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SoCalBonnie

Huntress of Dirty Socks

Southern California | Member Since 2008

104
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 23 reviews
  • 139 ratings
  • 251 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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  • Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Novella Carpenter
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (247)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (166)

    Novella Carpenter loves cities - the culture, the crowds, the energy. At the same time, she can't shake the fact that she is the daughter of two back-to-the-land hippies who taught her to love nature and eat vegetables. Ambivalent about repeating her parents' disastrous mistakes, yet drawn to the idea of backyard self-sufficiency, Carpenter decided that it might be possible to have it both ways.

    Sarah says: "Not an instruction book but a fun read"
    "More enjoyable than Kingsolver's take on the topic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Farm City the most enjoyable?

    I LOVE how Novella and her partner made use of materials that would've otherwise been tossed, and in doing so created something out of nothing. For some reason I find that quite exciting and really enjoyed this book. I also very much appreciated the revelation of her mistakes as well as her successes.


    What other book might you compare Farm City to and why?

    You can't help but compare it to Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral." I found this to be much less preachy, much more fun and in the end, a better learning experience. Much better narrated, too.


    Have you listened to any of Karen White’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't believe I've heard any of Karen White's performances before this, but she did a pretty good job.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    The only quibble I had with the author was her interaction with Sheila. Novella ignored so many obvious signals, and then proceeded to blame Sheila for doing what she clearly indicated she would do, no matter what Novella had requested.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Graceling

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Kristin Cashore
    • Narrated By David Baker, Chelsea Mixon, Zachary Exton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (771)
    Performance
    (515)
    Story
    (514)

    Set in a world where some people are born with a Grace - a unique, sometimes uncanny, gift - this is the story of Katsa, whose Grace, demonstrated at an uncomfortably early age, is for killing. This makes her a perfect tool for her uncle, King Randa But Katsa chafes at the way she is being used - and even more at the injustices she sees around her.Then she meets Prince Po, who has a Grace to match hers...

    Kari says: "Outstanding first novel!"
    "Performance distracts from a good story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would get rid of the "performed" aspect of the book. All the different voices and the music are distracting and needlessly interrupted the flow of the story. I would also lean less on the romance.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's a good tale and kept you guessing. I enjoyed how it played out, when I wasn't grouching about the mismatched voices that kept popping in and out of the narrative. It sounded to me as if everyone recorded it all separately rather than an ensemble. I disliked it enough to decide avoid "performed" books from now on, no matter how good the story.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

    I think Xanthe Elbrick did an excellent job in Fire and I'm wishing she'd been around to record Graceling. I don't believe I would've continued in this series if the crew that "performed" Graceling had "performed" Fire.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Garden of Iden: A Novel of the Company, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Kage Baker
    • Narrated By Janan Raouf
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (82)

    The first novel of Kage Baker’s critically acclaimed, much-loved series, the Company, introduces us to a world where the future of commerce is the past. In the 24th century, the Company preserves works of art and extinct forms of life (for profit of course). It recruits orphans from the past, renders them all but immortal, and trains them to serve the Company, Dr. Zeus, Inc. One of these is Mendoza, the botanist. She is sent to Elizabethan England to collect samples from the garden of Sir Walter Iden.

    Ethan M. says: "Very different SF, both in performance and tone"
    "The start of a first-class series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up In the Garden of Iden in three words, what would they be?

    Imaginative, entertaining, fresh


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Joseph, the facilitator. At first glance, a company man who does what he needs to do to get the job done. Later you see there's a lot more to this guy: common sense up the wazoo but a softie at the core. He has heart.I'm glad he gets explored in more depth in Baker's later novels.


    Have you listened to any of Janan Raouf’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is my first time with Ms. Raouf. Like one of the other commenters mentioned, her voice didn't at first fit my idea of the "world-weary Mendoza", but then it made sense. She's only 19, she's just a kid, and it all fits.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    I am so looking forward to the rest of "The Company Novels" as well as Kage Baker's collections of short stories. She is one of those incredible, yet under-appreciated authors who never fails to deliver a good tale. God bless Kage Baker, she left this earth too soon.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp, Camille Kingsolver
    Overall
    (1109)
    Performance
    (402)
    Story
    (408)

    When Barbara Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia, they take on a new challenge: to spend a year on a locally-produced diet, paying close attention to the provenance of all they consume. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle follows the family through the first year of their experiment.

    Sydney says: "Eye opening"
    "Thoughtful, but lapses into a bit of sanctimony"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes and no. It was my first experience with the "back to the earth" genre, and I loved the discussions about our disconnect with the real world. However, it kind of wore me down with breathless descriptions of bucolic living.I also felt the different voices in this narrative were superfluous, like they were just "tacked on".


    Would you be willing to try another book from Barbara Kingsolver? Why or why not?

    Yes. I've not ready anything else of hers yet but I'd like to see how she does fiction.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Yes. I'm not sure this should've been performed by the author and her family members. They seem like sincere people who really believe in what they are doing but their performance removed me from the narrative.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Empress of Mars

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Kage Baker
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (207)
    Story
    (208)

    When the British Arean Company founded its Martian colony, it welcomed any settlers it could get. Outcasts, misfits, and dreamers emigrated in droves to undertake the grueling task of terraforming the cold red planet - only to be abandoned when the BAC discovered it couldn't turn a profit on Mars. Mary Griffith and her struggles and triumphs are at the center of it all, in her bar, the Empress of Mars.

    Dave says: "I love this book."
    "A fun romp through the Martian wastes!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Empress of Mars in three words, what would they be?

    Colorful droll intelligent


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Empress of Mars?

    The conversation between Mary Griffith, Mother Willow and Mother Glenda. Inspired commentary on the neo-puritanism that may be found in any religion (or in any social movement)!


    What about Nicola Barber’s performance did you like?

    This gal nails every character perfectly. Wonderful voice, wonderful talent, wonderful performance. I especially liked her rendering of Mr. De Wit, as well as Ottorino's translation device.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    One of Baker's works that can easily be overlooked as merely a ScFy adventure story, but which is really much, much more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Everfound: Skinjacker Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Neal Shusterman
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (69)

    As Mary Hightower slumbers in a glass coffin waiting to be reborn back into Everlost, her allies and henchmen begin to carry out her terrible mission. Mary’s army is joined by a newcomer: Jix, a spy for the Mayan King of Everlost. A furjacker who skinjacks great cats, Jix has his own agenda. Meanwhile, Mikey McGill desperately tries to rescue Allie the Outcast. At his side is Nick the “Chocolate Ogre”, who has become pure chocolate and hardly remembers himself at all.

    Delinda says: "Never heard of any book like this one--interesting"
    "Neal Shusterman is a master storyteller, period."
    Overall

    I couldn't stop listening! Shusterman can set up and play a scene so perfectly that I can listen to it over and over again and find something new each time I hear it. This is a top-notch story that ties up all the loose ends in the trilogy in a way that is very satisfying. I adored the new characters, especially Jix and his king. Mikey's relationship with Allie was sweet, funny and romantic. Milos turns into a tragic character. Mary's character continues to descend into something truly frightening, capable of some truly godawful acts. Jill redeems herself... barely, but enough that I was rooting for her. How does Shusterman do this? How does he take someone you should hate, and make you feel sorry for them? Or happy for them? Or merely understand them despite their bad behavior? Mr. Shusterman, I am in awe.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Everwild: Skinjacker Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Neal Shusterman
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (72)

    Going against Mary Hightower's wishes, Nick, "the chocolate ogre" is slowly trying to reach every kid in Everlost to hand each and every one a coin, which will release them from Everlost. Mikey McGill and Allie have joined a band of skinjackers who have more of an impact on the living world then any other inhabitant of Everlost. Except Mikey can't skinjack and Allie can - and there is a very good reason.

    Allie is not actually dead.

    Cheryl says: "Should have stopped at Everlost"
    "Loved it!"
    Overall

    Neal Shusterman continues the story begun in "Everost" and what a lovely wild ride it is! I was touched by the gentle romance in this story and yet shocked at times by the actions undertaken by some of the characters. Nick, Allie, Mikey, Mary, Milos, Zin and Jackin Jill are unforgettable spirits in this haunting tale. Shusterman's gift for character development and world-building just gets better and better. I think the narrator is one of the best, too. I recommend this book to everyone...but start with Everlost!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Everlost

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Neal Shusterman
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (188)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (133)

    Nick and Allie don't survive the car accident...but their souls don't exactly get where they're supposed to go, either. Instead, they're caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It's a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

    Word Nerd says: "Interesting concept"
    "Part one of a great trilogy"
    Overall

    I see a pattern in Neal Shusterman's books: he sets things up slowly and steadily, the first part of his books always kind of meandering along as Shusterman adds layer after layer after layer, until you've reached the end where he's created a richly illustrated world in which every little action holds great meaning. Everlost follows this pattern and provides a gratifying ending. Better yet, Everlost in itself is just the beginning of a wonderful trilogy, and Shusterman has just set you up for a wonderful ride that will continue in two more volumes. He has become one of my favorite authors, based on this trilogy and "Unwound". I recommend this for kids and adults, especially for road trips as it will keep you entertained until you "get where you're going."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27161)
    Performance
    (20909)
    Story
    (20991)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "This is a "commitment" book"
    Overall

    I call this a "commitment" book because

    1) it's 33 hours long,
    2) it's expensive--2 credits,
    3) the story isn't resolved at the end--if you want to find out how it turns out you've got to buy the next one in the series, and
    4) there are SIX more books in this series, all at 2 credits a pop!

    There you go. Commitment with a capital C.

    It's intriguing and entertaining and definitely keeps you enthralled, but I haven't yet decided it I really want to make the commitment to invest time and money in the rest of the series.

    I agree with previous reviewers who mentioned it's not for kids. Definitely some adult themes, lots of violence, sex, but done well. It was a little difficult keeping track of all the characters, but I found a list of characters at Wikipedia and managed that way when I got lost.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jeannette Walls
    • Narrated By Jeannette Walls
    Overall
    (1040)
    Performance
    (505)
    Story
    (502)

    Jeannette Walls's memoir The Glass Castle was "nothing short of spectacular" (Entertainment Weekly). Now, in Half Broke Horses, she brings us the story of her grandmother, told in a first-person voice that is authentic, irresistible, and triumphant.

    Kathryn says: "A BETTER BOOK THAN "THE GLASS CASTLE""
    "Loved it loved it loved it."
    Overall

    Jeannette Walls did an incredible job preserving not only her grandmother's memory, but making the times and places in which Lilly lived as fascinating as Lilly was. (Walls is an excellent narrator, too.)

    I couldn't stop listening -- this was a very enjoyable book, reminding me of Ralph Moody's stories about growing up in the west.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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