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Rachel

I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.

YAKIMA, WA, United States | Member Since 2009

ratings
124
REVIEWS
71
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
71

  • The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Sam Kean
    • Narrated By Henry Leyva
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (300)
    Performance
    (252)
    Story
    (256)

    From New York Times best-selling author Sam Kean come more incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA. There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking.

    Traci says: "So much to think about!"
    "Highly recommended"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I quite enjoyed this story. I'm a teacher, so I don't get to listen often during the academic year, but this book had me listening avidly while getting ready for work, on my way home and in all the little moments in between other obligations

    The story was very interesting and full of bits of information and anecdotes and stories I didn't already know. I enjoyed Kean's last book, The Disappearing Spoon, and this one is at least as good. I've read a reasonably good amount of popular science books on heredity and biology, but this one was fresh and accessible with a wealth of fascinating information.

    Good narration. I highly recommend it. And I wan't to read more like this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Folklore of Discworld: Legends, Myths, and Customs from the Discworld with Helpful Hints from Planet Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett, Jacqueline Simpson
    • Narrated By Michael Fenton Stevens
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    Most of us grew up having always known when to touch wood or cross our fingers, and what happens when a princess kisses a frog or a boy pulls a sword from a stone, yet sadly some of these things are beginning to be forgotten. Legends, myths, and fairy tales: Our world is made up of the stories we told ourselves about where we came from and how we got here. It is the same on Discworld, except that beings, which on Earth are creatures of the imagination - like vampires, trolls, witches and, possibly, gods - are real, alive and, in some cases kicking, on the Disc.

    Rachel says: "If you've read all the Discworld books"
    "If you've read all the Discworld books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So, if you've reached the point where you've read and/or listened to all the Discworld books and The Long Earth books, but you need more Pratchett, this is a good book.

    Actually, my daughter kept commenting that it sounded like Harry Potter. She's right in that the stories that helped build the Discworld are the same ones that support the stories in Rowling's world, and probably others, for that matter.

    The book is enjoyable and interesting, though I'm not sure I'd recommend it to someone who hasn't read many Discworld books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lifted Veil

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 55 mins)
    • By George Eliot
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    One of George Eliot's most intriguing works. During a period of illness, Latimer first discovers an unusual ability. He is able to read other peoples' minds and see visions of the future. Rather than being a gift, this strange phenomenon increasingly becomes a curse. But the one thing that keeps him going is his love for Bertha who Latimer knows will one day marry him, and who is the one person whose thoughts remain a mystery to him.

    Rachel says: "This narrator--ugh!"
    "This narrator--ugh!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't even say if the story was good because the narrator was so annoying. She was like a British Valley Girl? At the end of every sentenceeeee, or pauuuuuse, she would drag out the last syllabllllllle?

    Why did they choose a female narrator anyway? The book is written entirely in the voice of the male protagonist. Who cares that Eliot is female if her subject is male. Oh, l mean "maaaaaale?"

    I found words like brothaaaaaa and othaaaaa to be especially annoying in this narration. I actually sped up the playback which put most of the narration at normal speed but the extended endings were still quite evident.

    I got the story because I really enjoyed Middlemarch. In Middlemarch I found the main characters interesting, realistic and though they didn't make decisions I would make, their actions made sense for them. In this story I didn't sympathize or even understand any of the people. Too bad. Maybe with a different narrataaaaa, I would have enjoyed it moooooore?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle East

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Scott Anderson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (339)
    Performance
    (287)
    Story
    (286)

    Based on four years of intensive primary document research, Lawrence in Arabiadefinitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed. Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present.

    Charles Fred Smith says: "The "Real" Story"
    "A little disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I often like histories that focus closely on one person like this and both the time and the place sounded fascinating before I began. During the reading, there were moments when I thought the story was going to pull me in, but it never did.

    There was nothing glaringly wrong or problematic in the story, but I never got excited enough about what happened to really care--though I kept expecting I would. I would pause and think, "now this is going to get good" but in never quite did.

    The thing I missed the most was the lack of connection to what came before and after the time of the "action" in the book. How did this historical event/battle/plan stem from events decades before or decades after. The subtitle is the "making of the modern middle east" but this book ends with the end of the lives of the major players. We are left to remember ourselves what the middle east turned into during and after WW2 and beyond.

    I am left with an idea the Lawrence was a remarkable boy and young man, a conflicted adult who felt rightly betrayed by various people and the British government and then he died. the end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Harper Lee
    • Narrated By Sissy Spacek
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (988)
    Performance
    (923)
    Story
    (929)

    Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south - and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred, available now for the first time as a digital audiobook. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country.

    Alan says: "Stunning"
    "So good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd seen the movie long ago, as a kid with my parents. I'd never read the book or had it assigned in school. I was glad to discover it as an adult, since some of the insights would have passed me by as a teenager.

    I was especially interested in the book's insights into education, small towns, poverty, family, society, judicial progress, femininity and parenting roles. There is so much in this book to enjoy and so much to wonder at.

    I have heard it described as a book to read to understand America. I think that is apt. I would highly highly recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • How to Be a Woman

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Caitlin Moran
    • Narrated By Caitlin Moran
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (475)
    Performance
    (438)
    Story
    (438)

    Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven't been burned as witches since 1727, life isn't exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women's lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

    L. Calder says: "Hysterical manual for the 21st century woman"
    "I wanted to like this more than I did"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After the first half hour I really wanted to like this a lot. I was ready for a rockin' hilarious feminist jaunt. It almost was, I guess.
    Some parts were really funny. I generally agree with Moran about life and stuff. I'm not a big fan of listening to lots of graphic talk about masturbation and the first two or three chapters felt like a forever of, well, I don't know if Audible edits language in these reviews, so I'll leave the actual words unsaid.

    General warning for listeners: NSFW or for listening around kids.

    I certainly liked Moran more as a mom than as a teenager in this book. I'd be curious to know more about her working life between those two stages. I think her other book or books might focus more on that time in her life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Science of Discworld: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen
    • Narrated By Michael Fenton Stevens, Stephen Briggs
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    Not just another science audiobook and not just another Discworld novella, The Science of Discworld is a creative, mind-bending mash-up of fiction and fact, that offers a wizard’s-eye view of our world that will forever change how you look at the universe.

    Rachel says: "Not the best Pratchett, but gets there in the end"
    "Not the best Pratchett, but gets there in the end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As other reviewers have said, this is really two books, a non-fiction brief history of time/evolution kind of thing with sarcastic jokes thrown in every so often and a mini disc world novella featuring the wizards of Unseen University.

    It took me a while to get into this book, for two reasons which may relate more to me than to other potential readers: First, while I enjoy learning (and re-learning) about evolution and science fiction and extinctions, I really dislike learning or thinking about deep space and vast time. It gives me the heebie jeebies and makes my tummy hurt. If it doesn't do that to you, potential reader, you'll enjoy the first part of the non-fiction-y part of this book better than I did.

    Second, I don't particularly like the Unseen University professors. I'd always rather read about the witches, the watch or, Vetinari. Especially Rincewind bugs me. Though he wasn't so bad in this one.

    That being said, I pretty much enjoyed the second half of this book and got used to the interweaving of the two books. I was looking for the sequel but it looks like Audible doesn't have it. Shame--it sounded like there would be less deep time/space stuff.

    One last suggestion: if there are any regular disc world books (besides color of magic) you haven't yet read, do those first. If you are through the whole set and need a Pratchett fix, read the Tiffany Aching books first. Still need more funny Pratchett? This one is it, I guess. (of course the less funny Long Earth books and his earlier stuff and YA is still out there for your enjoyment too).

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Eliza Foss, Jessica Almasy, Mia Barron, and others
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    Here are the greatest stories of one of the greatest writers working in any genre today. All ten of the stories gathered here are Hugo or Nebula award winners - some even have the distinction of winning both. With a new Introduction by the author and personal afterwords to each story, plus a special look at three of Willis' unique public speeches - this is unquestionably the collection of the season, an audiobook that every Connie Willis fan will treasure.

    Rachel says: "Probably the best short story collection ever"
    "Probably the best short story collection ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The title space doesn't allow me to write my whole title: Probably the best short story collection I've ever heard. And certainly the one I've enjoyed the most.

    I usually dislike short story collections because they seem to be all depressing and incomplete. These short stories feel just like small, complete books. Connie Willis is so talented and so good at crafting interesting, surprising situations and complex, lifelike characters. I can't get enough.

    This collection also includes short messages from the author after each story. I loved these, particularly the one that talked about how she became a successful author. Inspirational and fascinating.

    One qualm with the audiobook: My tracks were out of order for parts of two stories--the numbers were in order, but the reading jumped from the end of one story to the middle of "The Winds of Marble Arch" and then put in the afterward to the earlier story before jumping back to the start of the "Winds:. I'm still a little confused about "The first (middle) track I heard form Winds, but since everything else made sense, I didn't worry about it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Android's Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2928)
    Performance
    (2579)
    Story
    (2578)

    A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most unusual way. To avoid war, Earth's government must find an equally unusual object: A type of sheep ("The Android's Dream"), used in the alien race's coronation ceremony. To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero and hacker extraordinaire.

    James says: "Philip K Dick meets Douglas Adams"
    "Just a great Sci Fi Adventure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been listening to a bunch of Wheaton/Scalzi books lately. They never seem to disappoint. This one too.

    The story is absurd and odd, but somehow everything makes sense and fits together. The author is talented at creating unusual characters, particularly alien characters, who don't operate based on our logic, but somehow their decisions still make sense based on their own motivations in the story universe.

    Scalzi manages to give us enough made up backstory and "history" and cultural background to ground his characters in a "real" fictional world without bogging down the story with heavy info dumps.

    Also, Will Wheaton is excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Long Mars: Long Earth, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter
    • Narrated By Michael Fenton Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (112)
    Performance
    (102)
    Story
    (103)

    2040-2045: In the years after the cataclysmic Yellowstone eruption there is massive economic dislocation as populations flee Datum Earth to myriad Long Earth worlds. Sally, Joshua, and Lobsang are all involved in this perilous rescue work when, out of the blue, Sally is contacted by her long-vanished father and inventor of the original Stepper device, Willis Linsay. He tells her he is planning a fantastic voyage across the Long Mars and wants her to accompany him. But Sally soon learns that Willis has an ulterior motive for his request....

    W. Seligman says: "A disappointment"
    "More good story from this team"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're considering this one, you've read the other two already. No? Go read The Long Earth--now.

    The Long Mars was as enjoyable and interesting as the two books that came before it. I always feel a series of connections to my own life, starting with the setting in Madison (sort of) where I used to live. I love that the authors talk about specific locations and connect their world to mine.

    I had a little more trouble than usual following the timeline in this one, but I think I was distracted, maybe. I kept confusing which ship we were following on which trip. However, it didn't seem to matter much and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (321)
    Performance
    (292)
    Story
    (291)

    Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

    Sires says: "Action Adventure Time Travel Novel w/ Good Reader"
    "Connie Willis mixed with Jasper Fforde"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Before listening to the book, I thought it sounded an awful lot like the time traveling series by Connie Willis. Willis' books are so good--and I've gone through them all--that I thought I'd try Taylor's. The voicing (as well as, probably the accent) and the odd sorts of things that happen remind me of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. The story reminds me of Willis and, sometimes, Fforde.

    Unfortunately, both Fforde and Willis write better books than this one. Taylor's time traveling seems to be a rough copy of Willis' but with less rationality or logic. It may be silly to ask for logic when talking about science fiction, but I felt too many things in this booked happened that way because it allowed the author to easily dispatch a problem she had written in.

    A lot happens in this book and it seemed really too much to handle carefully in one book. We are introduced to the main character, her life, her introduction to St. Mary's her first mission, second, etc, on through 5 or so years of her adventures before we even get to what might be the big adventure. But because of our fast paced introduction, we never really get to know most of the supporting characters particularly well. Things happen, then we're suddenly rushed past the results and the unsatisfactory explanation and we're racing on to the next event.

    In Connie Willis' books, she gives us all the information we need to understand why things are happening in this future world and why they can't happen another way. We understand character motivation and the movement of the narrative is towards some significant events. Reading Willis I felt satisfaction in the resolution of conflicts or crises. Reading Taylor I just felt vaguely annoyed and vaguely entertained throughout. I also felt like several things that maybe were supposed to be surprises were telegraphed far ahead of time--or I'd read them before from another author. Or maybe they were just cliches.

    Oddly, though I guessed a few secrets/surprises early on, while I listened there were several times when I missed the actual revelation of the secrets. The character had a mysterious something (no spoilers), then the event finished and later the character talked about how surprised she was by the revelation of the mysterious something. But when did anyone actually reveal the mysterious something? I didn't hear it--and I was listening with full attention. It happened at least twice.

    As to the Fforde comparison, the zaniness and non-stop action seem similar (and there is a mention of bringing back the dodo). Fforde's writing is a zany, enjoyable ride. This book left me feeling uncomfortable throughout, asking three sorts of questions: How did that happen? When did they tell us that key bit of info? and Did Taylor actually steal these ideas from other authors?

    The narrator was fine, but some differentiation between character's voices would have helped me keep track of dialogue in one or two spots where, even afterwards, I couldn't tell who was speaking.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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