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Shay Bella

Favorite Genres: Urban/Preternatural Fantasy, Science Fiction, Knitting Favorite Story Components: character development, under-dog success stories

ratings
159
REVIEWS
38
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
34

  • Touch of Frost: Mythos Academy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jennifer Estep
    • Narrated By Tara Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (335)
    Performance
    (301)
    Story
    (307)

    My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy - a school of myths, magic, and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things.

    Hassan says: "I'm Shocked!! It Was Really Good"
    "A Fun Listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was well narrated, with Ms. Sands bringing a bit of something extra to the reading.

    The story itself was well written with good characterization and character building, a strong plot that kept to a just-right pacing (neither slow, nor so fast that you had to listen to every single word to avoid confusion).

    Folks who have listened to Ms. Estep's adult series, Elemental Assassin, will find some references to Gin Blanco's world, but there's no mention of elemental magicians, dwarves, vampires, or giants as common-place members of society.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Dr. Dolittle

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Hugh Lofting
    • Narrated By David Case
    Overall
    (675)
    Performance
    (579)
    Story
    (587)

    No one loves and understands animals like the eccentric 19th century physician Dr. Dolittle, who masters animal language with the help of Polynesia the parrot. After his human patients desert him, the kind-hearted doctor finds his calling in practicing animal medicine, and his fame spreads far and wide. When a terrible epidemic breaks out among monkeys in Africa, Dr. Dolittle sets out to save them, accompanied by some of his favorite pets.

    Stacey says: "Has racist undertones"
    "the art of writing has come a long way since"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not sure the headline doesn't say it all, but for those who need clarification, the cultural mores have definitely shifted a great deal in between the original publication and the 21st century. I'm not just speaking of how different the attitudes concerning ethnicity have changed. Ideals of sentence structure, character development, and plotting have all come a long way, too.

    That said, taking into account the differences betwixt and between the then of its original publication date and now, it was an interesting diversion. The narration was suitably professional, though his voice wasn't to my taste.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • PhiLOLZophy: Critical Thinking in Digestible Doses

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Chrissy Stockton, Sarah Heuer
    • Narrated By Theresa McCarthy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (410)
    Performance
    (362)
    Story
    (368)

    A popular question in philosophy is "How do I know I exist?" That seems really boring, though. How about, "How can I use logic to get over my ex?" If you really love wisdom, you love it in all situations - you don't need to be spoon fed unsolved problems in philosophy, because you're already analyzing the US Weekly you’re reading or your kinda significant other. Sarah Heuer and Chrissy Stockton are writers living in Minneapolis who are determined to do something more interesting with their philosophy degrees than talk about dead white guys.

    John B. Hayes says: "The Worst Example of Critical Thinking I've Seen"
    "Written to Be Read, Not Heard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's an interesting set of essays linking practical philosophy and real life, but the transition parts aren't quite as easy on the ears as they sound like they should be on the eyes. The narrator, however, does a very good job of extending the personal quality of the writing. It works a lot better when she has whole sentences to read. There are lots of sentence fragments used as emphasis.

    The author definitely pulls off putting philosophy into plain speech, dropping all the pomposity of abstracted intellectualism normally associated with philosophy. There are no "how many angels could dance on the head of a pin?" conversations. There are a lot of examples, like how learning about the different types of philosophy can be applied to getting over a bad break up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Iron King: The Iron Fey, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Julie Kagawa
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1402)
    Performance
    (1065)
    Story
    (1080)

    Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth--that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war.

    Arwen says: "I found this mediocre"
    "Needs Polish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The premise of the book is kind of fun, but it was not easy to get into. Mainly, the heroine is written with an unbelievable level of ignorance of "fairy tales", and the fey are written up like they were copied from Shakespeare's plays.

    The "unbelievable" about her ignorance comes in because there is never a clear (or even muddy) explanation of why she hasn't had even the briefest introduction to fairy stories, yet she's a white girl living in middle America. White girl. Middle America. That isn't just prime Euro-mutt territory, it's prime North and West Euro-mutt territory. Where most of the fairy stories come from? Yeah. So, that part bothered me a lot. Until about half way through, you don't even get a decent shot at guessing why she's such an utter dunder head.

    Relying on Shakespeare's conceptualization of the fey, also not a winner, but again, get past the half way point and the character building starts to pick up so they don't feel quite so ... cardboard.

    The narration wasn't half bad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Hannah B. Harvey
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (105)
    Story
    (105)

    An absolute treat for the heart and mind, these 24 lectures demonstrate how to master the art of storytelling, offering insight into the process of crafting and delivering a tale to enhancing the stories you tell everyday-to your children at bedtime, in your conversational anecdotes, and in your presentations at work. Teachers, lawyers, clergy, coaches, parents, and anyone who wants to understand the power of stories to capture hearts and minds will benefit from these lessons.

    Lance says: "Too many stories, not enough lecture"
    ""Storytelling" = public speaking storytelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this course would offer more on the crafting of the stories, but it focused mostly on how to convey stories in a face-to-face, public speaking manner, from sitting rooms to auditoriums. There were a lot of points that I could see translating into crafting a story for all mediums, but not as much as I was hoping for.

    I'm not taking stars off because I misunderstood what the intent was - that was my reading failure. What the course intended to cover, it covered well, though it didn't quite make it to an outstanding source.

    The performance I debated with myself over. The instructor in the course obviously thought there would be a visual component, and her style of story telling, used in examples, was not to my taste. When not actually "storytelling", her instructions were clear and to the point, and the rationale clearly explained. I much preferred her lecture voice to her story telling voice.

    In point of fact, I had more than a few occasions while listening where I thought that many of the narrators on Audible would benefit from this listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha
    • Narrated By Allyson Johnson, Jonathan Davis, Christopher Ryan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1654)
    Performance
    (1131)
    Story
    (1128)

    Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science - as well as religious and cultural institutions - has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man's possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman's fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing....

    Mark says: "too much focus on academic in-fighting"
    "Snicker Worthy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One thing that I would like is the reference list for the book. That's probably my one biggest complaint about non fiction on Audible is not getting the reference list.

    That aside, the book is well written and the arguments presented are well thought out and free from obvious flaws for the average listener.

    The first half of the book may be a bit slow and maybe a bit dry, but it lays out some foundation material for the second half of the book. When the authors got into the "material" evidence for their position, there were some snicker worthy euphemisms used. I shall never view a "beer fridge" quite the same, for instance.

    References to current media where arguments against the book's position are available were included in the text, with directions on where to find them before the authors provided rebuttals.

    I appreciated that the authors stopped short of trying to apply moral judgement to the modern Western civilization ideal of human sexuality, though they did help to provide a basis for a more ... realistic view of the difference between love and lust, and what that means for long term relationships.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pride Mates

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jennifer Ashley
    • Narrated By Traci Odom
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (391)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (350)

    To most, they are animals—even when in human form. They are to be collared and kept on the fringes of society, scorned because they are feared, hated for their extraordinary powers. And attorney Kim Fraser has to go right into the heart of their lair. It’s her job to defend those in need. But there’s absolutely nothing defenseless about Liam Morrissey. His soft Irish lilt and feline grace can’t disguise his sheer strength.

    Candateshia Pafford says: "Sooo Good! I am so into the Mate thing right now!!"
    "Slow start, needs some polish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Narration: It started off sounding like the story was recorded slower than it was played back, so the words were rapping out like bullets, and if there was any minor cadence changes, they got lost in the rapid speaking. Trying to listen on half speed took everything down too slow. However, the narration improved as the book went along, but the start was rocky.

    Story: With the exception of my major gripe below, it was an enjoyable listen that could have used a little more polishing.

    One of the more difficult things to get right is a world that's somewhat based off of ours. On one hand, it's easier to evoke an image with less words. On the other, if the author fails to provide a decent rational for significant divergences, it makes the whole story harder to enjoy. The level of government discrimination against shifters in this story was one of those unexplained over the top grumbles.

    The same social effect could easily have been achieved if the author had used a "right to discriminate" guarantee or something along those lines. Adding in a 20 year time frame to get used to shifters and not having any mention of shifter groupies or other fringe pro-shifter or at least shifter-neutral forces in human society was a failure in world building.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4687)
    Performance
    (4219)
    Story
    (4303)

    The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume in the trilogy, tells of the fateful power of the One Ring. It begins a magnificent tale of adventure that will plunge the members of the Fellowship of the Ring into a perilous quest and set the stage for the ultimate clash between the powers of good and evil.

    Ellen says: "At last - The Definitive Recording!"
    "My husband like it better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think this is one of the wordy books that just works better for me to read it than hear it, and there are a few of those. My husband enjoyed the experience more than I did, maybe because he could empathize with the narrator a bit better.

    Mr. Inglis came across a bit like an aged (though professional) fan-boi as he was reading, and it had the same effect for me as someone trying not to laugh at their own joke - a bit too eager, a bit too excited, a bit too, too much for a first time listener to catch the funny part of the joke.

    That made it harder for me to pay attention to the story - especially with all the funky linguistics - which made the story have less impact. Knowing how much everyone else I know who has read the story has enjoyed it, I'm figuring I'll get to bump up the story rating after I actually read it for myself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nine Princes in Amber: The Chronicles of Amber, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Roger Zelazny
    • Narrated By Alessandro Juliani
    Overall
    (1543)
    Performance
    (1387)
    Story
    (1403)

    Amber is the one real world, of which all others including our own Earth are but Shadows. Amber burns in Corwin's blood. Exiled on Shadow Earth for centuries, the prince is about to return to Amber to make a mad and desperate rush upon the throne.

    Joe says: "Great begining of the series"
    "A good start :)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As the summary says, this is the first of a 10 book series, and it kicks things off well.

    Narration first. Mr. Juliani has an excellent reading voice, and managed the feminine voices without much trouble. There were sections when it seemed like the reading was on 1.5x speed, but for the most part the tempo was just about right. I'll be more likely to pick up something with him reading.

    I have had a number of people recommend Zelazny to me as a Science Fiction author, and as someone who's more into the new Sci Fi than the older works, I was hesitant to give him a go. As I've matured, my reading tastes have changed to prefer character development, especially internal growth, to broad social commentary, which is what I was expecting given the people who were recommending Mr. Zelazny's work.

    While this was neither social commentary, nor quite about character development, it was still a good story. The hero of the story starts off with no clue who he is, and as he uncovers more about his past, the story sucks you into a larger scale plot.

    It wasn't the story type that I typically like, and yet I like it anyhow, which I find to be the mark of a good storyteller.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wicked Cravings: The Phoenix Pact, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Suzanne Wright
    • Narrated By Jill Redfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1360)
    Performance
    (1245)
    Story
    (1246)

    Wolf shifter Jaime Farrow has a secret. And no one - not her Alpha, not her best friend, and most definitely not gorgeous Dante Garcea - can know the truth. She thinks keeping her little “problem” under wraps from Dante won’t be so tough; after all, he’s ignored her for years, despite her best attempts at flirtation. But though Jaime is determined to face her problem alone, nothing can stop her from wanting him.... As Beta, Dante is responsible for the protection and safety of his entire pack. If a wolf is hiding something that could endanger the others, it’s his business to know about it....

    Jordy says: "Just as awesome as the first book in this series!"
    "A fun listen if you know what you're getting into"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First off, this was a fun listen with good narration and a good plot. I'm looking forward to more in the series.

    The characters are well developed, and there are enough hooks about the support cast to get you to want to know what happens to them, and what happens next in the plot.

    Ms. Wright also created a back story for her preternatural beings that gives them a believable reason to be less romantic and more ... lustful is probably the best word. And that's my hold back from giving this book a 5 star rating.

    This is not a book to listen to around the under 18 crowd. If it had a rating, it would be at least NC17, if not XXX.

    All the characters cuss like sailors, and Ms. Wright doesn't seem to know how to write a sex scene that isn't pornographic. Nearly all of the physical contact between the main characters is sexualized to the point where they seem more in lust with each other than in love, and during the sex scenes there really aren't any "feel the love" moments, just a lot of "feel the sensations" and "can't wait for the culmination".

    That said, the sex scenes are really well written porn, and Ms. Redfield reads them well. She conveys the intensity of the scenes without going so heavy into the reading that it turns voyeuristic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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