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ASD mommy

Member Since 2006

18
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 344 titles in library
  • 47 purchased in 2014
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  • The Red Pyramid: The Kane Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Kevin R. Free, Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3562)
    Performance
    (2395)
    Story
    (2402)

    Since his mother’s death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living out of a suitcase, traveling the globe with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane. But while Carter’s been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants — school friends and a chance at a “normal” life.

    Heather says: "Rick Riordan does it again..."
    "No thanks, I'll pass."
    Overall

    After really enjoying the Percy Jackson series and seeing Greek myths through a fresh and funny light, I had hoped that this new series would do the same for Egyptian culture and myth giving the kids a background knowledge that might enhance their understanding of the absolute power placed in the person of Pharaoh or the significance of the 10 plagues hitting directly at the idolatry of the Egyptian gods and proving the true existence of Jehovah. Instead, apart from a humorous mention of Moses being the only "magician" ever to defeat them in a duel, this book comes alarmingly close to steeping the children in mysticism. Where the Percy Jackson "gods" were distant and flat characters which served as more prop than person, the gods in this series are much more prominent in every scene. They are described as something to be fought, controlled, or exploited for power. Readers are exposed to animism, possession, and soul travel. My advice, skip this one and stick to Percy or the 39 Clues.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated By Robert Powell
    Overall
    (1965)
    Performance
    (756)
    Story
    (772)

    This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

    Amazon Customer says: "Many Of Course monments"
    "Best appreciated with audio and text together"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Inspired by my students' research papers, I took a detour into the world of non-fiction and indulged a fascination of mine: English. Like many readers, writers, and teachers, I have a love for the written word and have always enjoyed etymology. Bragg's research tells stories covering centuries of growth in my native tongue. I came to this book via audio and truly was impressed in the reader's ability to capture accent and dialect from English worldwide. There were times, however, that I felt I was missing out on some of the comparisons between the original word and its permutations since I could not see the spelling. Ideally, I think listening simultaneously with reading would truly bring out the full mastery of this work.

    The first half of this program is a real gem. I was charmed to listen to Old English and amazed to realize that I could still understand large portions across the ages even to my modern ear. There was a real connection to history through the power of language. Another powerful moment was when I realized the unique "twinning" of language where French words came alongside Anglo-Saxon words, not to replace them as was so often done with other languages, but to give us synonyms and connotations with subtlety. What a gift!

    To those of us who recognize the historicity of the Bible and the Tower of Babel, we can see the common roots of language and see the evidence throughout history. This book gave me much to think about in this regard. Also, hearing the earliest English Bible so carefully preserved over the ages was meaningful to me.

    With all this praise, you may be wondering, why not five stars? Well, the book started to lose my interest as I got confused by some of the slang in modern times. Perhaps reading the text would have helped. Also, some of the stories behind some of the terms... well, I could have done without. Even so, I do feel like I've gained something and that the time was well spent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Ally Carter
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (65)

    The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school - that is, it would be if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but it's really a school for spies.

    Autumn says: "AWESOME!"
    "Appeals to the teen girl I once was"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ok, so this book wasn't good as Heist Society, but I am fast becoming an Ally Carter fan! The Gallagher Girls are just great fun. Not only did I relate to the boarding school misconceptions, I whole-heartedly enjoyed the homage paid to Alias and other spy genre greats. I wondered if the main characters in both series would be similar, but Carter crafts them uniquely despite the similarities in their secret-filled lives. I enjoyed the light-hearted humor that kept potentially intense scenes from being taken too seriously. Unlike Alias, this is no "Project Christmas" creating super-human spies. No matter what the girls' special skills, they are all still just high school girls with high school girl problems. See you in sub level 2.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fit to Be Tied: The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Robin Lee Hatcher
    • Narrated By Kathy Garver
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    It’s 1916, and Idaho rancher Cleo Arlington knows everything about horses but nothing about men. So when charged with transforming English aristocrat Sherwood Statham from playboy into cowboy, she’s totally disconcerted. So is Statham, who’s never encountered a woman succeeding in a “man’s world.” Their bumpy trot into romance is frustrating, exhilarating, and ultimately heartwarming.

    Susan says: "perky"
    "Middle of a great trilogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This follow-up to A Vote of Confidence is not quite as good as the last, but actually made me love book one even more. I realized just how much I enjoyed the sister connection between Gwen and Cleo and missed it just a bit now that Gwen is married and expecting. Perhaps that was a bit of what Cleo was feeling too, the natural separation that happens when sisters grow up into their own lives and families. There are no huge surprises in Fit to Be Tied's plot line, but then again, who says there has to be? It is an easy, sweet read that transports you back in time to early 1900's, small-town, Western community life and throws in a romance into the bargain. I look forward to book three.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Matter of Character: The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Robin Lee Hatcher
    • Narrated By Kathy Garver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    In A Matter of Character, by award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher, the year is 1918 and writing gritty dime novels simply isn't done by a woman. So Daphne McKinley - smart, pretty, talented - publishes her rough-and-tumble books under a male pseudonym. But when a newspaperman enlists her aid in restoring his grandfather's good name, Daphne finds herself re-examining the power of her words and reconsidering the direction of her life.

    Lynda says: "Interesting story - terrible narrator"
    "A satisfying end to the trilogy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The sisters of Bethlehem Springs... we had Gwen's story and Cleo's story. Who was left to round out the trilogy? I had to laugh at myself when I realized that there was another sister (in-law!) left in Daphne McKinley. Perhaps it should have been obvious, but like that pleasant realization, A Matter of Character managed to surprise me in similar ways throughout the book. I enjoyed Daphne's love of writing and felt Joshua to be a great match for her all the way through the book. Even though I knew what was going to happen at every step of the way, it was fun to see them go through the often-awkward courtship dance: together - apart - together. The bonus at the end that checks in with the other sisters and gives a glimpse into their lives beyond the series is satisfying as well. I look forward to reading more from this author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matched: Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ally Condie
    • Narrated By Kate Simses
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1519)
    Performance
    (1204)
    Story
    (1224)

    Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

    FanB14 says: "Giver Goes Green"
    "A Kinder, Gentler Dyastopian Society"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When my sister suggested this book to me, I wasn't sure I would like it. Genetically engineered societies means that disabilities are eliminated by default. That makes it difficult for me to "find myself" in the book because I already know going in that neither I nor my husband or son would be found in this oh-so-perfect society. But that wasn't a problem. Ally Condie crafted together such an artful weaving of character and setting with just enough ties to our own world to be believable that I was pulled in right away. Told from the point of view of someone who genuinely believes in the infalability of the Society and its statistics, Cassia moves right along as she reasonably explains away euthanasia or drug-induced amnesia while the reader's heart pounds at the deceptive logic of it all. There is a love story at the center of the book, but it wasn't the love story itself that pulled me in. Unlike other love triangle tales, one potential match isn't "wrong" and the other "right." I truly believe that Cassia would have been/will be happy with either Xander or Ky. To me, that's not the point of the story at all. Is it better to have the choice or not? No matter how perfect the society is planned to be, it will always come down to the power held in the hands of imperfect people.

    Others have criticized the book for being nothing new, but I think that's unfair. Have dystopian tales been told before? Sure. Do others examine the same debates regarding personal freedom, secret knowledge, finding the right spouse? Absolutely. Matched, in my opinion, tells it well on its own merits.

    I found this book to be so well crafted that it demanded my attention. Most of the time, I can balance reading multiple books at a time: one on audio, one on ebook, one on paper, etc. While I was reading Matched, however, it claimed my inner voice. I would try to read another book and find myself hearing Cassia and having to stop and remember that this was an entirely different world. For me to have that reaction alone says something.

    On a lighter note, as a teacher who still emphasizes the value of cursive writing and poetry, I loved the twist Matched brought to those two arts often dismissed in today's society. There is a value in creating rather than simply sifting through facts and regurgitating the right ones at the right time.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Fire by Night

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Lynn Austin
    • Narrated By Christina Moore
    Overall
    (234)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (129)

    Two-time Christy Award winner Lynn Austin is hailed for her inspiring historical novels. As in Candle in the Darkness Austin transports us back to the turbulence of the Civil War.

    Patricia says: "You could listen to this book over and over!"
    "Moving and memorable, but long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    Fire by Night opens by placing us smack-dab in the middle of the Civil War battle of Bull Run, so you immediately that the author's not holding anything back. For those of you who don't need quite so much realism in your fiction, be aware that this is a frank look at the trials of the army doctor and nurse and the Union infantry. The battles go on and on and the field hospital truly is a grisly place.

    The characters are well-developed and I genuinely cared about Julia, Phoebe and all the others, but two things about this book really dragged me down. First, it was long... I mean, LONG: Twelve hours of audio. Second, the whole book seemed to be centered around this idea of penance and atonement. Although there is a place for that, it did seem to overshadow the simple gospel.

    I had no idea that this book was part of a trilogy, but I don't think it hurt much to read this one out of order. I must give Austin credit for surprising me more than once with a plot twist. I honestly didn't expect everyone's lives to take the turns they did until right before it happened. That was satisfying, but I don't think I will go back for book one or three.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Richard Thomas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (676)
    Performance
    (370)
    Story
    (372)

    In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only 13 years old, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk—and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom. But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much—maybe too much—he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial.

    Brian says: "Fantastic for young audience, Good for adults"
    "Grisham quality, Kid friendly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I honestly wasn't sure what to expect when I saw that John Grisham wrote a book for kids. Not many authors can cross over audiences like that and maintain the same quality of work. I ended up being very impressed. Theodore Boone brings something fresh into the realm of kids books with a multi-faceted story line that will appeal to both younger and older readers alike. I was especially impressed with the way he brought the younger readers into the world of our judicial system with genuine enthusiasm and left out the cynicism. I believed that this is how the best lawyers felt when they were drawn to the law for the right reasons. The main story line involves a sensational murder case, but there were also smaller matters that will feel real to younger readers: a friend going through a custody situation in family court, foreclosure, and even an unlicensed pet in animal court. I wasn't prepared for the abrupt cliffhanger ending, so I hope book two or three won't forget to give us closure on the big case! Grisham has won me over for at least another book. :-)

    An added bonus if you pick up the audiobook version: Richard Thomas (aka John-Boy of Walton's fame) is the reader and does a superb job of personifying multiple voices. It's truly a high quality production.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Priest: Sons of Encouragement, Book I

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Francine Rivers
    • Narrated By Chris Fabry
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    The Priest begins Francine Rivers' series of the lives of five men who stood behind the great heroes of the faith. Building upon her tremendous success with the Lineage of Grace series, The Priest finds Rivers at her best when we meet Aaron, brother of Moses, and first High Priest of Israel. Listen as Rivers takes a man seen as part of a supporting cast and elevates him to his rightful place, as a key leader who impacts the faith for eternity.

    Tina says: "Inspiring and thought provoking"
    "My son loved it too..."
    Overall

    Rivers does an outstanding job retelling the story of Moses through a person some may see as a supporting cast member, behind the scenes: Aaron. Pulling in vast and accurate Biblical detail, she extrapolates plausible dialog and situations that follow the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, through the 10 plagues, and to the shores of the Jordan River. A main emphasis of the story is on Aaron's learning to support rather than envy the leadership of his younger brother, and how the temptations of pride and anger lead them both into sin. A key to leadership lies in the oft repeated phrase, "And the people followed his example." This was true for Aaron both in good and bad choices. All the descriptions of the endless sacrifices, a life full of the stench of blood and incense, reminds one of the hymn, "Not all the blood of beasts/ On Jewish altars slain/ Could give the guilty conscience peace/ Nor wash away the stain." Aaron's longing for a lasting peace and finally being cleansed from sin not just without, but within, does accurately focus the reader on the Savior. I look forward to reading more from this series! **An added plus, my son also enjoyed listening to the audiobook and immediately recognized it as a story about God. Nice reinforcement of the familiar Sunday School stories. Only one question I would ask the author... Why did you leave out the story of the bronze serpent on the pole?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kingdom's Dawn: Kingdom's Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Chuck Black
    • Narrated By Andy Turvey
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (31)

    Sixteen-year-old Leinad thought he was a common farmer's son, nothing more. He wondered why his father had trained him for years to master the sword, not exactly a tool of the trade for farmers. But one tragic event initiates a world of revelation. Only then does he begin to understand his calling, a calling no other man in the entire kingdom of Arrethtrae can fulfill - a calling given him by the King himself.

    Amazon Customer says: "Great story, lousy production"
    "Great story, lousy production"
    Overall

    In the grand tradition of Narnia and other fantasy allegories, Kingdom's Dawn shadows several key figures and events from the Fall of Adam and Eve, through the calling of Moses in the wilderness. Apart from a couple battle scenes that seem to go on for a bit too long, even younger readers may enjoy following young Leinad as he discovers life beyond the safety of his father's farm to follow a higher calling given to him by the Unseen King of Arrethtrae. This was one time, though that I think the audiobook detracted from the enjoyment of the story. Like other reviewers, I felt the dramatized version was unbalanced, often with background music and sound effects eclipsing the vocals and narration. I may decide to pick up the next installment in the series on Kindle instead.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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