STORY - Something About You is a sexy romance story commingled with an FBI investigation. Due to animosity between Jack and Cameron, the romance moves slowly in the beginning but kicks into high gear by the end. The murder investigation has a lot going on, too, so there's more than just the romance to keep things interesting.
I previously listened to Book 3 in this series, titled "About That Night," which is my #1 favorite romance novel to date. This book is almost as good but not quite. I love this series because I like contemporary romances with smart, sexy, witty characters and also the legal/FBI aspect that is the background for the series. Julie James writes only a couple of steamy scenes into her books, which is just the right amount, in my opinion. The books stand alone so they can be read out of order, but Book 3 (which I read first) had some minor references to Cameron and Jack that were supposed to be updates but meant nothing to me because I hadn't heard their story (It's not a big deal, though).
PERFORMANCE - I wish Karen White would narrate more romance novels. Her natural voice is low enough to actually sound decent when she does a man's voice. I hate it when the couple is getting amorous and Romeo sounds like a wimp!
OVERALL - (Precise rating 4.5) Highly recommended as long as you like or are not offended by hot scenes and a moderate amount of cursing.
STORY (personal memoir) - Heard great things about the movie, so had to at least listen to the book. As you can see from the title, this story is about a four-year-old boy, Colton Burpo, who goes to the hospital, has a near-death experience, goes to heaven and comes back. I really wanted to love this story and hoped it would lay to rest some burning questions...but it just didn't. It starts with a great interview with Todd Burpo (dad). Then the story begins by enumerating a lot of the health problems he had been having and how these tested his faith. Then it moves to little Colton's mysterious illness and all the hours the family spent trying to get him cured. Poor Colton really suffered for a couple weeks, and his parents suffered right along with him. After Colton comes home from the hospital, he starts revealing little things that start suggesting that perhaps he had been to heaven. I thoroughly enjoyed and believed the book till somewhere around his fourth or fifth revelation. Then we get to what made the story less believable...
First off, Colton's father is a pastor, so if little Colton says something like, "Hey, Dad, I saw an angel," Pastor Burpo starts comparing what Colton says to something in the Bible that supposedly validates his story. Second, almost everything Colton revealed went like this, "Hey, Dad"... (insert religious fact here) ... "and then he went off to play with his action heroes and left us standing there aghast." Thirdly, it's like nothing is left out, it's too perfect. Colton supposedly saw Jesus and God and John the Baptist and Mary and angels and the devil and golden streets and thrones and blah, blah. Then Colton starts repeating "Jesus loves us all" all the time. Sounds just like reading a religious pamphlet. It would have been much more believable had his dad not been a pastor with so much to gain by preaching every chance he got and if everything weren't tied up with a perfect little Bible bow.
I'll sum up by saying that Pastor Burpo sounds like a genuinely nice guy and I am not calling him a liar. I'm just saying this story was not 100% believable when heard with MY ears and processed through MY brain. It was, however, a short, enjoyable listen.
PERFORMANCE - Read by a male who did a pretty good job, especially when portraying young Colton.
OVERALL - I'd recommend this for anyone who might be interested in the subject matter, and you can make up your own mind whether you believe the story or not. It's interesting and entertaining, if nothing else. Probably should be previewed before letting younger children listen, mainly because of all Colton's suffering in the hospital.
STORY (self-help/motivational) - I used to just be a social drinker. Now I look forward to a glass of wine, sometimes two, most days after work. I've gained weight and feel guilty that I'm probably harming my health. I've made efforts to stop drinking during the week at home, but that bottle of wine always finds a way to jump off the shelf and into my shopping cart. If it doesn't, I just steal a couple beers from my hubby's weekend stash. NOT GOOD!!
This book is motivational, but it also has lots of scientific information. You will hear how alcohol is an ADDICTIVE DRUG that would not obtain an FDA approval of safety if it were introduced today. It has become socially acceptable, almost necessary. We have been brainwashed by the alcohol industry into thinking it makes us more relaxed, more confident, more fun, more sexy and that we are SUPPOSED TO DRINK at social occasions. You will hear the words in my headline over and over during this book, and you will hear why ALL drinkers are playing Russian roulette with potential addiction. Bottom line is we all need to see it for what it is and stop drinking.
Mr. Beck lays out a multi-prong attack for stopping consumption of this poison. It involves understanding the harm alcohol does to your body and its addictive properties. He suggests ways to change how you look at alcohol (including listening to a recording on his website which reprograms your subconscious mind). He also suggests the reader purchase a few supplements, which makes perfect sense when you understand why you need them. He suggests a few "new age" techniques which he admits may sound far-fetched to more traditional thinkers (myself included), but I plan to at least give them a try. I want to stop gaining weight, sleep better and stop doing harm to my body with this poison.
PERFORMANCE - The writer is a great motivational speaker and does a good job reading his own work. He has a pleasant British accent.
OVERALL - If you regularly consume alcohol and want to learn why you should stop drinking and how to do it, this book just might be what you're looking for.
STORY (scientific memoir) - Working Stiff gives listeners an unusual and exciting glimpse into the world of Medical Examiners, told through the eyes of a young female doctor who is beginning her training in that field. You will hear tales of investigations into all kinds of deaths, from natural causes to drug overdose, murder, suicide, even due to the catastrophe at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Not only do Medical Examiners perform autopsies, but they also must perform their own investigations into crime scenes, ballistics, lab work, etc., before determining the cause of death to be put on death certificates. They also consult with the police and testify in trial. The entire book is totally fascinating...and totally gross.
I am a squeamish person, I'll admit, and I don't like watching violence or my husband's blood-and-guts action shows on TV, but I didn't have any trouble listening to this book. Hearing is not seeing, so I was fine...except once. I was cooking dinner when she launched into a dissertation about maggots, so I quickly turned the book off. That being said, I really loved the science behind her investigations and autopsies. I took a course in medical terminology in college, which helped me understand different procedures and body parts, but I think most listeners will be fine without that additional training.
PERFORMANCE - I really enjoyed Ms. Eby's performance. She has a pleasant, upbeat voice. Some reviewers have criticized her as being too perky and dramatic, but I thought that helped make the whole subject matter more palatable. She also does a really good job of performing men's voices, way better than most attempts by female narrators. She talks at a pretty fast clip, but I was able to understand fine without having to slow it down.
OVERALL - Recommended for men and women, adults only. As I said, I'm pretty wimpy and still was okay with this book, but it's definitely not for the faint of heart. There are graphic descriptions of how dead people are found and how their autopsies are performed. The author drops a few F-words as well.
STORY (true sports documentary) - First off, I'm female and I love high school football. I heard about this incredible story when researching how my own team's winning streak (54 games) stacked up against past streaks. This book is about a great accomplishment, a great coaching program and a great philosophy for kids to learn, but football is meant to be watched, not heard, and there is so much history about the school and details about past and current players that I wanted to quit listening multiple times and just review this as "Could Not Finish." From watching previews, it appears that the movie (which is dramatized) would be much more entertaining than this book, plus it's only two hours. My advice is GO SEE THE MOVIE INSTEAD!!
There are wonderful lessons to be learned, however. One of my favorite quotes by the head coach, Bob Ladouceur, is "Victories are a byproduct of a larger vision." There are so many good lessons in this book that I actually feel guilty giving it a bad review.
PERFORMANCE - Mr. Linton's performance isn't terrible, but I found it pretty irritating. He has a pleasant voice, but he often has a broken rhythm and emphasizes the wrong word in a sentence. Then what really drove me crazy was his pronunciation of the word "self." He says it "salf." Maybe it's just that I'm used to Texas accents but I cringed every time I heard himsalf, yoursalf, mysalf. Scream!
OVERALL - I would only recommend this book to (a) people closely affiliated with this school and its story or (b) opposing coaches or players who might be interested in all the details about what made this football program so dominating. It's a very "clean" book ( no sex or bad language) and It's inspirational, but I'm very, very glad it's over!
STORY (suspense) - I listened to one of the later books in this series and liked it enough to try Book 1, then this Book 2. I must confess that now I'm going to attempt to listen to the whole humongous series in order. Yes, it's that good. It's set somewhere around the year 2050 in New York, so there are some cool futuristic gadgets. Eve Dallas, the main character, is a young police lieutenant who is dedicated to her job. Her romantic interest, Roark, is a sexy billionaire. In each book of the series Eve faces a new crime, and in each book the romance with Roark progresses a little bit more.
This book, Glory in Death, begins with the murder of a famous female attorney. Her throat is cut as she is leaving a bar late at night on the wrong side of town. Why was she there? Had someone she had prosecuted in the past killed her out of revenge? Could it be her ex-husband? The story is fast-paced with great characters. First and foremost, it is about finding the murderer, but the romance between Eve and Roark is sweet and sexy and is a nice filler between the more intense scenes.
PERFORMANCE - Not only is this series well-written, but it's also very well-performed. Susan Ericksen does a wonderful job of distinguishing between characters and portraying their various emotions. Love the robotic voice she gives to the droids!
OVERALL - Great book! Highly recommended for anyone who likes this genre. Probably would appeal more to women since there's romance and the main character is female, but pretty sure guys would enjoy it as well. Eve has a bit of a potty mouth so be prepared for some F words and other expletives, but I wouldn't say it's excessive. The sex scenes are hot but they don't last long and aren't very explicit. The story stands alone and the mystery is solved within this book, but the romance between Eve and Roark continues...
STORY (French gothic classic) - I absolutely loved the play, which I saw in New York several years ago. This book isn't nearly as awesome -- no beautiful voices, costumes, stage effects, etc., but what it does is fill in the gaps of the story. Who is the Phantom? Is he real? Where did he come from? Why does he wear the mask? How does the story really end? These questions will be answered after you listen to this book. It is the original classic which inspired the plays, the operas, the movies.
The story takes place in (and under) a famous opera house in 19th Century Paris. It is basically a tragic love story about a hideously deformed creature who is obsessed with a young opera prima donna. Strange and horrible things happen in the opera house between performances and during them, and the Phantom (who supposedly lives under the opera house) is credited with causing them. The story is beautifully written and very engaging, but one thing I would criticize is that, as an American, I had a hard time keeping all the French names straight. Unfortunately, many of them sounded the same to me and I would end up getting characters confused, but I was able to keep the main characters straight so I suppose all is well.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator is male with a French accent. He does a good job but he doesn't attempt to distinguish between characters, so that will never receive over a three in my rating system.
OVERALL (actual rating 3.5) - Recommended for all lovers of the Phantom of the Opera in order to answer questions left after watching the play or the movie. The book isn't awesome, but it's enjoyable and informative. The language is clean and there are no sexual references, but be prepared for a dark story revolving around a very sad, disturbed main character.
STORY (zombie fiction) - Audible categorizes this book as Teens Age 11-13, but I disagree. The main character (Benny) has just turned 15, and during the book he grows up in a very bleak California after the zombie apocalypse. I can definitely imagine adults enjoying this book if you are drawn to the subject matter. I am totally not a zombie listener, but I purchased this book because it seemed like it would have a good coming-of-age story underlying all the zombie violence. It does. Benny learns about survival, truth, morality and love. (This is definitely not a romance, but Benny does fall for a sweet girl).
The problem I had with the story is that it moves slowly, IMHO. Yes, there's lots of zombie killing and action, and many people have given glowing reviews. Maybe I just dislike the zombie genre more than I think I do. Even though the story is sweet, it wasn't enough to hold my interest through all the action and violence. I will say that the book is well-written and has some great characters.
PERFORMANCE - Good job, but nothing special about it.
OVERALL - I'd recommend this book for teens older than 13 and for adults, but you probably need to be someone who really enjoys zombie books to thoroughly enjoy this story. There's lots of gross zombie descriptions and lots of killing. Other than that, it's a pretty clean book -- no sex and only minor profanity, if any. This is Book 1 of a series, but it stands alone. I won't be continuing the series.
STORY (comedy) - Cabin Pressure is apparently a British radio show about a zany private airline crew. I didn't count, but there were maybe five short episodes in this audiobook. The characters are likeable and some of the situations are clever and made me chuckle, but for the most part I was only moderately entertained.
PERFORMANCE - This series is done by a wonderful professional cast, all with British accents and distinguishable voices. It sounds much like watching a sitcom, complete with a live audience and lots of great sound effects. Five-star performance, for sure.
OVERALL - This series is apparently popular and highly rated but not my cup of tea. If you like British humor, you probably should check it out. It's very "clean" with no sexual references, violence or bad language.
STORY (contemporary romance) - This story is set in present day Australia. The female lead (Anthea) is a successful actress and the male lead (Cole) is a blind farmer. She comes to his farm so she can prepare to audition for a role as a farmer's wife. She lies about who she is because (a) he's blind and won't know and (b) she tormented him in school as a child because he was a poor farm boy. But he's also deceiving her because he knows who she really is. Anyway, it's complicated, but they begin a relationship.
And what a relationship it is!! Cole has never had a girlfriend before because he never leaves his farm, but he listens to romance novels so he knows how women like to be loved and treated. He's so gentle and sweet and romantic I think I'm in love with him! The only reason I didn't rate the book a five is because I wasn't crazy about the first part. You have to wait for it a little, but it's worth it in the end.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator has a lovely voice and does a good job. Her Australian accent is refreshingly different.
OVERALL (actual rating 4.5) - There's a couple pretty sexy scenes, but they're very sweet and not overly explicit. I don't recall any bad language. This is definitely a feel-good book for those who enjoy sweet romances with awesome endings.
STORY (mystery) - Syndrome E is an enjoyable book, but not something you want to listen to as you're trying to fall asleep! As the summary suggests, it's based around a violent film containing subliminal images which cause strange behavior in others. A young female cop and an older male detective work together to solve the mystery of the film and the murders it has inspired. Most of the story takes place in France and Belgium, but there are trips to Canada and Egypt to follow leads. There are scenes in the film which are gruesome, and there are mutilations involved with the murders. I wouldn't have been able to listen to these murders as they occurred but, thankfully, they are all described after the fact with just a brief description of the atrocities.
The final solution to the mystery of the film is interesting but it's pretty far-fetched. I still had questions left unanswered in the end, and I'm not sure if the story is to blame or the fact that I was only able to listen to it in lots of short, disjointed sessions.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator is male with what I would call a French accent. His voice is very low, which I think works perfectly with the sinister plot of this book.
OVERALL (actual rating 3.5) - I would recommend this for mature men/women who might find psychological manipulation interesting and are fine with violent scenes. There's a teeny bit of romance and even a teenier bit of sex. Oh, and a small amount of profanity.
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