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Coffee

Coffee and a Book Chick

Virginia Beach, VA, United States | Member Since 2012

51
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 103 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
12

  • Cloud Atlas

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Cassandra Campbell, Kim Mai Guest, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2878)
    Performance
    (2106)
    Story
    (2110)

    A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation: the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history.

    Cynthia says: "Complicated and Not Good for Listening!"
    "Complete focus is required..."
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    I'm sure this is better in print or on the big screen... If you are like me and do a lot of errands, or go for a run when listening to an audiobook, than this might not be for you. I love science fiction, but this was just much too challenging to listen to. With six interconnected stories, each has its own narrator, which is fantastic, however each tale is simultaneously unique and challenging to comprehend. There is a specific way each narration is delivered, and depending on the time period of the story, it can either be 1800s prose or a completely made-up dialect that was painful to listen to and translate. I would not recommend this book if you like to do other things while you are listening. There were some moments within each tale that piqued my interest and engaged me for a little while, but then it switched to the next tale and I was left with trying to get used to the way it was written yet again.

    However, I did enjoy the stories for Luisa Rey and Timothy Cavendish. The others, especially Zachry's tale, were just painful to listen to.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Maggie Hope Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Susan Elia MacNeal
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (642)
    Performance
    (557)
    Story
    (556)

    London, 1940: Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined....

    Katherine says: "Lovely"
    "Interesting Story, but the Wrong Narrator"
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    I struggled with this one. It may be because my reading preferences have changed, or perhaps it was the narration, but any way you dice it, it didn't work for me. The narration for the main character of Maggie sounded much, much more mature than a twenty-four-year-old woman and while she may have grown up with her British aunt, she most assuredly did NOT sound like a woman who had grown up in Boston. It sounded as though the narrator tried desperately to deliver a "type" of American accent, but in fact, at several points throughout the narration, slipped into an odd Southern accent which was jarring. All the British characters sounded pretty much the same and it was rather difficult to identify who was who, other than a deeper voice for a man and a higher voice for a woman, so it was the most challenging to identify who was who when Maggie was only with her girlfriends. While the story was interesting, the narration couldn't maintain my attention and in fact took me three weeks to finish when it's only a little under ten hours of audio time. Unfortunately, I don't anticipate picking up the next in the series in audio. In reading other bloggers' reviews, it's clear I would have had a likelier chance for a better reaction had I read it instead. However, do take note of the majority of reviews on Audible.com, as it's evident others loved the audio. The average rating on Audible is 4 out of 5 stars for performance.

    Fans of Jacqueline Winspear and the like, who enjoy the cozy thriller and mystery experience, may like this story. I would recommend reading it versus listening to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Days of Blood & Starlight

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Laini Taylor
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (799)
    Performance
    (729)
    Story
    (736)

    In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

    Katheryne says: "No Sophomore Slump here...Just wow!"
    "Another Homerun by Laini Taylor & Khristine Hvam!"
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    Well, my friends. Laini Taylor has hit it out of the park yet again with her sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and partnering yet again with incomparable audio narrator Khristine Hvam, I am simultaneously thrilled and pained that the wait has now begun for the final book.

    Picking right up where Daughter of Smoke and Bone left off, this fast-paced and emotional book will not disappoint, as second books in trilogies sometimes can. Instead, Taylor sparkles with wit and depth, continuing the intelligent, wistful, and adventurous tale of Kerou, the heartbroken chimera. Left alone and considered a traitor, Kerou is still dealing with her conflicted feelings for Akiva, the seraphim angel. And although she is completely dedicated to her chimera people, and her wonderfully loyal and hilarious friends Zuzana and Mick (loved them!), Kerou doubts the leader of her chimera people, Thiago, and his motives. Final chapters leave the listener reeling, shocked by events, and breathless for the final book.

    I refuse to divulge anything more for fear that it might give anything away for either book in the series, however suffice it to say that:

    -- Book 2 is just as spectacular, creative, and innovative as Book 1
    -- It is excellent on audio
    -- It is the perfect book to listen to while running (it will make you run longer just to hear what happens next)
    -- I wish that this was a longer series simply because I believe that Taylor has created a universe just as full and magnificent, and could equal a long duration, as the successful Harry Potter series
    -- Bottom Line: You should read this

    That is all I can say about this stunning Young Adult fantasy tale of angels and monsters, good versus evil, love and heartache, loyalty and betrayal. Laini Taylor keeps the fierce momentum going in Days of Blood and Starlight, powering through to the final emotional scenes, that ultimately leave you determined for more. Well done yet again, Ms. Taylor!

    Audio Notes: Khristine Hvam returns to book two, thank goodness, and is a theatrical genius. I enjoyed her brilliant narration for all characters. Each is distinct and memorable.

    Parental Notes: While the books are for an older young adult crowd, bear in mind that while it should be expected that there are battle-worthy moments of sword fighting and more, this one has moved a little more into scenes with consensual s3x, but also attempted s3xual assault. These are tougher to read/hear than the previous story. Make sure you have a conversation with your young reader to see if they have any questions.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • It

    • UNABRIDGED (44 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Steven Weber
    Overall
    (3996)
    Performance
    (2745)
    Story
    (2758)

    They were just kids when they stumbled upon the horror of their hometown. Now, as adults, none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them all back to Derry, Maine, to face the nightmare without end, and the evil without a name.

    Parola138 says: "I thought I was desensitized"
    "The BEST Audio I've Ever Listened To"
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    I am not kidding when I tell you that Steven Weber is incredible in this epic tale from Stephen King. This story is about so much more than a clown, so please do yourself a favor and download this. I have never listened to an audiobook more than 15 hours, so 44 hours sounds daunting, but it is well worth it and flies by with Weber at the helm of King's powerful story of childhood friends overcoming their own personal battles and one incredibly hellish evil. Download this, trust me. It's the best audiobook I have ever listened to.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • My Cousin Rachel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Daphne du Maurier
    • Narrated By Jonathan Pryce
    Overall
    (198)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (113)

    Ambrose Ashley, Philip's cousin, guardian, and god, married Rachel in Italy and died there. Jealous of his marriage and grief-stricken by his death, Philip prepares to meet his cousin's widow with hatred in his heart.

    Diane says: "The best audio book I ever listened to"
    "Du Maurier & Pryce: An Excellent Pair for Suspense"
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    Do yourself a favor. Download this audiobook and enjoy a double dose of Gothic atmosphere, delivered by the winning combination of the eerie writing by phenomenal author Daphne du Maurier, and narrated by the accomplished actor Jonathan Pryce. You won't regret it. Click here to listen to the audio sample.

    Philip Ashley, a young man just around the corner from turning twenty-five, has lost the one person in his life who was his only family. Ambrose, his older cousin and guardian, passed away while in Italy and Philip is now grief-stricken and confused. After all, how could Ambrose, a man who professed to be more suited to a life of solitude, fallen in love and gotten married? Who is the woman? With jealousy and fear, combined with paranoia, this Gothic novel satisfied every need for an unsettling tale as the air continues to get much cooler this autumn.

    Rachel, a cousin of Philip's from a distant line, was Ambrose's wife and the subject of many a letter from Ambrose to Philip during the time he spent away from the estate in England. While the letters initially express love, later letters describe something quite different about Rachel, ominous, deceptive, and perhaps even dangerous. Should Philip trust Ambrose's letters, which may have been written at the height of his illness, or should Philip instead believe that Rachel is a good and decent woman, who was very much in love with Philip's uncle?

    I read Rebecca by Du Maurier last year for the first time and promised myself I would read more of her work. Suspenseful and haunting, Du Maurier's work continues at a slow, yet consistent pace, building to those peak moments that reveal startling sadness and events that require you to read slowly, to appreciate, or rather to savor, each word. With Jonathan Pryce's rich and warm voice expertly narrating events, I was easily hooked to this Gothic tale of love, deception, and misunderstandings, all set on a sprawling estate that will immediately pass to Philip once he reaches his twenty-fifth birthday.

    Remember this about Du Maurier: She is not a romance author. I was ignorant for years about this, and shunned reading her work. However, I instead found she is quite the master of suspense and storytelling, and while she dapples in love, it's nothing like what people thinks she writes. (I blame it on that ghastly, albeit memorable, red cover.)

    Du Maurier always maintains the unreliable narrator, the main character frustratingly naive. In My Cousin Rachel, Philip is so annoyingly innocent about women that I wanted to slap him. How could he be so blind? How could he so stupidly trust the wrong people? But, Du Maurier trips you again, because even as I wanted to yell at Philip, I started to feel unsettled, questioning whether or not he was right, and I, the all-knowing reader, was somehow wrong... Philip certainly has led his life similarly to Ambrose's, sequestered and unsociable, his friends limited to the few who are the children of those who have provided a service to the Ashley estate, so there shouldn't be a surprise to how he reacts when he first meets Rachel, and subsequently gets to know her better. The confusion he feels, the emotions he falls victim to! Argh! You might utter proclamations of annoyance, you might throw your hands up in the air! You might. I did. But, as I do with most Gothic installments in my reading background, I enjoyed every moment.

    This journey the reader experiences is key to My Cousin Rachel and to Du Maurier's signature style, so mind your patience, as the story is a good one and worth it to experience.

    At the risk of sounding abject, I would also suggest this could be the "prequel" to Rebecca, granted with a few characters moved around. With a little research, I found I'm not the only one who compares both of these books as they have extremely similar images and settings, and it is of course, acutely atmospheric. Du Maurier tends to love her wealthy and affluent main characters, recluses living by the cold and rainy coastline who don't have much experience in the ways of love or business. And I enjoy it every single time. The Gothic nature of this story satisfied me to no end. Jonathan Pryce is superb and will not disappoint; I certainly will continue to eagerly download his work in the future.

    Audio Notes: This was my first time listening to Jonathan Pryce, and as I've already mentioned, he is undeniably a master of delivering this story. With a voice quiet and haunting, Pryce narrates Philip's innocence and frustration, his helplessness and desire for more, so well that I found I made yet another excuse for more and more errands to do, places to go, just so I could continue to listen to the story. Pryce successfully captured each character distinctly, without confusion, and I'm happy to listen to him again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Laini Taylor
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1598)
    Performance
    (1426)
    Story
    (1439)

    Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages - not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color.

    FanB14 says: "Beautiful Writing, Mediocre Romance"
    "Amazing story & INCREDIBLE Narrator!"
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    I cannot believe I doubted this for a minute. Brava, Ms. Taylor! *standingovation*

    Karou, a seventeen-year-old, lives in Prague and has a few friends at the art school she attends. With her naturally blue hair and gifted drawings of a magical world her classmates don't believe exists, Karou has more secrets than even she knows what to do with. Regularly called on by Brimstone, a creature with a ram's head who runs a curious shop filled with teeth, to complete mysterious tasks requiring her sudden departures, it's not a surprise for others to write off her disappearances. While her best friend, Zuzana might raise an eyebrow to Karou's answers, she doesn't pursue more detail. No one knows that Karou speaks multiple languages and uses magic to travel from Prague to Morocco and other cities within a blink of an eye. Brimstone, almost a father-figure for Karou, regularly reminds her that, while magic may be fun, it always comes with a price. It's only when Akiva comes into her life, a glorious angel who knows much more about her past than she does, that Karou learns just how much of a price it actually is. Her own mysterious past could be even more than she can handle.

    With love, magic, battles, and loyalty, the creative tale from author Laini Taylor unfolds with style and intrigue. Each and every character was crucial to the story, thoughtful and compelling in their own ways, whether innocent, selfish, or even creepy and malicious. I particularly loved Zuzana, but that could be attributed as well to the incredible narrator bringing her to life. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an adventure that in its last few pages becomes so incredibly amazing with each event that I was left thoroughly breathless and awestruck at the creative tale.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: fantasy stories are just that.much.better in audio. Even more so in this case, as Daughter of Smoke and Bone is read by Khristine Hvam, one of the most talented narrators in town. This was my first time listening to her voice, but I can assure you, it will not be my last. With Hvam in control, every character became so immensely distinct that the story stepped up with its magical moments.

    My absolute only issue is pretty ridiculous and more than likely to be expected, as I'm well out of my teen years. *sadface* At first, all of the "ooey-gooey-lovey-dovey" stuff was a little over the top, but I had to remind myself I'm not the intended audience. As a general reader who is appreciative of Young Adult fiction, however, the initial first blush of romance was a little more than actually needed. But, no matter. It's simply my own gentle reminder that you should push through it; a little elderly eye-roll every now and again is no big deal when the story ultimately is so incredibly worth it.

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone will not let you down; it will likely make you stamp your feet, though, annoyed that you have to wait for Days of Blood and Starlight, the next installment in the series, to be released on November 6, 2012. I think I'm going to just pre-order it right now because I am so impatient. *hatestrilogies*

    Khristine Hvam was absolutely wonderful for this story. She clearly felt comfortable voicing each of the characters, easily punching up drama and emotion and love when necessary. What a talent she is! I can't wait to listen to more from her.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (450)
    Performance
    (206)
    Story
    (211)

    From the best-selling author of Kafka on the Shore comes this rich and revelatory memoir about writing and running and the integral impact both have made on his life. Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers Murakami's four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon. Settings range from Tokyo, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston, among young women who outpace him.

    Rick says: "It is what it says it is"
    "Absolutely engaging! Great story, great narrator!"
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    Oh, my gawd, in my life right now, this is PERFECT. I'll explain at the end, but my favorite part is the realization that "I am blessed to be born with a body that gets fat."

    With my new love for running, I've found that music doesn't help me run any better, longer, or stronger. Music distracts me, making me ambivalent. I end up running to the beat more than anything else, which is annoying if I need to slow down or speed up. But listening to an audiobook? Fantastic. And listening to one about running by Haruki Murakami? PERFECT.

    Only Haruki Murakami could write his memoir, and make it seem like it's just going to be about one thing only, something simple, but then he sneaks in so much more to make you really think. Is it only about his love affair with running? It is, but I would say it's a straightforward reflection about one man's evolution in his life and how running has made him better. Although Murakami falls in love with it, he just can't fight growing older, and this is tough to accept.

    Before his career as a novelist, Murakami smoked sixty cigarettes a day. SIXTY. He decided to get healthier, so he quit smoking and ran. Short distances at first and then eventually his runs lengthened. Soon, he was running an average of more than 36 miles a week. Marathons are now a way of life for him and Murakami puts his heart and soul into it all. He experiences highs and lows that confuse him and make him question what his body can do, but he still pushes himself, trying to become better every day.

    Whether you love the chaos of your job, are stressed out by it, or a little bit of both, you have to commit to it in order to make a living and survive. However...you still need that moment to yourself, right? This is where I'm at in my life now. I want to find time each day, but I also want to be better in everything. While I am no athlete (or perfectly coordinated human being, for that matter), I now suddenly find myself in a life more chaotic than ever before. So I want to run and it makes me feel so much better. Listening to this audio helped me understand why. There is one part about feeling the pain, but moving past it and not really feeling it anymore that resonated with me. I ran a little bit longer that night.

    Running or not? Will you like the book either way?
    I think you'll still enjoy it even if you're not a runner. It's hard for me to feel like I'm giving great guidance about that because I recently fell in love with running, so I instantly connected to it. Murakami is a fascinating person and the different races he participates in are incredible. He is motivational simply because he doesn't want to be anything other than what makes him happy. He talks a little bit about his writing, and the success of his books, and how he is extremely pleased with those who love his work, particularly the young college kids he never expected. But at the end of the day, the book is about a runner, one man who finds complete and total joy in the beauty of pushing yourself, but truly enjoying the art of being who you are.

    And you know what my favorite part really was?
    As I mentioned earlier, Haruki Murakami revealed a wildly cool idea about something I never thought I would feel: "I am blessed to be born with a body that gains weight." Huh? What? I thought this was crazy-talk. But as I listened, I totally got it. Like he says, by having a body that gains weight, we have something that is our trigger to motivate us to get healthier and to exercise. If we had a perfect {read: relative} body, then we wouldn't really ever get healthy. We'd smoke and drink and eat junk and maybe we'd clog up our arteries and get sick and a host of other issues but we would think we were fine because hey, our bodies look gooood. This was eye-opening for me. I resolved to feel happy with the fact that I need to work out and eat better, that I have to invest in myself in order to look and feel the way I want to. I loved this revelation of the book and it's a lesson I'll take with me forever.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Christopher McDougall
    • Narrated By Fred Sanders
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4352)
    Performance
    (2142)
    Story
    (2175)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Want to join the “superhumans”? Luckily you don’t have to run to catch up with them, thanks to McDougall’s and Sanders’ inspiring (and motivating) journey through history, science, physiology, health, entertaining characters and unlikely friendships. Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure.

    Corey says: "Amazing read - even for non-runners"
    "No need to be a runner to be inspired & fascinated"
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    The full title is key to understanding everything this book has to offer. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. What you don't know from that title, though, is that you do not have to be a runner to get caught up in this story and be completely fascinated.

    Born to Run is known as one of *the* books to read in the running community. McDougall's tale of an unknown tribe and the athletes who wanted to keep up with them is succinct and fascinating, and no stone is unturned as he analyzes his own running techniques. Reviewing controversial insights into the "right" shoe to wear, the "right" form, and his experiences with the ultrarunning athletes who are wildly impressive (and just plain crazy) kept me up late, rapt with attention. (Ultrarunners are those who complete distances further than the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. In fact, what is normally considered a minimum ultrarun, according to Ultrarunning's site, is 31.07 miles (a 50k), and extending all the way to 100 miles. There are even events that go for days, not just distances.)

    All runners experience injuries and McDougall is no different. When his foot hurt, doctors advised a break. He kept running, and with the help of the mysterious Caballo Blanco, met the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico who easily run extreme distances daily, mileages that will make your jaw drop. They blew me away, I admit. Could anyone easily run a distance from New York to Detroit within a couple of days and not be completely destroyed? Probably not. But the Tarahumra tribe can. And when they run, they wear thin soled sandals that go against everything you were taught to believe about the "right" running shoe. Sometimes, the tribe even run barefoot and still, no issues.

    The audio book is a perfect choice to listen to while running, especially if you're like me and don't like to listen to music. I was motivated to get out there and feel inspired by the ultrarunning legends, and the talents of the Tarahumara tribe. Born to Run will definitely be on my list of best books read in 2012, and I will be referring to this book several times over for motivation and insight. Whether you think you are "built for it" or not, you may become convinced we really were born to run, and to run long distances at that.

    Interesting fact from the book: We were faster in the 1970s. Six amateur men in a local running group could break a 2:12 marathon mark, but in 2000 we didn't have any US marathoner in the Olympics who would have been able to meet that time. In fact, for the men's marathon, we finished in 69th place. Could it be the way shoes are made nowadays? The Tarahumara go barefoot a lot.

    Runners and non-runners: You can't go wrong with this incredible story of Christopher McDougall's quest to understand running that first started because he wanted to find out why his foot hurt. In fact, those who don't run may actually be inspired to go for a short run. I would recommend that. After all, you might surprise yourself.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods of Gotham

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Lyndsay Faye
    • Narrated By Steven Boyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (474)
    Performance
    (406)
    Story
    (411)

    It is 1845. New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever.... Timothy Wilde tends bar near the Exchange, fantasizing about the day he has enough money to win the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams literally incinerate in a fire devastating downtown Manhattan, he finds himself disfigured, unemployed, and homeless. His older brother obtains Timothy a job in the newly minted NYPD, but he is highly skeptical of this new "police force".

    Joanne says: "A wonderful book"
    "Outstanding Story, Flat Narration"
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    New York in 1845 was a powder-keg of unrest. With an influx of Irish immigrants escaping the tragic Great Potato Famine into an already packed city, the New York summer of 1845 was filled with riots, religious unrest, murder, and the eventual birth of the New York Police Department, known by New Yorkers as a "standing army." Timothy Wilde, once a bartender with an unfulfilled love for a charitable woman named Mercy Underhill, has accepted a position as a policeman after a horrible fire leaves him with no bar to tend and his face disfigured. Amidst racism, brothels, drugs and murder, Timothy learns there is much more darkness in the city than he ever imagined. When a young girl, Bird, runs into him one night during his rounds, her nightdress covered in blood, with unbelievable stories of a murdered child, his new career becomes even darker.

    A strong dislike for his older and more politically-minded brother, Val, Timothy's got an ethical side that can't be undone. Even with Bird, he doesn't have the heart to deliver her to the House of Refuge for orphaned children and instead takes her back to his apartment building where the female proprietor cares for her. As he takes the case to uncover the child murders, which seem to point heavily to a blatant hatred for Irish Catholicism, Timothy's unsure of who to rely on. His brother is of questionable character and the locals don't take any issue with brothels, even if children are an option. It's a gritty underworld that he didn't expect to be immersed in.

    The Gods of Gotham is superb with early 1800s elements of New York life and American history, from the combination of race and religious unrest to the Irish "assimilation" into New York and even to the seedy brothels. While Mercy Underhill maintains her own sense of willful independence that at times was shocking, she provides the clear contrast to the city's evil with her ministering of care to the orphans and uncared for children, all the while dreaming of her one-day voyage across the Atlantic to England to escape New York. Each piece of the story was brilliant.

    However, I did take issue with the audiobook so let me first encourage you to visit the Audible.com reviews site because I definitely do not represent the majority of the listeners. While I loved the story, I struggled with the audio considerably. In 1845 New York, I anticipated a little more accented English and instead felt the narrator's voice was flat and non-regional, and a good portion of the audio was monotonous, even to the point that there wasn't any variation between the male voices. There was also a distinct lack of emotion for several of Timothy's truly painful moments and with such a vivid story, it's unfair to the characters to be so colorlessly represented. Usually, a narrator keeps a bad story going, but in this case, The Gods of Gotham was thankfully a captivating tale which was the sole reason I was motivated to continue. I do want to mention that there was one bright spot that I loved in audio, which occurred between the newsboys and Timothy when they spoke "flash," a slang dialect of the lower classes in New York. It was extremely unique and interestingly enough, "flash" is also the foundation of several slang words we use today. Other reviews point out that these conversations were a difficult part when reading in print, however I can say the audiobook makes it much, much easier to understand and visualize and I do feel the narrator did a good job here. (For a really cool interview with the author discussing "flash," click here.)

    The story and historical elements are fascinating and while it was a bit wordy at the start of the book, it evened out and became an engaging tale which makes me now eagerly await the sequel. At that time, though, I will be reading the printed version versus listening to the audio.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Lullaby

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Chuck Palahniuk
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (589)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (243)

    New York Times best-selling author of Fight Club, which was adapted into a major motion picture, Chuck Palahniuk offers a haunting tale. Winner of the Northwest Booksellers Association Award, Palahniuk is one of the rare literary geniuses who has been able to bridge the gap between a cult following and commercial success.

    Sean says: "Palahniuk's New Hit"
    "It's odd, but I LOVED it. Richard Poe ROCKED it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Someone will download this audiobook because of my freakish exuberance and will think I've gone crazy. SO BE IT.

    Guys, it is completely ridiculous. It is hauntingly weird. It is fantastic. But, this is not for everyone.

    This was AWESOME for me. Finally, people, I have come across an audiobook that I don't "just enjoy" but that I LOVE. And I loved both this crazy, crazy story and the narrator. Everything fell into place, and oh my, was I hooked.

    Carl is a lonely widower in his forties. As a reporter, he starts writing an article for the newspaper he works at about the sad topic of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. A curious link to a poem, either sung or spoken, to children before they go to bed is uncovered and is the only common event for all of the deaths he's researching. The only problem is that it's not an innocent poem at all; in fact, it's actually a tribal death chant.

    Carl and a real estate agent named Helen, her secretary Mona, and Mona's boyfriend known as Oyster, go on a quest to pull all of the books that have this lullaby in it and rip the pages from the books. It's their way to save the world, and for Carl especially, a way to overcome the death of his own wife and daughter. As Carl goes through the process to find each and every single copy, he has to stop himself from using this on people he doesn't like. He knows he needs help when he's beginning to wildly wield it on not just enemies, but on random, innocent people. He certainly didn't realize that along this insane path, he might actually come to terms with the horrible things in life, and maybe, just maybe, fall in love.

    I'll go over my thoughts on the narrator in just a bit, but let's just say Poe is *AWESOME* (said in a sing-songy voice) for this story. I couldn't stop listening to it and I got pretty ticked off when I had to pause it.

    At the heart of this story is just a lonely man who has an inordinate amount of pain and suffering in his life that he's experienced, as are the people he teams up with to track the whereabouts of the poem in every part of the country. But, it's not just what's at the heart of this that makes it so unique, it's the entire story, the peculiar method of storytelling, the characters that could be loyal or maybe not. Lullaby is certainly not for the faint of heart in several scenes, but it certainly is memorable. What a sad story wrapped up in creativity.

    This is my very first time with a Chuck Palahniuk story and it will absolutely not be my last. I have this sneaking suspicion that his books might be even more fantastic in audio; I can assure you this one certainly is. It is odd, unique, filthy, ridiculous, hilarious, and heart-wrenching. And it is WEIRD. If you are a fan of straight-forward stories that don't have creatively uncomfortable and odd ways of telling the story (with a dash of crudeness), then this may not be for you. However, if you want to try something a little different and don't mind a little bit of contemptibility in some of the characters' actions and events, than oh my, pick this one!

    Audio Notes: As I've already gushed, Richard Poe ROCKED. This was like some fantastic stage play come to life for audio only. His voice is smooth and he easily voiced the emotions so effectively that in the earlier spots when there was a considerable amount of heartbreak and sadness over his personal losses, my heart felt the character's pain. Richard Poe's breathing, his enunciation for certain feelings, was just PERFECT. I am a brand-new fan of his. Look at me! I'm downloading all of the audiobooks he's narrated!

    You know what I wish? I wish that Audible.com has the ability to "favorite" a narrator, so that way when a new audio comes out that they narrate, you'd get an alert letting you know. Isn't that a great idea? Do they do this already? If they don't, this is my idea!

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