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Steven

Martinsville, VA, USA | Member Since 2004

ratings
287
REVIEWS
13
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
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HELPFUL VOTES
47

  • Walking in Circles Before Lying Down: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Merrill Markoe
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (31)

    Twice-divorced Dawn's only source of security and comfort, it seems, is Chuck, a pit-bull mix from the pound. So, when her boyfriend announces that he's leaving her for another woman, a despairing Dawn turns to Chuck for solace. "I should have said something sooner," Chuck confides, as he tries to console her. "Couldn't you smell her on his pants?" Dawn is stunned. It's one thing to talk to your pets, but what do you do when they start talking back?

    Steven says: "Doesn't Quite Carry it Off"
    "Doesn't Quite Carry it Off"
    Overall

    It's not that the book is horrible, but it just doesn't carry out the promise in the title or blurb. There are some good moments of humor as well as pathos and crisis, but it's mediocre fare.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thereby Hangs a Tail: A Chet and Bernie Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Spencer Quinn
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (580)
    Performance
    (361)
    Story
    (362)

    While Bernie continues his struggle to pay the bills, Chet - with his sharp nose and even sharper teeth - keeps bringing down the perps. Told from Chet's perspective and featuring the humorous ramblings of a dog, Thereby Hangs a Tail is another winner.

    Deborah says: "I laughed out loud throughout this book"
    "with Tail wagging ...."
    Overall

    Having thoroughly enjoyed the first Chet & Bernie mystery, I was delighted to find the second, and I was not disappointed. Again, the character of Chet comes through and rings true -- dog lovers will recognize the mannerisms and behaviors in their own dogs. And even if he tends to repeat himself or wonder off into wild tangents, well, dogs do that! The mystery was a bit better this time, too.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • All About Sam

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Lois Lowry
    • Narrated By Bryan Kennedy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    At last, Sam, Anastasia Krupnik's irrepressible little brother, gets a chance to tell his own story. From his first days at the hospital, through his Terrible Twos, to his first days at nursery school, we see what Sam is really like. But things are never quite what they seem.

    Kimberly Wishon says: "Most Fun"
    "Charming and Adorable!"
    Overall

    Let me state first that I'm way too old for books like this, but I've found a great deal to admire in young adult and juvenile fiction lately. On more than one occasion in the first part of the book, I thought about stopping, but I am so glad that I didn't! Sam's escapades are just fun -- and maybe they take you back to a time when you misunderstood terms and phrases that adults use that just don't make sense to a literal thinker! Sam is a real charmer!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fairy-Tale Detectives: The Sisters Grimm

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Michael Buckley
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (697)
    Performance
    (494)
    Story
    (506)

    The recently orphaned Sisters Grimm find out from their Granny, who they thought was dead, that they're descendents of the legendary Brothers Grimm. Now they must take over the family responsibility of being fairy tale detectives in a town where fairy tales are real. Their first case: a giant is destroying the town and it may have something to do with a boy named Jack and a certain famous beanstalk.

    Tina says: "Funny twists"
    "Share it with Your Kids!"
    Overall

    Okay, it's not Harry Potter, but it's enchanting in it's own way. The characters are well done, and the story is clever.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Rodrick Rules: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Jeff Kinney
    • Narrated By Ramone de Ocampo
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (59)

    Jeff Kinney's highly anticipated sequel to his #1 New York Times best-selling Diary of a Wimpy Kid chronicles Greg Heffley's creative efforts to dodge middle school hazards, dazzle the girls, avoid talent shows, and - above all - guard his embarrassing secret. Ramón de Ocampo's spot-on narration enhances Kinney's authentic portrait of adolescent angst and madcap hilarity.

    Anne Antonelli says: "My 8 year old son loves these books!"
    "Maybe you do need to see the drawings!"
    Overall

    I really enjoyed the first book, partially because Ramone de Ocampo does such a brilliant job as narrator. And he does a great job in this sequel, but I find I have more and more difficulty trying to sympathize with the main character. Okay, he was a whiny little brat in the first book, but the schtick starts to run thin in the second. I read in a review of the first book that it really helped to see the drawings that accompanied the text in the book version -- I didn't know that there were drawings!

    Kids may enjoy the book -- and there were some really good moments in it, but adults will tire of this character quickly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dog on It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Spencer Quinn
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    Overall
    (1170)
    Performance
    (696)
    Story
    (694)

    In this, their first adventure, Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of Madison, a teenage girl who may or may not have been kidnapped, but who has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters.

    Maggie says: "Great entertainment!"
    "It Rings True!"
    Overall

    Okay, so maybe the mystery wasn't so mysterious -- it was still good. But the true pleasure of the book was hearing it through the voice of the faithful dog! Chet comes across as a dog, through and through, and dog lovers will recognize him and see so much of their own faithful companions in him that they will be as charmed as I was. Yeah, it was a little bit disappointing that Bernie didn't get the mystery quicker, but he did keep at it -- dare I say -- doggedly! And if things depended a little too much on luck, these things do happen! I look forward to the next Bernie & Chet mystery!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo: Book One

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Obert Skye
    • Narrated By E.B. Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (53)

    Fourteen-year-old Leven Thumps (a.k.a. "Lev") is no ordinary boy, but that's exactly what Sabine and his dark shadows want him to believe. They know the fate of the world and the dreams of all mankind can be saved by one boy with a powerful gift, one he has yet to understand or control. Enter Clover, a funny foot-high sidekick; Winter, a girl who can freeze things; and Geth, the rightful heir to the dream world of Foo. Three transplants with only one mission: to retrieve Leven and save Foo.

    Victoria says: "Great for young teens"
    "A Good Listen for Younger Audiences"
    Overall

    Despite the fact that the characters in this book are 14, the book was obviously written for the preteen or tween set. The book has a certain number of the "young audience" fantasy archetypes: the kid stuck in cruel circumstances, the wise mage to lead him on his quest, the evil enemy bent on controlling the world -- and thus, quite accidentally, destroying it. But the nature of Foo -- the land where all human dreams come from, makes this a little bit different.

    I will not tell you it's great, because it is not! But younger audiences should appreciate and enjoy it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By E. Lockhart
    • Narrated By Caitlin Greer
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (8)

    At the Manhattan School for Art and Music, where everyone is "different" and everyone is "special", Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. She's the kind of girl who sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of Spider-Man, so she won't have to talk to anyone; who has a crush on Titus but won't do anything about it; who has no one to hang out with when her best (and only real) friend Katya is busy.

    Tom says: "A WHOLE lot of fun!"
    "Great Listen"
    Overall

    My only real complaint was the euphemisms that the author used for various parts of anatomy -- gherkin was very overused! The story and the narration were excellent. I've often wondered what would happen if girls really understood boys and vice versa, too bad it can't really happen!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Stephen Chbosky
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    Overall
    (312)
    Performance
    (157)
    Story
    (156)

    Most people think 15-year-old Charlie is a freak. But then seniors Patrick and his beautiful stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wings and introduce him to their eclectic, open-minded, hard-partying friends. It is from these older kids that Charlie learns to live and love.

    Steven says: "A Great Listen, but ..."
    "A Great Listen, but ..."
    Overall

    Charlie writes letters to an anonymous "friend" describing his life and his attempts to make it through High School. Through these letters, we see a loner who's last days of middle school were marred by the suicide of the one kid he felt close to and his inability to stop crying about it. More than that, we see a boy who lives on the fringes until a teacher takes interest in him and pushes him to "participate in life" rather than just watching it pass him by. Taking a chance, he makes friends with a group of seniors who adopt him and grow to care for him a great deal, and he comes to feel the same way about them, but Charlie has some long-standing issues, issues that the author deals with beautifully, carefully and accurately describing anxiety disorder and depression and the effects that they can have.

    I must confess that I was not prepared for the final revelation at the end, and it hit far too close to home for my comfort, even though it dealt with difficult issues and situations with sensitivity. In a way, the author was a bit too accurate here, and I fear this book may not be appropriate for young teens. And, even though it left me with some internal turmoil, I did enjoy this book very much.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Dead Fathers Club

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Matt Haig
    • Narrated By Andrew Dennis
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (4)

    Eleven-year-old Philip Noble has a big problem. His dad has appeared to him as a member of the Dead Fathers Club, a club for "ghost dads" whose murders are unavenged. His father's road accident, it turns out, was no accident at all. Uncle Alan is responsible for his dad's death, and if Philip doesn't succeed in killing his uncle just before his dad's birthday, just 10 weeks away, his dad's spirit will never rest.

    Mary Evans says: "Unsatisfying Ending"
    "Overall, Well Done"
    Overall

    I very much enjoyed the book. The writing was well-done, the characters were interesting, and the story was just off-kilter enough to provide both humor and pathos. The narrator even does a pretty good job, presenting conversations in the kind of monotone that kids often use to relay such conversations. And I especially liked the way the author described and dealt with anxiety disorder and panic attacks.

    I see that other reviewers complained that the ending did not really resolve some of the issues. I didn't mind, I figure the kid has a few more years to settle those, and by then, he'll have a whole different set of issues!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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