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Book Worm

I love yoga. I love cooking healthy, organic, natural, delicious food. I love reading, writing, traveling. But more than anything, I love laughing and cuddling with my Michael and our pup.

Member Since 2012

10
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 21 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5738)
    Performance
    (4965)
    Story
    (4959)

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "Infused with Negativity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you ever listen to anything by Jess Walter again?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, the book had a surface level and shallow plot. The characters were well developed but the book in sum was uninspiring. It’s written somewhat well, but constantly infused with negativity, in order to play up the “ruins” part of the title. The author rarely turned that around into “beauty" though. It’s also rather crude and, towards the end, a bit random at times. I wouldn’t recommend it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Never Let Me Go

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Kazuo Ishiguro
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1685)
    Performance
    (517)
    Story
    (522)

    From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.

    Christopher says: "Moving, haunting, but slow developing"
    "Mediocre at Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I cannot understand the hype around this book. It certainly has a novel plot line but the execution of it was utterly unremarkable. I literally only finished it because I (wrongfully) assumed a book with such glowing reviews would have to shine at some point.

    Nope, not the case.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fault in Our Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John Green
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9384)
    Performance
    (8601)
    Story
    (8652)

    Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

    FanB14 says: "Sad Premise, Fantastic Story"
    "A Truly Talented Author"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    John Green takes on an emotional and esoteric wealth of subject matter in this Young Adult Fiction novel, but he does so in this unpretentious, relatable, and downright likeable manner that makes the novel a true page turner (if one can use that term for audio books).

    I had not read YAF since I was a young adult and in the beginning of the novel I felt annoyed that such a gem of a book had to be locked inside a YAF novel, peppered with simple sentences and written in such a way that I almost felt like I was watching a movie (easy entertainment). That’s a compliment in itself to many, but I generally go for books with vivid imagery and prose. By the end of the book though, I was in tears at the stunning themes he was able to weave through and explore simultaneously; at the humor; the insight; and the beauty. And ultimately I was thankful and a bit awestruck by his ability to craft a masterpiece that would both appeal to a move young adults and adults.

    This is an absolute 5-star book and it will be one I re-read in years to come, just to remember.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fiery Cross

    • UNABRIDGED (55 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (3981)
    Performance
    (3506)
    Story
    (3498)

    The year is 1771. Claire Randall is still an outlander, out of place and out of time. But now she is linked by love to her only anchor: Jamie Fraser. They have crossed oceans and centuries to build a life together in North Carolina. But tensions, both ancient and recent, threaten members of their clan. Knowing that his wife has the gift of prophecy, James must believe Claire, though he would prefer not to. Claire has shared a dreadful truth: there will, without a doubt, be a war.

    Dawn says: "THANK YOU!!!"
    "Like a Drug"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having now read 5 of Gabaldon’s books, I think it’s safe to say that her books are like a drug—addicting, consuming…but in an I-want-more, it-makes-me-feel-good-even-when-I’m-not-reading sort of way. Read one and you’ll be hooked. She is, without question, the most talented author I’ve had the pleasure to come across.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Harry Bernstein
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (225)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (72)

    This enchanting true story, written when the author was 93, is a moving tale of working-class life, the social divide, and forbidden love on the eve of the first World War. The narrow street on which Harry grew up appeared identical to countless other working-class English neighborhoods, except for the invisible wall that ran down the center of the street, dividing the Jewish families on one side from the Christians on the other.

    Alan says: "Brings a lost world to life"
    "Beautiful & Raw"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read another of Bernstein’s books (The Dream) a couple of years ago and enjoyed his writing so much that I (rightly) assumed I would like all his work. He has this fantastic way of writing memoir that draws you in instantly and keeps you completely absorbed throughout. There was never a lull in my listening—you know, where you put the book down for a day or two because your interest waned ever so slightly.

    He also has this uncanny ability to help you see people—I mean really see people—even if you feel like you have absolutely nothing in common with them. It’s quite remarkable, actually. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite authors!

    One of my favorite themes woven throughout The Invisible Wall was the awareness that everyone on this planet is really much more alike than we are different. And, since Bernstein is writing from his own history, rather than just speaking to ideals, the truth of it all resonates deeply.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Emily Woo Zeller
    Overall
    (1149)
    Performance
    (1006)
    Story
    (1016)

    Best-selling author Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. Roach takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: The questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts?

    Kirstin says: "Mary Roach Does Not Disappoint!"
    "Quirky, Fascinating and Funny"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my first Mary Roach book and I have to say, I love her witty, comical nonfiction writing style. The content is certainly quirky and likely wouldn’t hold the attention of the average reader, but I love science oddities and trivial facts, so I certainly enjoyed this book (disclaimer, it’s not all trivial). I also quite enjoyed the links between science and culture that are woven throughout. It’s a quick and fascinating read that will have you laughing out loud at times. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys science-based nonfiction—not to worry though, it’s nothing like reading a textbook!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Kitchen House: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Kathleen Grissom
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy, Bahni Turpin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6728)
    Performance
    (4706)
    Story
    (4691)

    Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin. Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction.

    B.J. says: "Good, but with reservations"
    "Worth a listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Two thumbs up for The Kitchen House. I don’t have a raving review to post, as so many readers have in the past, but I did enjoy this period piece. I especially appreciated the moments of tenderness some of the characters displayed in the face of the horrors of the time. The author’s note at the end was also particularly poignant and will stick with me. In this way, I enjoyed certain small bits more than the story as a whole. What I didn’t like was how quickly things developed and occurred throughout the story. I felt like the author had a list of events she wanted to have occur and it detracted from the story since the narrative often rushed from thing to another. I also felt there were far too many characters too keep track of, particularly in the beginning. These things aside though, I enjoyed the novel and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Crossing to Safety

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Wallace Stegner
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (277)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (207)

    One of the finest American authors of the 20th century, Wallace Stegner compiled an impressive collection of accolades during his lifetime, including a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a National Book Award, and three O. Henry Awards. His final novel, Crossing to Safety is the quiet yet stirring tale of two couples that meet during the Great Depression and form a lifelong bond.

    Barbara says: "Real characters dealing with life & death."
    "Slow but worth the time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Hmmm, how does one review a book like this? It’s the story of two couples: their friendship, marriages, lives, treasured memories and hardships. I found the story a bit slow at times and occasionally disjointed. No huge rising plot. No language frills. No magnificently crafted scenery. That said, there was a rawness to it—a deeply human face that held my attention and my focus, even when I wasn’t reading. I’m glad I read it, but I’m not sure I’d go around recommending it to everyone I know… except perhaps to my sister, to get her take on the family dynamics in the book. There were certainly some ponderous subtleties I could relate to.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • If This Isn't Nice, What Is: Advice for the Young

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins, Scott Brick
    Overall
    (897)
    Performance
    (775)
    Story
    (773)

    Master storyteller and satirist Kurt Vonnegut was one of the most in-demand commencement speakers of his time. For each occasion, Vonnegut’s words were unfailingly unique, insightful, and witty, and they stayed with audience members long after graduation. As edited by Dan Wakefield, this book reads like a narrative in the unique voice that made Vonnegut a hero to readers and listeners of all ages. At times hilarious, razor-sharp, freewheeling, and deeply serious, these reflections are ideal for anyone undergoing what Vonnegut would call their "long-delayed puberty ceremony".

    Joseph Warren says: "Witty Humor and Priceless Insight"
    "A quick and enjoyable listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I give Vonnegut’s compilation of speeches a solid three stars, as it was a very quick and enjoyable listen. Although mildly redundant—how could it not be given the similar themes throughout most of his speeches—and sometimes a bit too sarcastic-ly cynical in my opinion, I still appreciated his thoughts and perspective. What I liked best was his assertion that being happy and not realizing it is the most tragic waste of all. So, he pleads, notice when little things make you smile. Remember and recount these moments, for they are happiness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Drums of Autumn

    • UNABRIDGED (44 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6572)
    Performance
    (4222)
    Story
    (4216)

    Twice Claire has used an ancient stone circle to travel back to the 18th century. The first time she found love with a Scottish warrior but had to return to the 1940s to save their unborn child. The second time, 20 years later, she reunited with her lost love but had to leave behind the daughter that he would never see. Now Brianna, from her 1960s vantage point, has found a disturbing obituary and will risk everything in an attempt to change history.

    Frances M says: "You listened, Audible!"
    "Love in the form of an (audio) paperback!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It’s nearly impossible for me to rate any of Gabaldon’s books with fewer than 5 stars, and book four in the series is no exception. The book(s) is so good that I felt pangs of sadness as the remaining chapters dwindled… but that didn’t stop me from powering on through. I simply couldn’t stop!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (7640)
    Performance
    (5855)
    Story
    (5873)

    It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books.

    Shannon says: "Word Thief"
    "I loved it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This piercingly intimate portrayal of Nazi Germany, narrated by the voice of death and following the life of a German foster child, is beautifully written and unforgettable. I am always moved by themes like the power of words and/or books and how they can change lives so dramatically—for better or for worse. The Book Thief manages to delicately embody the charming magnificence of childhood while illustrating the gravity of wartime tragedy. It’s as if each moment of the book simultaneously holds exquisite beauty and searing heartbreak. But all in all, it’s a story of grace, resilience, and the power of words. I absolutely loved it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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