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A. Musser

30-something engineer and audiobook addict.

Atlanta | Member Since 2013

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 27 ratings
  • 96 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015
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  • Reconstructing Amelia

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Kimberly McCreight
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (651)
    Performance
    (583)
    Story
    (587)

    When Kate, single mother and law firm partner, gets an urgent phone call summoning her to her daughter's exclusive private school, she's shocked. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, something that would be completely out of character for her over-achieving, well-behaved daughter. Kate rushes to Grace Hall, but what she finds when she finally arrives is beyond comprehension. Her daughter is dead.

    FanB14 says: "Gossip Girl"
    "Predictable but endearing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Reconstructing Amelia rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book is a good book, a compelling story, believable and likable characters, but it's predictable. So, I waivered between giving it 3 and 4 stars for the story. But I really did enjoy the story even if there weren't any twists or turns that I found thrilling or exciting.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Reconstructing Amelia?

    I think the dynamics of the clubs at the school are really interesting. It's hard to understand the dynamic of "mean girls" and why they do some of the things they do but this book really explores why girls that aren't mean would take part in hurting others.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene is a scene where Amelia is with her best friend Sylvia and describes her in her internal monologue. I can't remember the exact words she says but it was something along the lines of "Her heart is huge and wreckless." I can relate. Who doesn't know someone (or maybe is someone themselves) that falls in love easily and quickly and jumps in with both feet?


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Probably something about picking your friends carefully or the dark side of friendship.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a good listen, the narrator is great and does an excellent job of capturing the tone and inflections of high school girls....that "attitude" they all seem to be infected with.

    0 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Paying Guests

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Sarah Waters
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (747)
    Performance
    (673)
    Story
    (675)

    It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

    D says: "I Stuck With It Until the End Hoping For Something"
    "I appreciated the writing (er...reading?)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Paying Guests?

    The writing was excellent (judging solely from the audiobook, I have not read the print version) and good writing can cover a multitude of sins. It gives the characters more depth, allows you to get to know them slowly as if meeting someone in real life. It gets you really invested in each of the characters before the main plot happens so you feel like you're in it with them. Even the beginning where the author was laying out the background and introducing you to the characters, it didn't feel like it was dragging to me because the author took such care with the writing. The narrator did an excellent job.


    If you’ve listened to books by Sarah Waters before, how does this one compare?

    This is the first book I've listened to by Sarah Waters but I'd be interested in listening to others based on my experience with this one.


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

    No, but she is an excellent narrator and her accents didn't seem fake or forced. I very much appreciated the narration.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I found it stayed with me even when I wasn't reading. I thought about how I would perform in the scenarios faced by the characters. Would I be strong or weak and would I have given in to the suggestions of someone I was in love with in that kind of scenario or would I have kept my head about me and been more logical and rational? I could see bits of my own personality in the two main characters in the story. I felt anxious mirroring the main character's anxiety as she dealt with the aftermath of the choices she and her friend made. I even felt the color drain from my face a few times reading the story when I was worried they'd be exposed. I don't want to reveal too much but because the author took such care to introduce us to the characters and I found parts of their personality similar to mine, I felt involved in the plot more than I would typically for this type of story.


    Any additional comments?

    While I wouldn't put it in my list of favorite books ever, it was one that held my attention and I found myself pondering it even after I finished listening to it. I would recommend it with the only caveat that the reader may find the beginning a little slow. I found the writing was eloquent enough that I didn't mind the time the author took to lay the ground work for the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Leaving Time

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman, Abigail Revasch, Kathe Mazur, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2112)
    Performance
    (1905)
    Story
    (1905)

    Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts. Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest.

    Jan says: "Pickiest Reader Would Be Willing to Give 6 Stars"
    "The best Jodi Picoult book I've read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Leaving Time the most enjoyable?

    I used to read Jodi Picoult all the time but her writing started feeling sophomoric and I found myself getting bored with her work. I almost didn't buy this book except that another commenter noted that she also felt that Picoult was sophomoric and that this book really exceeded her expectations. I have to admit, it exceeded mine as well. I loved it. I thought about it when I wasn't listening and looked forward to my commute to have time to listen to it. I feel like this guided review would force me to reveal too much about the plot so I will just say that it's a fantastic book. It's the best book I've read by Picoult. I loved it. I loved every second of it.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Snow Child

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Eowyn Ivey
    • Narrated By Debra Monk
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1680)
    Performance
    (1470)
    Story
    (1458)

    Debut novelist Eowyn ivey’s experience living in the Alaskan wilderness brings a palpable authenticity to The Snow Child. Alaska in the 1920s is a difficult place for Jack and Mabel. Drifting apart, the childless couple discover Faina, a young girl living alone in the wilderness. Soon, Jack and Mabel come to love Faina as their own. But when they learn a surprising truth about the girl, their lives change in profound ways.

    Bonny says: "Magical, realistic and well worth listening to"
    "Disappointing Ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    This book felt like it just stopped instead of ended. Like the author wasn't sure how to end the story so she wrote until she just decided she was done. I was kind of surprised when it ended because it felt incomplete somehow. I'm not sure the last bit of the book that occurs in the spring time felt related to the main plot of the book. It almost felt like two different short stories smacked together.


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

    No, this was the first but I did enjoy the narrator's soothing voice. However, her voice was SO soothing that I couldn't listen while driving if I was tired because she'd soothe me right to sleep!


    Do you think The Snow Child needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Well, it did feel incomplete somehow but I don't think I'd want to read a follow-up.


    Any additional comments?

    It's possible that the author intended for the story to feel like it ended without giving the reader closure to mirror the feelings of the book characters about the child but it just felt incomplete.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Flowers for Algernon

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Daniel Keyes
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1587)
    Performance
    (1305)
    Story
    (1313)

    Charlie Gordon knows that he isn't very bright. At 32, he mops floors in a bakery and earns just enough to get by. Three evenings a week, he studies at a center for mentally challenged adults. But all of this is about to change for Charlie. As part of a daring experiment, doctors are going to perform surgery on Charlie's brain. They hope the operation and special medication will increase his intelligence, just as it has for the laboratory mouse, Algernon.

    FanB14 says: "Phenomenal Classic"
    "A bit depressing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Probably not to most people. Most of my friends would find this book depressing in spite of the compelling nature of the story.


    What other book might you compare Flowers for Algernon to and why?

    I can't think of another book but I might compare it to the movie Awakenings.


    What does Jeff Woodman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The way the main character's voice changes as he changes isn't something I would have really considered probably if I was reading the story. It probably enhanced the story to have those verbal cues.


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

    No. The plot was compelling but not in the kind of way that kept me from putting it down. I already had a good idea of how it would end.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a story that did make me think and the plot was compelling but I felt kind of depressed about it when I was finished.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Big Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4445)
    Performance
    (3981)
    Story
    (3978)

    Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.

    Sharon says: "New Liane Moriarty fans!"
    "I'd say it's average"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The plot was kind of "meh" for me. But, I listen to books while driving and the story did at least hold my interest enough for me to not be tempted to turn it off in favor of the radio. If you're looking for elegant literary prose and a through-provoking and compelling plot, this isn't your book. If you're looking for a pretty easy listen (like a beach read), this will probably fit the bill just fine.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Liane Moriarty? Why or why not?

    Probably not. The plot seemed a little sophomoric for my taste.


    What about Caroline Lee’s performance did you like?

    The narrator was the high point of the book for me. Her accents were great and her voices for the many different women in the story were perfect. I could easily identify who was talking by the voice she used which is pretty impressive considering how many female characters there are.


    Did Big Little Lies inspire you to do anything?

    Nope. This is not an inspiring book at all. Just a story.


    Any additional comments?

    The ending felt a little weird. After the climax of the book, it felt like it took a little too long to wrap up the story. The author tried to create a little inter-family post-climax drama and it sort of fell flat in my opinion. I don't think it was necessary and I think she skimmed far too lightly over the inevitable legal trial. The ending could have been much better but it just felt like it fizzled out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Divergent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19728)
    Performance
    (17776)
    Story
    (17931)

    In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    Jennifer says: "Rated for 1st book, reviewed for trilogy"
    "Very enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I read this because the movie was coming out and my girlfriends were all excited as each of them read the story. The premise pulled me in instantly and Tris becomes a character that is easy to love. I really enjoyed the audiobook but don't expect to read just the first book of the series and part ways if you're not impressed. They leave off on both of the first two books at a place that doesn't wrap up the story so you can't just stop, you have to keep going. This is a three-book commitment or nothing. If you're the type that enjoyed The Hunger Games, you'll enjoy this series. I liked the characters and the premise better than the Hunger Games but I found the ending disappointing (and I didn't like the third book of the Hunger Games either).

    0 of 0 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
    (28213)
    Performance
    (21836)
    Story
    (21922)

    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"
    "I wanted to love it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    If I'm being honest, I really WANTED to love this book. I wanted to watch the series and I thought understanding the story would be a benefit. But I found looooong stretches of the book terribly dull. I decide that I will just watch the series without listening to the rest of the audiobooks. I need an audiobook to have a bit more forward momentum between climaxes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By S. J. Watson
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (718)
    Performance
    (597)
    Story
    (596)

    "As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...." Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.

    Sara says: "A terrifying story"
    "Enjoyable listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I listened to this after listening to an audiobook that REALLY blew my socks off (The Martian by Andy Weir in case you're looking for an excellent listen) so it had its work cut out for it because I knew that whatever I chose wasn't likely to live up to the one I'd just finished. The reviews convinced me. I liked the narrator although her men's voices get kind of nasal and makes me automatically presume all the men are snobby and a bit unlikable when I don't think that's the author's intent. I wish she'd used a better voice for one of the male characters. I found him unlikable because of the voice and I think the story would have had more of the impact the author intended if I'd liked him more.

    However, the story is compelling. The main character is likable. It does a good job of keeping the forward momentum. The narrator speaks clearly and understandably. I did enjoy the book. I liked the way the story played out at the end but the "wrap up" after the climactic event felt a little cheesy.

    My biggest complaint is that the author doesn't leave tiny little seeds of subtle clues throughout the book of what is going to play out. Instead there's one big "hint" and I caught it and so I immediately knew what the plot twist would be, but I wasn't totally sure how it would play out exactly. I've been debating whether or not the hint would be as obvious to everyone because to me, it felt like a giant beacon of "LOOK AT THIS UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCE, THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER!" which is almost as frustrating as authors who leave hints far too esoteric and subtle for anyone to catch. I've realized that if at the end of a book with a twist, I don't have the urge to go back and re-listen/re-read the little seeds of information that lead up to the twist, I don't feel like the author did a very good job of it. And I did not have that feeling with this book. They felt too obvious and too placed to blend into the story seamlessly.

    That said, the writing is good. The main character is an author and so her own writings in the book reflect her ability to translate feelings into words easily, but I felt that her writings were often unrealistically long and intricate given the situation that the author wanted us to believe. Seemed too convenient that any time she wanted to write something important in secret, she magically got alone time to do it. I think it would have added to the plot and the suspense if there were at least a few overly hasty notes or interrupted thoughts in the main character's journal.

    Overall, I would recommend this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Allegiant: Divergent Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin, Aaron Stanford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9545)
    Performance
    (8696)
    Story
    (8795)

    What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation - like a single choice - changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected? The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times best-selling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of listeners in Divergent and Insurgent.

    Judy says: "What a let down!"
    "I hated the narrator they used for Tobias' voice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This final book in the Divergent series was the most disappointing. I still enjoyed the overall story but I have 3 complaints:

    1. It should have just been one long book. The series didn't divide the books up in a way that you could enjoy each as it's own stand-alone story. That is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. If you can't pick up book two and get enough info. to read it without book 1, it should be one book, not a series.

    2. I hated the narrator's voice for Tobias. He talked just a little too slow and sounded overly technical. Tobias was kind of a rough and tumble guy with a sweet side and the narrator never was able to capture all the pieces of his personality. He sounded flat.

    3. The ending could have been way better. I understand why the author did what she did but it wasn't the choice I would have made.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14040)
    Performance
    (13178)
    Story
    (13195)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "This is in my top 5 list!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I finished this audiobook in less than 2 days. I could think of nothing else. I am an engineer and this book tickled my brain with the science and technology while still using it
    to further the plot. It was one of the most compelling books I have ever listened to and I found myself sitting here just pondering it for hours after it was finished.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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