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Katy J. Berner

Amherst, NY United States | Member Since 2012

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 111 ratings
  • 257 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015
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  • The Road

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6324)
    Performance
    (2875)
    Story
    (2911)

    America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

    Darwin8u says: "My wife says he's that Cold Desert Writer I love."
    "Great Post-Apocalyptic Novel"
    Overall

    I didn't intend to like this book, but I couldn't stop listening and ended up loving it! We're actually thinking of adding it to our reading list at the school where I teach for American Lit. This is an incredible story of a man and his child's journey to survive in an America we hopefully never have to experience. The fear of evil, and the light within us carries the reader through. In some ways we can all identify with the narrator, a man trying to survive and learning to parent in a world where there is little good except that in his own child. A beautiful story, and it's not overly "sci-fi-ish" so anyone can really enjoy it. I think it's a book anyone of any age or sex can really enjoy.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • City of Dreams: A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and Early Manhattan

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Beverly Swerling
    • Narrated By Gabrielle de Cuir
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Rich with unforgettable characters and history, intricately plotted and utterly absorbing, City of Dreams is a stirring saga of early Manhattan and the beginnings of medical science told by a master storyteller.

    Diane says: "great book, but abridged ..."
    "Not so dreamy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked this, but didn't love it. The historical pieces cover significant violent parts of our inception from early colonial days to the post-revolutionary NY. The characters, although interesting, seemed incomplete and too many pieces of their stories were left unresolved at the end of each section. When it shifted time periods I felt like it took 20 minutes or so for me to make the connection from one section to the next. I needed to know why some characters disliked relatives and felt unsatisfied in understanding their motivation. It was a nice story, but not great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Everything I Never Told You: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Celeste Ng
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1089)
    Performance
    (942)
    Story
    (944)

    Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet.… So begins the story in this exquisite debut novel about a Chinese American family living in a small town in 1970s Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos.

    colprubin says: "Character Novel"
    "A Story About The Power and Danger of Silence"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an incredible first line of a text! I really loved this book because it is a reminder about the power of words (said, unsaid and written). I was pulled in immediately by the absence of truth and recognized how that absence surrounds each character. An aptly named title for a book about how what we don't say can hurt as much as what we do.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (818)
    Performance
    (442)
    Story
    (444)

    The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819 the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, and disease and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.

    Craig says: "Fascinating"
    "Can't wait for the movie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is great! I absolutely loved the story. I am stunned about the Essex and am interested to see how the movie handles pieces of the text. My only complaint is that the recording is really sloppy. The change in volume and intonation when the narrator must have stopped and restarted is so obvious it almost sounds like a different narrator and it is jarring. Even so, listen to the book or read it because the book is so interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods of Gotham

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Lyndsay Faye
    • Narrated By Steven Boyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (598)
    Performance
    (517)
    Story
    (520)

    It is 1845. New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever.... Timothy Wilde tends bar near the Exchange, fantasizing about the day he has enough money to win the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams literally incinerate in a fire devastating downtown Manhattan, he finds himself disfigured, unemployed, and homeless. His older brother obtains Timothy a job in the newly minted NYPD, but he is highly skeptical of this new "police force".

    Joanne says: "A wonderful book"
    "Best Book I Read in 2012"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Gods of Gotham?

    I love historical fiction and I love learning about the history of NYC; this book covered both. I am secretly hoping this becomes a series because I will read them all.


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

    Yes! Although the book began slow and I thought it just might be a little mild of a drama once the action begins you can't stop listening. Tim and Valentine's struggle to find the truth in a city filled with lies is incredible.


    What about Steven Boyer???s performance did you like?

    His accents and his attitude were spot on!


    Who was the most memorable character of The Gods of Gotham and why?

    I loved Tim. He was just so pure even though life had wronged him. I learned to love Valentine.


    Any additional comments?

    If you enjoyed the movie Gangs of New York, you will LOVE this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Power of One

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (3102)
    Performance
    (1888)
    Story
    (1894)

    Born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, this one small boy will come to lead all the tribes of Africa. Through enduring friendships with Hymie and Gideon, Peekay gains the strength he needs to win out. And in a final conflict with his childhood enemy, the Judge, Peekay will fight to the death for justice.

    Bob says: "Compelling story lifted higher by the narration"
    "Beautiful Novel that Reads Like a Painting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Power of One?

    The main character Peekay's mix of childhood trauma and unintentional humor make him heartwarming and beautiful. His adventures with Grandpa Choock (which made me laugh out loud), Hoppie, Doc, and finally Hymie and Gideon show that family isn't always made by the blood running through us but with the head and the heart. I fell in love with the beauty of South Africa, the tadpole angel, and began to understand a little of life during the Aparthide. A beautiful work, I can't wait to recommend to someone! (BTW my mother swore it would be a religious text because of the title, and it isn't).


    What did you like best about this story?

    The unity and colorless love of the African people.


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    The voice gives Peekay shape


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

    Not exactly, (it is quite long) but I couldn't wait to find time to go back to it.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ghostwalk

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Rebecca Stott
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (27)

    A Cambridge historian is found drowned, clutching a glass prism in her hand. The book she was writing about Isaac Newton's involvement with alchemy remains unfinished. When her son, Cameron, asks his former lover, Lydia Brooke, to ghostwrite the missing final chapters of his mother's book, Lydia agrees and moves into Elizabeth's house. Soon Lydia discovers that the violence that has fallen across present-day Cambridge may have its origins in the troubling evidence that Elizabeth's research has unearthed.

    txkimmers says: "More of a stroll"
    "Not Very Good"
    Overall

    Although I somewhat enjoyed this book, it just wasn't all that great. The story is completely unbelievable and has giant holes that don't make a whole lot of sense. I kept waiting for the story to get better, but it didn't. It tried too hard to mix too many ideas together in one place, and the mixing of the stories didn't come together like a beautiful ballet, but more like a forced crash. There were some redeeming factors, and I did enjoy some parts of the story, but it was too much for one book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Piece of Cake

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Cupcake Brown
    • Narrated By Bahni Turpin
    Overall
    (251)
    Performance
    (148)
    Story
    (151)

    There are shelves of memoirs about overcoming the death of a parent, childhood abuse, rape, drug addiction, miscarriage, alcoholism, hustling, gangbanging, near-death injuries, drug dealing, prostitution, or homelessness. Cupcake Brown survived all these things before she'd even turned 20.

    Kim says: "Amazing , Brutal, Inspiring"
    "Great But Really Long Memoir"
    Overall

    Cupcake Brown is a woman I couldn't help but cheer on. Her ability to change her life and make me take a look at my own was unforgettable. Everyone who is over-priviledged and ignorant should be required to read this book. Everyone who wants to teach should read this book. I was so moved by her story and so angry at a system that would allow this to happen. Listening to Cupcake change her world, made me want to make changes in mine and help others. We need voices like hers to create change and increase understanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girls

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Lori Lansens
    • Narrated By Stephanie Zimbalist, Lolita Davidovich
    Overall
    (169)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (26)

    Meet Rose and Ruby: sisters, best friends, confidantes, and conjoined twins. Since their birth, Rose and Ruby Darlen have been known simply as "the girls". They make friends, fall in love, have jobs, love their parents, and follow their dreams. But the Darlens are special. Now nearing their 30th birthday, they are history's oldest craniopagus twins, joined at the head by a pot the size of a bread plate.

    Barbara says: "Terrific material, great presentation:"
    "Beautiful Novel"
    Overall

    I truly loved this novel. The two "voices" of the twins were so unique and individual that you almost forget that they are conjoined. The story at first seems like a dumb premise, but it is beautifully done and I'd compare this reading experience to The Secret Life of Bees, one of my favorite narrative novels of all time. The author writes a very unique and poingnant story that has many universal and heartfelt themes. Have tissues, you'll need them.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By John Grogan
    • Narrated By John Grogan
    Overall
    (1258)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (144)

    John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wriggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.

    Eric says: "Amazing Book"
    "Decent Book Bad Reader"
    Overall

    I liked the book, but I think I'd have liked it better reading it rather than listening to it. The author reads the book, and although he is a good storyteller, he reads as if he's reading his memoir to a group of 1st graders. His tone and pacing is somewhat irritating and I felt like in some senses it was like being read "down" to. It's hard to explain, but if you listen to a sample you'll understand.
    The book is great, the reader is not. Buy the actual book, it's soooo worth not listening to him read it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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