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Reserved Powers

Mom, birdwatcher, and online teacher

Michigan, United States | Member Since 2014

26
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 38 ratings
  • 150 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015
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  • Mrs. McGinty's Dead: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (86)

    Well, it's no wonder. The plot - suspicion for an elderly woman's murder falls on her mysterious lodger - is from Agatha Christie. The wonderful character happens to be the world's most famous sleuth, Hercule Poirot.

    Jane says: "Poirot at his finest."
    "Great Story, Excellent Narration, Classic Poirot!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Mrs. McGinty's Dead?

    Colorful characters, Quirky Poirot


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's got all the fun twists, intrigue, and dry humor you expect from Agatha Christie.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Poirot's summation, of course!


    Any additional comments?

    It's hard for me to find an Agatha Christie novel I haven't already read. Even though I think I read this novel many years ago in print, the audio version was thoroughly enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gnostic Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Randy Davila
    • Narrated By Rick Zieff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Jack Staunton, an American businessman, makes a pilgrimage to war-torn Israel in hopes of rekindling his Christian faith. While traveling with his friend Punjeeh, an ER doctor from Jerusalem, Jack acquires an ancient scroll written by the Gnostics, a mystical group of early Christians, and his spiritual quest takes an unexpected turn. The scroll makes the startling claims that the Gnostics were the original followers of Jesus, and that they retained secret knowledge of Jesus that was not included in the Bible.

    Kathi says: "Better as textbook than novel"
    "Explores Christianity in an Open-Minded Way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Gnostic Mystery again? Why?

    I might listen again. It had some interesting ideas I may want to revisit. I am a Christian, so before purchasing I was hoping it wasn't too anti-Christian. I would say that it is not anti-Christian overall. It certainly didn't shake my faith in any way. The author obviously has somewhat of an anti-Christian bias, as the most "enlightened" character is the professor who exposes possible historical inaccuracies in Bible stories.

    The Christian character is portrayed as naive and uninformed, and this makes him unrealistic. He's a successful businessman, but he's never heard of eating hummus or the Church making its' official holidays coincide with the dates of already established Pagan holidays? I mean I have probably heard this pagan connection hundreds of times in my life. It's no big revelation, as the book portrays. You might be able to find a ten-year-old who hasn't heard of the pagan roots of some Christian practices, but certainly not an otherwise intelligent grown man. He wouldn't have his world shaken so much by some professor he just met telling him her perspective on things as if it were the gospel truth (pun intended). I think he would need to be bit more worldly and confident to be a successful business owner. Perhaps the main character could have had a young nephew accompanying him on the trip to fulfill the role of the Blank Slate in order to make some of the scenes more believable. News Flash: Hummus is regularly served at social and business events in America!


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The side-plot of the Palestinian cousins was actually much more interesting than the main plot of Jack visiting his jaded friend.


    If you could take any character from The Gnostic Mystery out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    It would be the two cousins who find the scroll. They are the most realistic and interesting characters in the book, and I would want to know more about their background and experiences.


    Any additional comments?

    Worth a listen for anyone interested in the history of Christianity and/or spiritual growth

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Insurgent: Divergent, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14098)
    Performance
    (12629)
    Story
    (12739)

    One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

    Lore says: "Decent but not as interesting as Divergent"
    "Amazing Story for Anyone Who Loves Books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Insurgent again? Why?

    Yes, I will listen to it again right before the third book comes out. It is an excellent tale, and I will need to refresh my memory.


    What other book might you compare Insurgent to and why?

    I have never read a book that so flawlessly interweaves observation of human nature with mystery and action. The only somewhat similar authors I can think of would be L. Frank Baum, C.S. Lewis, and Agatha Christie.


    Any additional comments?

    The fact that this author is only in her twenties is just stunning to me. She is a truly gifted writer, definitely touched by the Muses. My daughter and one of my students recommended this series to me. Readers of any age should not be turned away by the Young Adult label.

    Of course you should start by reading the first book, Divergent. Once I borrowed that first book from the library, I couldn't wait to read the next one, so that is why I ended up purchasing the second book from Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Jonathan Safran Foer
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman, Barbara Caruso, Richard Ferrone
    Overall
    (2461)
    Performance
    (1590)
    Story
    (1603)

    Jonathan Safran Foer's best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated, wowed critics on its way to winning several literary prizes, including Book of the Year honors from the Los Angeles Times. It has been published in 24 countries and will soon be a major motion picture. Foer's talent continues to shine in this sometimes hilarious and always heartfelt follow-up.

    Peter J. Maerz says: "Suffused my being..."
    "If you don't mind crude language, you might enjoy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Jonathan Safran Foer and/or the narrators?

    No, this book is obviously overrated. Try to get it from the library if you must read it.


    Has Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not necessarily, but it would be nice to know how graphic the language is before purchasing


    Do you think Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. Didn't like the first one.


    Any additional comments?

    I know that these days people enjoy potty humor and rude terms for pieces of female anatomy, but I find them offensive. If you are like me, don't bother purchasing this book.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Unstuff Your Life: Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Andrew J. Mellen
    • Narrated By Andrew J. Mellen
    Overall
    (1342)
    Performance
    (1119)
    Story
    (1090)

    Arguably the most organized man in America, Andrew J. Mellen has created unique, lasting techniques for streamlined living, bringing order out of chaos for a client list that includes attorneys, filmmakers, and even psychologists. With Unstuff Your Life! he puts his powerful program in the hands of his widest audience yet.

    Angela says: "My lightbulb moment"
    "Personal Life Coach At A Reasonable Price!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Unstuff Your Life in three words, what would they be?

    Motivating, Practical, Energizing


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unstuff Your Life?

    Each of the times when Andrew says something like "Go do this. Now. I'll wait."


    What does Andrew J. Mellen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He has a way of making it seems like he is really talking to you through the book, so it is inspiring to try to complete the tasks laid out.


    What insight do you think you’ll apply from Unstuff Your Life?

    I've already revamped several systems in my house. My pantry is organized with labels, and my mail is all in one place. This book is a good jump start to getting organized.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a little difficult to apply his time frame of thirty days, when you have young children like I do. I just had to adapt the time frame to my situation. He occasionally makes concessions for the concept of other people living in the house, but it is mostly geared toward single people. It is still possible to make this book apply to people with families, but if the author has children, I would be shocked! It's more of an attitude that the author gives off, but not an insurmountable barrier!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Desperate Passage: The Donner Party's Perilous Journey West

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Ethan Rarick
    • Narrated By Christopher Prince
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (390)
    Performance
    (313)
    Story
    (312)

    In late October 1846, the last wagon train of that year's westward migration stopped overnight before resuming its arduous climb over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, unaware that a fearsome storm was gathering force. After months of grueling travel, the 81 men, women and children would be trapped for a brutal winter with little food and only primitive shelter. The conclusion is known: by spring of the next year, the Donner Party was synonymous with the most harrowing extremes of human survival.

    Roger says: "I REALLY enjoyed this book"
    "Compelling Story, Excellent Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Desperate Passage again? Why?

    Yes, it is one of the few audiobooks that I have already listened to several times. Once you reach the end, the information about the main characters at the beginning becomes more interesting. The imagery that is evoked by the narration is powerful.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tamsen Donner was my favorite character. She tried to keep the semblance of a normal life for her daughters, telling them stories and fixing their hair, amidst great tragedy.


    Any additional comments?

    Inspiring story about all aspects of human nature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sociopath Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Martha Stout
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    Overall
    (2894)
    Performance
    (1857)
    Story
    (1855)

    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath.

    Taryn says: "Reinforces what you have already known"
    "Worth listening to, but nothing spectacular"
    Overall

    This was a fairly interesting book, with some good insights. It seems like the real-life examples could have been better. The author at the beginning states that the examples are "composites" and not actual persons. This takes away from the authenticity and seems like an unnecessary precaution.

    The author is so biased against Christianity and the West that it is almost laughable. For example, she laments the fact that a certain socipath may not have killed frogs if he were raised as a Buddhist. However, she blames the Romanian orphan crisis on an abortion prohibition. So apparently she can see the conscience issues in killing frogs, but not unborn children. She brings up modern pop-culture Eastern philosophers such as Thich Nhat Hanh, when discussing conscience, but completely ignores Western giants on conscience such as St. Augustine and Sophocles. Her writing would be more authentic if this bias were at least acknowledged. If the reader goes into this book realizing that they are only getting about half the story on conscience at best, then something could be gained.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Massacre at Mountain Meadows

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Ronald W Walker, Richard E Turley, Glen M Leonard
    • Narrated By Bill Dewees
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    On September 11, 1857, a band of Mormon militia, under a flag of truce, lured unarmed members of a party of emigrants from their fortified encampment and, with their Paiute allies, killed them. More than 120 men, women, and children perished in the slaughter.

    Reserved Powers says: "I should have read the other reviews first."
    "I should have read the other reviews first."
    Overall

    At least I got this on sale. This book was incredibly tedious and monotonous. Unlike other books on historical events, the authors seemed to make almost no attempt to make us care about the individuals involved. Contrast this book with "Desperate Passage", for example, which was about the events surrounding the Donner Party. In "Desperate Passage", we receive a lot of background on the individuals involved--why they moved West, who was in their family, what their personalities were like, etc. So when we got to the main drama of the story, we were fascinated by what happened to the characters we had come to invest in. In "Massacre at Mountain Meadows", we are given almost no reason to care about either the perpetrators or the victims of the massacre--although I do agree with the other review that says we are given more reasons to care about the perpetrators.

    I will admit that I only listened to 3/4 of this book before giving up. I rarely give up before the end. But after multiple times of falling asleep in the second half and then going back to try to find my place, I finally realized that I had no obligation to torture myself any longer. If you enjoy reading history textbooks for fun, you might get something out of this dry recitation of times and places. If you prefer tales of history that bring the story alive, try "Desperate Passage" instead.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Les Standiford, Joe Matthews
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    Before Adam Walsh there were no faces on milk cartons, no Amber Alerts, no National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, no federal databases of crimes against children, no pedophile registry. His 1981 abduction and murder, unsolved for over a quarter of a century, forever changed America.

    Reserved Powers says: "Well-told from the Law Enforcement Perspective"
    "Well-told from the Law Enforcement Perspective"
    Overall

    The story of the abduction of Adam Walsh is often told from the point of view of his father, John Walsh. While the parents' story is also told in this book, the details of the police investigation and the many mistakes of the early stages is the focus here. You will be shocked at how much information that the detective in charge chose to ignore as he made the parents continue to suffer for decades. The story is quite graphic at times, and foul language is used in the context of quotations. It is a gripping story and commentary on the failure and ultimate redemption of law enforcement in this case.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Objection!

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Nancy Grace, Diana Clehane
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    As host of Closing Arguments on Court TV and Nancy Grace on CNN Headline News, Nancy Grace has won legions of devoted fans with her intelligent, plainspoken approach to the law. A passionate advocate of victims' rights and outspoken critic of the often circus-like atmosphere surrounding high-profile cases, Grace addresses the critical issues at the heart of the criminal justice system.

    Dawn Dix says: "Non-Apologetic & Spunky"
    "Well-done!"
    Overall

    Great narration. Interesting and thought-provoking. Nancy Grace has a fascinating personal story that explains her motivation for her life's work. She has a unique perspective and fresh information on victim's rights and on many famous cases.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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