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Kelli

Listen on dog walks, commutes and around the house. Welcome virtually any genre but southern fiction holds a special place in my heart.

Birmingham, AL, United States | Member Since 2002

54
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 37 reviews
  • 204 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 21 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
9

  • Divergent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15510)
    Performance
    (14037)
    Story
    (14132)

    In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    Grant says: "It's not for me. Loved it anyway."
    "Great Book to Follow Hunger Games"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I stumbled upon The Hunger Games trilogy last year, reluctantly read the first book despite the genre being one I generally don't tend towards but fell in love. It felt different and I was open to something different. I searched for recommendations on the next book to read and the lovers of The Hunger Games consistently recommended Divergent. They were right! I read it in less than a week and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't a regurgitation of The Hunger Games but something else fresh and new. I'm wondering if I'm now a true convert to this YA dystopian genre. Next up: Uglies.

    19 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Morton Sellers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1158)
    Performance
    (1039)
    Story
    (1027)

    A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

    Chris Reich says: "Scared the Hell Out of Me"
    "Got Me Thinking and Talking about Scientology"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lawrence Wright's epilogue to Going Clear sums up my feelings about this book quite succinctly. No matter how shocked or horrified or disgusted or scared or baffled you are with the underpinnings of Scientology and the ongoing behaviors of its believers, just study any other religion and you will uncover religious principles, stories and directives lacking in any fact basis; human rights abuses; disgruntled former believers who now feel duped and disillusioned; and lots of financial resources sheltered from government taxation. What makes Scientology especially disturbing to me, though, is the emphasis on self-centeredness, narcissism, and individual gain at the exclusion of all others. Wright's book focuses on the celebrity Scientologists just like the religion itself focuses on the celebrity Scientologists. There are definitely the haves and the have-nots within this church. Out of curiousity, I tried to find the nearest Scientology center to me in Birmingham, Alabama, and was not so surprised to find that there is a Scientology Celebrity Centre in Nashville, Tennessee. There apparently are not enough celebrities in Alabama to warrant any other presence by the church. That is OK with me. This book got me thinking and talking - definitely worth a read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (617)
    Performance
    (506)
    Story
    (497)

    The first new collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens since 2004, Arguably offers an indispensable key to understanding the passionate and skeptical spirit of one of our most dazzling writers, widely admired for the clarity of his style, a result of his disciplined and candid thinking. Topics range from ruminations on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men to the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell.

    David says: "Grab it"
    "Challenge Your Intellect with this Collection"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was not my first foray into the work of Hitchens. I read God is Not Great as well as several Vanity Fair articles prior to this set of essays. This book, however, illuminated the huge gap in intellect between Hitchens and myself. Not a surprising discovery but rather humbling. Fortunately, Hitchens himself made some progress in closing that gap as I progressed through his 100+ essays from start to finish. Because nearly all of the literary references in the first third of the book were lost on me, it almost felt like I was reading a book written in a different language but that slowly dissipated as I moved along. For the casual reader of Hitchens, be prepared for a literary challenge but don't let that challenge stop you from getting to know this prolific writer and his thought-provoking opinions on literature, politics and religion.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Winds of War

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Herman Wouk
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2599)
    Performance
    (2188)
    Story
    (2193)

    Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

    Robert says: "A Masterpiece"
    "Historical Fiction at its Finest"
    Overall
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    This is historical fiction at its finest. Even if you think you know all there is to know about World War II and its impact on American families living in the United States and abroad, think again and read this book. The Winds of War is to World War II what Gone With the Wind is to the Civil War. It expertly blends the history of the war itself with a family saga full of love, lust, disappointment and triumph. This book, however, strikes an even better balance and there is lots more political history. I would also recommend checking out the 1983 miniseries of the book which can be watched instantly on NetFlix. I actually watched as I read and found that the miniseries was a very true adaptation of the novel. Herman Wouk himself wrote the teleplay. On a final note, be warned. The Winds of War ends with lots of question marks making it nearly impossible not to reach for War and Remembrance next.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Slammed

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Colleen Hoover
    • Narrated By Heidi Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (362)
    Performance
    (330)
    Story
    (331)

    Layken Cohen isn't your typical 18-year-old. After the recent death of her father, she is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's slowly losing hope. Enter Will Cooper: The 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for performing "Slams". Will and Layken immediately form an intense and emotional connection neither of them knew they needed until it was found.

    Jane says: "Not for me. Too much teen angst."
    "Opportunity Lost to Fully Capture Slam Poetry"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Slammed is a first novel for an author with little to no previous writing experience that was written initially only for family and friends and then was self-published on Amazon to (a surprisingly) great reception. After finishing this short book, I just don't agree with the majority of readers that this was a great YA romance. I think I was especially let down by the central slam poetry theme which fell pretty flat in terms of the poetry itself and the development of the slam poetry culture. When I think of slam poetry, I generally imagine great emotion and raw truth and sticky subjects. None of this was captured in Ms. Hoover's novel. Some young people in my life recently told me that the slam poetry movement is now full of "posers" with no real message to share and no real passion for the art. This book felt full of "posers." Even though their life experiences could have been the source of good poetry, those opportunities were squandered away by the characters in this book. Elsewhere on the web, Ms. Hoover has expressed her concern that there were not more novels with slam poetry as a central theme. I'm afraid we are still waiting.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Education of Little Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Forrest Carter
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (249)
    Performance
    (217)
    Story
    (218)

    After his parents die, five-year-old Little Tree goes to live with his grandparents in their cabin deep in the Tennessee mountain hollows. Granpa instructs the boy in the ancient wisdom of “The Way” of honoring nature’s subtle balance. Even when he faces racism and the white authorities try to take him from his grandparents, Little Tree’s understanding and humor sustain him.

    Nancy says: "Comfort food"
    "Get to Know the Author Before You Read the Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After finishing this book and then delving into several book reviews by Christopher Hitchins where Hitchins thoroughly examines the authors in addition to the authors' works, I decided to do a bit of research myself on some of the authors I had recently read. I started with Forrest Carter (aka Asa Earl Carter) from Anniston, Alabama - just up the road from my home in Birmingham. What happened next was eye-opening. This book, which I found full of stereotypes and quite average despite its great reviews, is actually steeped in controversy! I started with the 1991 New York Times' article "The Transformation of a Klansman" by Dan T. Carter. I was fascinated to hear that the New York Times moved The Education of Little Tree, originally published in 1976 and then reprinted in 1986, from its Nonfiction Bestseller List to its Fiction Bestseller List after this story broke. Although some of my fellow readers still have this book categorized as a memoir - be warned - this one is a hoax, a mocu-memoir written by a former segregationist who successfully re-invented himself late in life. I don't really feel all that duped since I was pretty unconvinced of the book's genuineness even before I researched its author, but I may have read the book differently if I'd knownall this before I started. Lesson learned.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Body

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (486)
    Performance
    (253)
    Story
    (253)

    Made into the acclaimed film Stand By Me, The Body is a mesmerizing tale of four young boys and their quest to find a dead body, never realizing how much death will affect their lives and their friendship.

    Richard Delman says: "An immensely talented author"
    "Not My Favorite Book by King"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think I would have enjoyed this book a bit more if I had once been a 12-year old boy. Stephen King's obsession with bodily fluids (which I can generally tolerate in most other Stephen King books despite the fact that it is ever-present) was particularly noticeable in this book. Again - if I had once been a 12-year old boy, those references (and maybe even Stephen King's obsession with bodily fluids) would probably go unnoticed. Not one of my favorites by King.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Fight Club

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Chuck Palahniuk
    • Narrated By Jim Colby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1145)
    Performance
    (769)
    Story
    (782)

    When a listless office employee (the narrator) meets Tyler Durden, his life begins to take on a strange new dimension. Together they form Fight Club - a secretive underground group sponsoring bloody bare-knuckle boxing matches staged in seedy alleys, vacant warehouses, and dive-bar basements. Fight Club lets ordinary men vent their suppressed rage, and it quickly develops a fanatical following.

    Ilana says: "The first rule about Fight Club is..."
    "Generation X and the Nineties Embodied in a Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel embodies the nineties by magnifying its mistrusting, rule-rejecting, self-reliant characters - all members of Generation X. It is a dark, twisted tale of self loathing and self destructive behavior which culminates in a surprise revelation that makes you want to start the book again. I saw the movie 15 years ago and then promptly forgot the plot (but managed to not forget Brad Pitt) so the movie did not spoil the book for me. I was impressed with the author's quirky writing style and there is no doubt that this style of writing has contributed to the many lines of this book now embedded in pop culture: "The first rule of Fight Club is..."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Cheryl Strayed
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2930)
    Performance
    (2569)
    Story
    (2573)

    At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

    Marci says: "I Miss Her"
    "Oh So Happy I Took this Hike with Cheryl Strayed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although I have only spent one night in the woods with a backpack, I'm oh so happy I took this hike with Cheryl Strayed. Unlike some die hard backpackers that have criticized the book for fear that more inexperienced hikers will follow in the author's blistered footsteps, I really understood this memoir and her motivations. In some ways, I've lived a parallel life to Cheryl Strayed minus the 1100-mile hike. We were born the same year and we lost a parent the same year. The author lost her mother to lung cancer when her mother was 45; I lost my father to lung cancer when my father was 47. What followed those deaths for both of us was a pattern of self-destructive behavior that would last for several years. One morning at about the halfway point of listening to the audiobook and walking my dog at 5 a.m., I burst into tears and realized that I was reading one of the best books of 2012.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (17213)
    Performance
    (15292)
    Story
    (15245)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Take the Trip Down this Rabbit Hole of a Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a spectacular ending to an awesome book. In his Afterword, Stephen King gives credit for the ending to his son, Joe Hill. Kudos to Joe! After 30 plus hours of listening, I expected to be ready to end this story but, instead, I was thoroughly disappointed to finish. Despite that disappointment, I was thrilled and emotionally touched with the way the novel closes. I have to admit that I had pigeon-holed Stephen King as a certain kind of author - one that I did not generally gravitate to but...this novel broke all previous preconceptions of King's writing for me. The ride down this rabbit hole of a book filled with history and love and unforgettable characters is magical.

    1 of 1 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
    (2934)
    Performance
    (1745)
    Story
    (1738)

    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"
    "Transport Yourself to Bayou Country"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was written while I was a student at LSU but somehow I missed it along with the rest of the Dave Robicheaux series until now. What a shame! I listened to this incredibly narrated audiobook during my Thanksgiving drive home and back again. I could not have picked a better way to spend 8 hours and 22 minutes of my drive. Every one of my senses was evoked by James Lee Burke and I was temporarily transported to New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou country with the taste of its food, the sounds of its music, the smells of the French Quarter. I laughed. I was repulsed. I was impressed by the fantastic character development. Although the unabridged version of the second book in the series, Heaven's Prisoners, is not yet available, I purchased the paperback today and I look forward to continuing the journey with Robicheaux.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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