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KTeaX

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | Member Since 2013

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 27 ratings
  • 56 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
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  • Shift Omnibus Edition: Shift 1-3, Silo Saga

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1729)
    Performance
    (1574)
    Story
    (1587)

    In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platform that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate. In the same year, a simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event. At almost the same moment in humanity's broad history, mankind had discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall - and the ability to forget it ever happened.

    Tango says: "Your ears are in for a real treat"
    "Gripping, yet long-winded"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Probably not - I plan to read the next two instead of listening. Howey has a tendency to spend a lot of time on details I find extraneous, particularly with the Solo story, which I felt I had a good sense for from the first book, and I would rather speed read through those sequences than have to listen to them.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would eliminate most of the scenes with Solo, frankly. I didn't feel they added to the story line in a meaningful way. We already have a good sense of what went down with him from the first book; I found his scenes to be a distraction, and also too drawn out.


    Which character – as performed by Tim Gerard Reynolds – was your favorite?

    I was impressed by Tim Gerard Reynolds' range of accents and voices, but I don't feel that any character in this particular book was especially likable. Donald and his wife Helen would be the closest, but Donald's so wishy-washy that I spent too much time judging him.


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

    No. There were definitely segments that made me listen longer than I technically had time for, but it wasn't hard for me to hit pause a lot of the time.


    Any additional comments?

    I really liked the narrator of the first book, so it took me some time to get into Tim's style. The British accent threw me for a loop given the locale of the story. I became very aware of how often Hugh Howey uses the word "palm." However, it was very engaging and digestible. It's a long listen and would be good for car trips, but I feel it might be a superior read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Opal Fire: A Stacy Justice Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Barbra Annino
    • Narrated By Amy Rubinate
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (409)
    Performance
    (363)
    Story
    (365)

    Stacy Justice is your average small-town reporter...who just so happens to be a witch. She’s never had the time or patience to mess around with the magic her grandmother and great-aunts are into, even though Grandma says Stacy has a higher calling. Right now, Stacy has stories to cover, her cousin Cinnamon’s bar to help run, and her cute cop boyfriend and flatulent Great Dane to keep her company. But when someone sets Cinnamon’s bar ablaze - almost killing Stacy in the process - the green-eyed redhead will have to embrace her inner witch after all.

    susan says: "Very enjoyable mystery with a slight bit of magic"
    "Delicious fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Opal Fire the most enjoyable?

    The quirky characters and larger-than-life series of events. It was definitely ridiculous. I love ridiculous when it's owned by the author like it was.


    What other book might you compare Opal Fire to and why?

    Anything by Charlaine Harris, although I'd argue Ms. Harris' characters follow a more psychologically and culturally relevant pattern.


    Which character – as performed by Amy Rubinate – was your favorite?

    I'm blanking on her name, but the crazy aunt who was most normal when drinking brandy.


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

    Yes. Delicious and entertaining are the words I'd use. I wasn't necessarily dying to know the whodunit bit, but I was enjoying losing myself in the story.


    Any additional comments?

    My biggest complaints about this story, and they really weren't distracting, merely not my favorite things are that:
    1. This takes place in the Midwest and the characters seem more East Coast harsh to me. In all fairness, I live in Wisconsin, not Illinois, but I was still surprised by the choice (very minor, probably stupid complaint).
    2. Slut-shaming. There is an awesomely awful character named Monica who is most criticized by the protagonist for her sexual choices rather than for being a crazy and unpleasant person. This did take me a little out of the story since it's a trigger for me personally. All told, however, I never actually got the sense that the main character was anti-sex, just that she hated Monica and would use anything against her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye: Psychic Eye Mysteries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Victoria Laurie
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Michaels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1703)
    Performance
    (1349)
    Story
    (1342)

    Abby Cooper is a P.I., psychic intuitive. But her insight failed her when she didn't foresee the death of one of her clients - or that the lead investigator for the case is the gorgeous blind date she just met. Now, with the police suspicious of her abilities and a killer on the loose, Abby's future looks more uncertain than ever.

    Roger says: "review of Abby Cooper series"
    "Disappointing and irritating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Victoria Laurie and/or Elizabeth Michaels?

    No - especially not Elizabeth Michaels. I found her narration challenging to listen to, at best. Her intonation was unnatural and she didn't have any continuity with voices. Every so often, her accent would change abruptly. I would give Victoria Laurie another chance if I received a sterling recommendation for a particular book of hers, but I won't pursue it.


    Has Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye turned you off from other books in this genre?

    It has made me much more nervous to buy other books in this genre from Audible. I've been mostly lucky with my buys, but this, along with a couple of other purchases, has made me hesitant to just get something. I really like Juliet Blackwell's series and grew to appreciate Xe Sands' narration, but I'm afraid to tackle new series now. This dominated my drive from NY to WI, and it was a disappointment.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Elizabeth Michaels’s performances?

    No. See above for details. Another thing of note - Abby Cooper is supposed to be in her thirties, but Ms. Michaels sounds like she's in her fifties or sixties. It gave me some serious cognitive dissonance to work through.


    What character would you cut from Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye?

    There was no one character that stood out to me as fundamentally not belonging. The entire story was poorly crafted. Very few characters struck me as realistic or consistent. I found Abby the most challenging to believe, from her insistence that she is really a boring person ("vanilla") to her inappropriate outbursts with the law and other individuals. Her character straddled a particularly hormonal fifteen-year-old and someone with a personality disorder, which I have trouble believing a semi-successful 30-something businesswoman would be able to maintain. That being said, I didn't find any primary/secondary character especially realistic.


    Any additional comments?

    I have never given a one star review before and I find myself wondering if I'm being too harsh, but mentally reviewing the story and experience of listening to this, I can't justify applying another star to any piece. The mystery was painfully obvious, there was far too much foreshadowing, the language wasn't consistent with the time period/age group, the characters and relationships were unlikeable and unbelievable, and the series of events felt off. There were some funny turns of phrase, but that wasn't enough to salvage this for me. I really like this genre, as a rule, and am fine with a certain amount of predictability and unrealistic happenings (that's what makes it fun!), but there was almost nothing to latch onto for me here. Other reviewers enjoyed this, so take this with a grain of salt, of course.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder on the House: Haunted Home Renovation Series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Juliet Blackwell
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (224)
    Performance
    (202)
    Story
    (197)

    Word has spread that contractor Mel Turner can communicate with the spirits of the dead, and she's having a hard time maintaining a low profile. She decides to embrace her reputation for the chance to restore a historic house that calls to her. The new owners, who hope to run a haunted bed-and-breakfast, want Mel to encourage the ghosts that supposedly roam the halls to enhance the house's paranormal charm. The catch: Mel has to spend one night in the house to win the project.

    Beatrice says: "Very enjoyable"
    "Toe-curlingly delightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It depends on the friend - this sort of writing and story isn't for everyone. If you've listened to the rest of the series, absolutely. This one is the best so far! I'm falling even more in love with Mel Turner and her life.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mel is definitely my favorite character, which is atypical for me. I tend to gravitate towards other characters, but I feel such a kinship with her - her skepticism, thoroughness, quirky style, and curiosity.


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

    The ability to do other things whilst being entertained! I've learned to love Xe Sands' narrative style - at first (starting with the witching series), I found her a little difficult to listen to, but I've grown to appreciate the nuance with which she voices each character. Her soothing voice allows my mind to relax into the story.


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

    Historical home renovation just got spookier! Which sounds awful. Nobody would ask me to write a tag line for a movie.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Red Rising

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Pierce Brown
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2666)
    Performance
    (2436)
    Story
    (2446)

    Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet.

    Charles says: "It Got Better and Left Me Wanting More."
    "Wanted something better, but still good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I listened to this for part of two thirteen hour drives. It wavered between annoying me and gripping my attention. I don't regret listening to it, but I won't listen to any future works by this author. This would have been easier to read than listen to. The writing style is repetitive and full of statements that seek gravitas that, surrounded by such similar statements, fall flat. I would have preferred to skim over these passages.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    This story is really compelling, but it reads like Hunger Games for teenage boys. First, I would nix the first person narration. It's hard to do well, and here it really hindered the story for me. There was too much telling and not enough showing for me to feel swept up in what could really be an epic tale. Also, I would remove a great deal of the foreshadowing. It made a lot too predictable. Second, the pacing reduced my enjoyment. A lot of time and attention were spent on aspects that I didn't feel warranted it where other pieces were neglected. Finally, I would choose or create different scenarios earlier on to show why the main character is special, because despite his explanations, I didn't see it. Even at the end, when he had really evolved, I didn't understand what other characters really saw in him. His transformation felt forced to me. While in Hunger Games the protagonist is really swept up as an accidental symbol, in this the character is meant to be a force of nature in and of himself. Despite being told on multiple occasions how special he is from his own lips, I didn't see it. I felt the romance in the beginning was overblown and trope-y and his attitude later on difficult to believe. That being said, cool story overall.


    What aspect of Tim Gerard Reynolds’s performance would you have changed?

    I felt he paused too frequently. In fairness to Mr. Reynolds, I suspect that the author had far too many "ending" sentences in a passage. If you've seen the third Lord of the Rings movie, his writing is like those last thirty minutes where it seemed that the movie was over, and then over again, and then over again. Instead, it felt like the author got carried away with heavy statements and instead of choosing one or two powerful punches, he just littered every chapter with them. It would have been awesome if Mr. Reynolds could have blasted through them a little more, but I suspect he made the right call as an actor.


    Was Red Rising worth the listening time?

    No. I would not advise listening to this. It would be better to read. It's way too long for what it contains.


    Any additional comments?

    So despite not recommending the audiobook, the story has a lot of merit. If you don't mind teenage apocalyptic first-person narrated stories, or even revel in them, this will probably appeal to you. However, check your attention span first. If you just want to get lost in a teenager's conflicted thoughts in the midst of strife, you will like this. If you're motivated by a fast-paced story with some emotional moments, you will likely be irritated.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • If Walls Could Talk: Haunted Home Renovation, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Juliet Blackwell
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (355)
    Performance
    (321)
    Story
    (319)

    Melanie Turner has made quite a name for herself remodeling historic houses in the San Francisco Bay Area. But now her reputation may be on the line. At her newest project, a run-down Pacific Heights mansion, Mel is visited by the ghost of a colleague who recently met a bad end with power tools. Mel hopes that by nailing the killer, she can rid herself of the ghostly presence of the murdered man - and not end up a construction casualty herself....

    Ann says: "DIY murder, that spans the here and hereafter...."
    "Falling for Juliet Blackwell one book at a time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up If Walls Could Talk in three words, what would they be?

    Delightful, educational, addictive


    What was one of the most memorable moments of If Walls Could Talk?

    Learning about "Emperor" Norton of San Francisco. I love the historical nuggets Blackwell throws into all of her works.


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

    I love her range of voices and I find her narration very soothing.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the main character comforts a dying man - I had the feels.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like any other Juliet Blackwell works or are a Charlaine Harris fan, this is right up your alley. Blackwell does for San Fran what Harris does for the South. She takes neat ideas and combines them with aspects of the world I seldom ponder - in this instance, historic home renovation. I absolutely get lost in all the facets of Mel's life and delight in every moment!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Cast-Off Coven: Witchcraft Mysteries Series, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Juliet Blackwell
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (604)
    Performance
    (566)
    Story
    (563)

    Students are spooked at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts, and Lily is called in to search for possible paranormal activity. In return she's been promised a trunkful of Victorian-era clothes recently discovered in a school storage closet. But Lily finds something else: the body of a wealthy patron of the school. In between running the store and seeing her new boyfriend, Max - a "mythbuster" who is uncomfortable with her witchcraft - she uses her sleuthing skills to try to solve the murder. Soon Lily senses something from the school's vintage clothes, but it's not the smell of mothballs - it's the unmistakable aura of evil intent.

    Naked and Hungry says: "Speaking French"
    "My new favorite listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to A Cast-Off Coven the most enjoyable?

    The characters and the unique story line! I adore this cast of characters and the way magic and vintage clothing intermingle. What a hoot! It's a delicious listen.


    What other book might you compare A Cast-Off Coven to and why?

    Anything by Charlaine Harris - it has that "take you through my every-day" charm that Ms. Harris' books have that's soothing and invigorating. Of course there's the accidental sleuthing as well!


    What three words best describe Xe Sands’s performance?

    Consistent, gentle, unique


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

    I would not be the person writing this tag, because this is what it would be: "Who knew a witchy wardrobe could be so dangerous?"


    Any additional comments?

    I adore this series. The narrator is definitely an acquired taste. She tends to trail off as she speaks, and everyone has the same lazy, quiet tonality, which I sometimes find irritating, but as I've gotten used to her, I've really admired the consistency of her characterizations. Fun fun!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Tara Brach
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (167)

    "Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering," says Tara Brach at the start of this illuminating book. This suffering emerges in crippling self-judgments and conflicts in our relationships, in addictions and perfectionism, in loneliness and overwork - all the forces that keep our lives constricted and unfulfilled. Radical Acceptance offers a path to freedom, including the day-to-day practical guidance developed over Dr. Brach's 20 years of work with therapy clients and Buddhist students.

    Handlowiec says: "Insights for Meditation and Being Present"
    "Warm and moving"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Radical Acceptance?

    The gentle way in which Tara Brach couches these concepts.


    What other book might you compare Radical Acceptance to and why?

    Living Your Yoga, because it similarly breaks out painful human tendencies with compassion and meditative exercises for accepting them.


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

    Her voice is so soothing and gentle. I'm able to practice yoga while listening, which is a step up from reading a physical book since I'd have to put the book down to engage in the meditative exercises fully.


    What insight do you think you’ll apply from Radical Acceptance?

    Everyone just wants to feel safe, happy, and loved. That makes painful interactions easier to bear.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15660)
    Performance
    (13028)
    Story
    (13152)

    This is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

    Joanna says: "Wow!"
    "Engaging plot, robust characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Name of the Wind the most enjoyable?

    The story was rich and well-crafted.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Kvothe's father. He was a warm, inviting bard with a wonderful outlook on the world.


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

    His accents are delightful.


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

    A couple of times. There are some painful scenes in which Kvothe loses a great deal. It felt Grapes of Wrath-esque in the profundity of his let-downs. I grinned when he was being suitably cheeky. I got bored when he ran into Denna (sp?). Worst scenes ever. I'm not sure I can continue if she keeps showing up. I find her scenes offensive and his view on her repulsive. In all fairness, I don't have a lot of patience for drawn-out romantic sub-plots. Her bits subsumed the story.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11497)
    Performance
    (10276)
    Story
    (10245)

    Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries....

    Chris says: "Finally, a modern day fantasy that really hits the"
    "Entertaining, but felt a little forced"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The dialogue. It felt contrived, inconsistent, and unrealistic.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Perfect ending for the story. I smiled.


    What three words best describe Luke Daniels’s performance?

    Lacking voiced plosives.


    Do you think Hounded needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Not sure I'll continue to be honest. It was decent, entertaining, but it felt like a weak version of The Dresden Files with a squishy mish-mash of world religions. The cast of characters wasn't especially memorable, and their behaviors weren't distinct. However I love this kind of story, so there's always a chance I'll continue on.


    Any additional comments?

    It's not a bad story. It's possible that future volumes are pretty awesome, but I wasn't particularly taken by this. If you liked Dresden Files, I would warn you that it feels very similar, but lacks like character development, complexity, and depth. That being said, I wasn't totally bonkers over the first Dresden Files. It took me three books to get hooked. But this lacked the social awareness that I found so engaging in even the first Dresden Files.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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