mind, I couldn't begin to visualize them. This was a relatively easy listen but towards the end, I was just wanting to finish. I already figured out what was going to happen and when it did, it was just ho-hum for me. I guess this book was missing a sense of excitement for me. Perhaps I look for something else than a younger audience--actually, there is little doubt about this.
As for the narration, Lincoln Hoppe has always been a favorite of mine. I think he usually does a great job of narrating YA books. One problem, however, was that his voices sounded truly adult and not teen at all. I had difficulty with this and had to keep reminding myself they were teens, with the exception of the times they were creating fart viruses!
I am a bit concerned about this review as I always want to be fair to an author. I'd say, if you are a lover of YA literature and this sounds like a book you'd like, go for it!
There's a great deal to like about this book. It is a very unusual setting, a very unusual protagonist, and delightful collateral characters. As is mentioned in many other reviews and the description, the story takes place in Laos after the Communist takeover in the 1970's. Siri Paiboun is the 72 year old coroner, the only coroner in the country, who investigates a series of deaths. Siri would really like to retire after being a doctor for many years but it just isn't in the picture for him. He has been deemed to be a coroner and that is that.
For me, this is a book that you really have to listen to very carefully due to the unfamiliar sounding names, the many characters, and different plot lines. I got lost somewhere toward the end, and I had to listen to the last chapters over a couple of times. Thus, I rated it 3 stars and no higher. I think this book would be more enjoyed by a listener who can devote all their attention to it. My concurrent activities left me feeling lost in the story several times and this I can't really blame on the author.
I read this book in paper and was SO happy to be able to get the audiobook. Colacci does a really fine narration to make the listening experience just about perfect.
While classified as science fiction, this book is so much more. If you are NOT usually a sci-fi fan, do not write The Sparrow off. It is a very unusual book that is multi-dimensional. It has so much to offer besides the sci-fi. If you ARE a sci-fi fan, just know that you will be getting a lot more than you might be expecting. Which is also good, right?
The character development is excellent, and what interesting characters Mary Doria Russell has created! This book addresses so much--philosophy, theology (Catholicism, Judaism) , celibacy, friendship, music, sexual assault, among others. There are a great deal of references to God (after all, a number of the characters are Jesuits!) , but it didn't put me off at all. I usually am turned off by books with religiosity in them; I can't stand the sneaky preachy-ness of some authors. That is not what this book is about!
I am not going to describe the story as it has been adequately done in other reviews. Perhaps you'd be better off surprised like I was the first time I read the book. But you should know that it is a very intense listening experience, especially toward the end, when we learn what really happened to the main character, Emilio Sandoz.
This book is like no other book I have read or listened to. I am so glad I found it.
Ramachandran addresses various neurological disorders and oddities with his own insights into how these problems might arise. He discusses the roles of the different sides of the brain and how injuries or defects in various structures can affect the patient in really diverse and odd ways. He describes cases of patients who are in denial of a paralyzed limb, those who have lost awareness of the left side of their bodies, those who are savants, those who have religious experiences during epileptic episodes along with many other interesting and some times controversial topics.
Ramachandran is a brilliant neuroscientist who has a very inquisitive and curious mind which leads him to ask questions that other scientists avoid such as the role of the brain in religion or multiple personality disorder. Just the fact that he is not afraid to explore these ideas makes this book even more interesting for me. Much of the presented information is based not only on the brain's physiology but also the author's theories. Often he performs simple accompanying experiments which usually provide support for his theories.
The narration is excellent. I highly recommend this book if brain biology, physiology, disorders, and functioning are of interest to you.
4 1/2 stars all the way across.
I have enjoyed two other books by Linwood Barclay. This one was a great listen, with a really unique plot that had unexpected twists and never disappointed me, all the way through. Thomas Kilbride, diagnosed schizophrenic, seemed more to me like he had Asperger's syndrome, possibly with a bit of savant thrown in. His ability to memorize maps was extraordinary. However, he admitted to hearing voices and was being treated by a psychiatrist, so it appeared he was a high functioning schizophrenic, too.
I particularly like the relationship between the two brothers and how it improved over the period of the story into something more positive. The behavior of the characters was quite believable for the most part, despite the high number of murders occurring over the course of the story. This book had plenty of tension toward the end, and I had to keep reassuring myself Thomas and Ray would be fine. This book had a complex and interesting storyline that I really enjoyed. It has been adequately summarized in the book description and anymore details most likely would include spoilers.
As to the narration, I am not sure why there were two narrators. The narrator who narrated the two brothers' parts was exceptional--I really loved his voice and stye. The other narrator was adequate but nothing special. He did not detract from the story at all but really lost out in the comparison.
I highly recommend this story for anyone who loves an unusual mystery with well-developed characters.
Scalzi is the Christopher Moore of science fiction. He is terribly clever and witty and is sure to make you laugh. Wheaton is a fantastic narrator of this sort of techie fluff--it seems to come so naturally to him. However, I wish he would talk a little more slowly, so I could have time to digest the witticisms before he races on to the next bit.
You will certainly get the sci-fi in a Scalzi book but comedy reigns, really. If you are prepared for that and if you love satire, you should enjoy this book as much as the many reviewers did.
I had expected a bit more on the current crisis the Vatican is facing, that of priests as molesters. While it was addressed on a limited basis, after reflection, I realized that it would be extremely difficult for any author to really know the extent and ins and outs of this apparently longstanding problem due to various obvious issues.
That being said, I very much enjoyed this listen. I never thought much about the politics of the Vatican or the encompassing power struggles going on in the Church at any time. This book was quite an eye opener for me and interesting all the way through. It addresses many current issues in a neutral, non-biased fashion.
Hillgartner does an excellent narration. Over all, I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the workings and politics of the Vatican.
I breezed through this book in record time. It seems I still can't resist an unsolved mystery.
This true story fascinated me and at no time did I find it boring, like several other reviewers. I found the details haunting and frightening--I can't even begin to imagine what those 9 hikers went through before their terrifying deaths. This is a creepy, mysterious true event that defies logical explanations. Whatever the actual cause was, it necessarily has to be as weird and strange as the manner in which the 9 hikers died. This is why I think the author has posited a reasonable explanation as to what actually happened. His unexpected explanation makes sense and certainly is plausible. However, I believe that no one will ever know for sure the events of that fateful night.
I have mixed feelings about Donnie Eichar doing his own narration. He most likely has no previous experience narrating an audiobook and this was obvious. In parts, it felt like he was just reading someone else's pages with little or no expression. On the other hand, I got a feel for his earnestness and for who he really is. I could see that this mystery tied him up in knots and wouldn't let go until he did what he could to investigate what really happened to the hikers. I don't think a professional narrator, someone who was perhaps older and more mature, could have really conveyed the real Donnie. So, this is a case in which I won't complain about an author reading his own book. While it certainly wasn't the best narration, it served a useful purpose for me.
Over all, this was an intriguing listen and I will be thinking about it in bed at night for a long while.
This first novel of the Liaden Universe/Theo Waitley series does what you would expect it to. It has a fair amount of "world building" where you are learning the lay of the land in Theo Waitley's story. You get a feel for the main characters as this coming-of-age story begins. How refreshing to find a coming-of-age story involving a female character, too!
In addition, Eileen Stevens gives a very good narration which adds to your listening experience.
I think this novel has whetted my appetite and left me wondering what is next for Theo. So yes, I will be following up in the near future on her next adventure in book 2 of the series.
This is my first experience with a Grisham book and I couldn't be more pleased. I tend to shy away from blockbuster authors, as many keep producing long after they have run out of ideas, use ghost authors, or rest on their laurels in some other way.
From the start of this novel, I was riveted and hated to interrupt my listening. When I wasn't listening, I was thinking of the story and where it was going and plotting how I could get back to it.
I don't need to rehash the story line--it has been described very adequately here. What I particularly liked was that there was no unnecessary filler or overly descriptive writing. Everything that Grisham writes is relevant to his story and is in a logical progression. You really feel that this book was well-researched and planned out. The characters were believable--I cared what happened to them, even the unlikeable ones!
The story was so well-narrated. Michael Beck did an exemplary job of doing individual voices and accents, of which there were many. He added to the listening experience. Although I consider this a stand-alone book, I am going to listen to the prequel.
Very highly recommended.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.