This is quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. The first hour is somewhat interesting. The middle is boring. The end is horrible and anti-climactic.
Peter Berkrot was a decent narrator. There just wasn't much for him to work with, here. The book begins with the death of a man in a house. The man's father had been found dead in the same house many years ago on the same day of the son's death, which makes the two deaths seemingly connected. The rest of the book is spent on boring journal entry after boring journal entry and boring interview after boring interview. I kept thinking..."it will get better." It only got worse. The last hour or so is pure smut with a really boring ending.
Save your money, your time, and your credits for something with a plot.
This book was not what I expected. I thought I would hear nothing but the history of one of my favorite foods, but instead I was treated to the story of a girl named Kate as she learned to be a professional sushi chef by attending a sushi academy in California. The history of the food was presented as an aside to the story, which was entertaining and educational.
Kate's story has ups and downs, elation and insecurity, but most importantly, it centers around the lesson that was should never give up on ourselves or our dreams. I know that sounds very Disney-like for a book about the history of sushi, but Trevor Carson interweaves Kate's story with so much history and information that his work could be used as a textbook.
I learned a great deal, not only about the history of sushi, but about the art of it. I learned how a sushi chef looks at it, and how the chef hopes that his/her customers will approach it. Personally, I will never eat sushi the same way again. I learned about mistakes I was making that inhibited my full enjoyment of this unique cuisine, how to order properly at a sushi bar, and the differences between true sushi and Americanized sushi.
The narrator did an impressive job narrating the general story line and voicing the different characters. Brian Nishii made me feel as though I were there with Kate struggling through sushi school and wishing I were better at constructing the rolls. Every character had his or her own style and I feel as though I know the characters personally, which is as much a feat of Nishii's as the author's.
The only reason that this book did not receive a full five-star rating is because of the course language and unnecessarily vulgar descriptions that were included. This occurs in sparse patches, but it was a distraction to what could have been a perfect listen. For those with little ones at home, you shoudn't play this audiobook aloud around them, which is a shame, because otherwise, it might have been a book that children might have enjoyed listening to, and it could have been used as a way to interest them in food and cooking.I am of the firm opinion that the F-bomb and sexual descriptions of women and seafood are not appropriate in the first place, but they are all the more inappropriate in a book about the preparation of fine cuisine.
Overall, anyone interested in the topic of sushi or cooking would find this to be an engaging and informative read. Anyone interested in the challenges female chefs face in the male-dominated arena of sushi would also find this story intriguing. It's not a bad listen for the storyline or the information as long as you fast-forward through the vulgar bits.
I had almost written John MacArthur off due to another book he wrote about forgiveness. The topic was approached with such a judgmental attitude that it turned me off. I decided to give him another chance with this book because I love to read about prayer and because Maurice England is one of my favorite narrators.
I was pleasantly surprised that MacArthur did such a magnificent job of presenting prayer conceptually rather than theoretically or as some sort of a step-by-step program as most authors approached it. He begins with the concept that God is always near to us, with us, and wants to hear from us. As simple as that idea may be to grasp theoretically, MacArthur did a beautiful job of making it very real to the listener. He then moves on to deal with various topics such as constant prayer, the use and abuse of memorized prayers, and the use of God's names in prayer. He does a good job of breaking things down and defining terms that other authors tend to skip over. For example, he doesn't just exhort the listener to be in constant prayer, he explains what constant prayer is and what it isn't.
I will listen to this one again, and I will consider it to be one of my more valuable resources on prayer. It would be a good book for anyone who is new to prayer or for people who have years of experience.
I've read several books from the Murder, She Wrote series, and I've really enjoyed them. This was the first one I've listened to in audiobook format. I have to start by saying that Cynthia Darlow is now among my top favorite narrators. She did an outstanding job of differenting the voices of the various characters, and her voice was simultaneously melodic and energetic.
As to the story, while it was sweet in sections, it left a lot to be desired in terms of the movement of the story. I became bored several times during the book because of the slow plot development, and there just wasn't a lot of action or suspense. It actually had a good ending, for a murder mystery, but I wouldn't buy it again. There wasn't anything really awful about the story, it just wasn't that great.
I'll probably try another selection from the series because of the narrator. I'll just assume that this one wasn't one of the best examples.
Barbara Kingsolver and her family embarked on an experiment to grow their own food - both plant and animal - for a year and eat locally grown, seasonally-available produce. I applaud their effort and I do not stand in judgment for anything they did or didn't do in their quest. Kingsolver and her family narrated and didn't do a terrible job although I had to speed it up to 1.5 and 2x in parts because they read very slowly.
This wasn't a bad book. It actually contains a lot of useful information for anyone interested in raising poultry. It just got too preachy in certain areas, it contained too many weird thrown-in references to various religions, and it didn't contain the information I was hoping for in the way of gardening techniques for growing vegetables. Perhaps that last part was unjustified given that I have recently read The Edible Garden by Alys Fowler, which I consider to be the magnum opus of vegetable gardening books. Kingsolver's agenda was very different from Fowler's in that she sought to document her family's year-long quest and not to provide a step-by-step guide.
I have to say that I thought the best part of the book to be the interview with Kingsolver at the end in which she describes the process of writing the book and how she approached it stylistically (which information she decided to include and why). I consider that interview to be one of the best explanations of the ethics and dynamics of the writing process that I've ever heard.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is more of a story than a guide, and maybe that's why I didn't like it more; I wanted a guide. The story is well-documented, although I thought it could have used a little less description and a little more information. Kingsolver and her family have calming voices and they all read very slowly. It took me a couple of months to finish because the book drags in places and the overall pace of the book is so slow that it didn't maintain my attention.
The main point of the book seemed to me to be that there is a moral point to be made about overconsumption and that small, individual efforts against gluttony and overuse of resources add up to big changes. This would be an invaluable reference for anyone who wants to raise their own poultry or for anyone who wants some basic ideas about how to grow or raise their own food. If you're looking for more of a guide to gardening, however; read The Edible Garden by Alys Fowler. Something else - you may not want to listen to this one while driving. It's not exactly caffeine for the mind and it drags in places, but it's a great listen around bedtime or while doing something else around the house.
I was really impressed with this book. Lee Strobel is best known for his works dealing with the topic of apologetics (the study of the proof of the existence of God). There is some of that in this book, of course, but I didn't find it preachy in the slightest. What I did find was action, romance, realistic discussions about church vs. state issues, and a really good legal/political thriller.
The book centers on a pastor of an evangelical megachurch that is considering pursuing an appointment for the remainder of a senatorial term. Throw in a nonreligious reporter covering a dangerous political story, a romance that connects the reporter with the megachurch, mob connections, and legal intrigue that explores the church vs. state issue, and you have a really interesting read.
The narrator could have been better, but Scott Brick's performance wasn't bad by any means.
If you want a good drama, thriller, this is a good choice. At the risk of a spoiler alert, you should know that the ending is not entirely happy. I found it satisfying, but there are sad parts.
This was Strobel's first fiction work, and I'm looking forward to more from him.
This is a great book for beginning and experienced gardeners. It is full of information that would be valuable to any gardener. The author covers companion planting, organic solutions, container and ground gardening, getting the most out of your gardening area, and how to use your crop (cooking, herbal uses, etc.).
I will purchase this book in hardcover soon, but I will also listen to the audiobook version again. Just don't try to listen to it while you're driving. It's not the narrator, as she did a wonderful job, and she has a soothing voice that isn't too sing-songish. The boring parts are the lists of spacing requirements, types of plants and herbs that are useful for various situations, etc. Granted it isn't a book that was really intended to be an audiobook, but I will probably listen to it at least a couple of times a year to prepare myself for the planting seasons, anyway. That said, I may listen to it before going to bed or while doing housework - definitely not while operating heavy machinery.
If you love gardening, you will love this book. Do yourself a favor and listen to it before buying seeds or planting. Just don't listen to it while driving.
This is a good book for organic gardeners who know nothing or very little about organic gardening. It's a quick read, so don't expect too much in-depth information. However, there was more detail to this short book than I had anticipated.
I learned, for example, that I can mail order beneficial insects. Who would have thought? I'm sure there are people who do this all the time, but I had never heard of it. Some of the more detailed ideas of companion planting were also new to me.
Beginning gardeners will benefit from listening to this gem. It was worth the credit, and I will probably listen to it again, but people who already know the topic will probably find this a little too introductory for their tastes.
Dr. Stanley gives a very broad-spectrum approach to reaching your full potential as a Christian. He addresses time, resource, and health management, he gives clear and simple advice about ways to control influences and thought patterns, and he makes the point very plainly that God is to be center of your every decision, but he doesn't leave you alone to figure out God's will by yourself. He gives concrete examples of how to pray for guidance in making decisions.
A lot of the book is about trusting God - trusting that He will make his plans known to you if you ask Him before making your own plans, trusting that God is good and that He has your best interests in mind, trusting that God is capable of bringing about His purposes through you no matter what you think you are or are not good at, and trusting that He will always be there whether you succeed or fail. Dr. Stanley uses examples of Biblical characters and how they dealt with trust issues, decisions, and stress.
For me, this book really brought home the importance of prayer BEFORE making decisions. It also illuminated for me just how important one decision can be and therefore, how important it is to bring ALL decisions in prayer to God.
I would encourage anyone who is feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by life to read this book. I am not suggesting that your life will be completely fixed in ten minutes after reading it, but I know that mine has already improved because I have read it. Dr. Stanley offers a great deal of encouragement and practical advice that would be of great help to any believer.
Let me start by saying that I had just finished "The Secret of Chanel No. 5" by Tilar Mazzeo when I read this book, and that audiobook turned out to be a great segway for this one. The Chanel book was a lot more biographical, while this one delved into the closed-door realm of the perfume industry - its tricks, strategies, financial structure, scientific methods, and marketing. Chandler Burr follows the creation of two perfumes including Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely from start to finish.
This was an extraordinary work in terms of the amount of research that went into it, and I thought that most of the writing was very well done. Chandler Burr did a magnificent job of presenting the facts of the industry without forgetting to present the art of it. He has a delightful off-the-cuff style that balances what could have been an overly serious take on the creation of perfume. He offers a lot of insight, but he also allows the listeners to create their own perceptions of the industry and the science and marketing behind it.
This book did not receive a perfect Overall score from me because it included unnecessary foul language that distracted from the material. The occurence of these terms are somewhat sparse, but I would say that they appear about 15-20 times throughout the book. I find the use of these terms (the F-bomb, profanity) to be tacky, distracting, and out of place in what could have been a five-star work. There are also descriptions of some scents that, while they do exist in nature and are used in the industry, I could have lived without knowing about. I didn't subtract stars for that because those scents are part of the perfumery world, but I subtracted stars for foul language that could and should have been omitted.
Beyond the language, this would be a fascinating read for anyone who is interested in perfume, how it is made, how it is marketed, and how much it really costs in terms of money, time, and resources. Just be warned that after hearing about certain scents that are used to create perfume, you may never be able to wear some of your favorites again.
Most of the first hour of this book borders on smut. After that, it's worth listening to for the intricate history of this famous fragrance.
The story of Chanel No. 5 involves the Romonovs, tales of industrial espionage, international incidents, political intrigues, celebrities, and marketing ploys that were, at times, pure genious and, at other times, pure folly.
I found the story, itself, to be enchanting. The presentation of the story, however, suffered from too much emphasis on sexual themes, occassional profanity (once or twice, but too much, in my opinion), and, mostly due to the meanderings into subjective opinions about the sensuality of the fragrance, a lack of cohesion. Thus the reduction of two stars from the Overall score.
The narrator, Liz de Nesnera, did a good job with the material. She wasn't stellar, but she wasn't bad. I listened at a speed of 3x.
If you're interested in the life of Coco Chanel, the history of the Chanel company, Chanel No. 5, or in the perfume industry, in general, this book is worth the money or the credit.
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