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Maria

Oscoda, MI, United States | Member Since 2013

36
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 17 ratings
  • 140 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2015
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  • The Third Heiress

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Brenda Joyce
    • Narrated By Mary Jane Wells
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    The Third Heiress. The tragic death of her fiance in a harrowing car accident plunges Jill Gallagher into a dark mystery. His final words to her: "I love you…Kate," force her to realize she neither truly knew this dashing British photographer, nor understood his true motives for being here in America. When she brings his body back to his English family, she enters a world of hostility, suspicion, and closely guarded secrets. Then she finds a century-old photograph of an American heiress named Kate Gallagher who looks remarkably like herself-and who disappeared nearly a century ago.

    Maria says: "Meh... great plot, mediocre delivery"
    "Meh... great plot, mediocre delivery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The premise behind this novel with its century-old murder mystery was a terrific one. Brilliant, in fact. I love genealogy, so stories like this really catch my interest. But the writing was terrible. The cliches were endless! Not just endless, but repeated over and over and over. I lost track of how many times the main character, Jill, froze, or began shaking, or stood unable to breathe. I think she spent 90% of the book frozen and shaking with fear. None of the characters were very likeable, and the back-and-forth "do I love him, or is he out to kill me" question got old about half-way through the book. Combine that with the narrator's bad/distracting rendition of an American accent, and the result was a pretty disappointing listen. This was my first Brenda Joyce novel and I'm not so sure there will be another one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Love Your Body: Eat Smart, Get Healthy, Find Your Ideal Weight, and Feel Beautiful Inside & Out!

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Talia Fuhrman
    • Narrated By Marieve Herington
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In Love Your Body, Talia Fuhrman shows listeners how to get their green juice on, find their ideal weight, and get radiant, clear skin - and also how to gain confidence, enjoy strong friendships, and explore the passions that make them jump out of bed each morning with their widest smiles.

    Maria says: "It's okay... if you're a vegetarian"
    "It's okay... if you're a vegetarian"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I totally agree that plant-based foods are awesome disease fighters and essential to optimum health. But I have a wheat/gluten sensitivity and don't digest legumes well, but I do happen to do very well with meat. I follow the Paleo diet and have had tremendous success with it. So right off the bat, the book was a bit at odds with what I consider to be optimum for my body and lifestyle. Still, because I do love a plethora of fruits and vegetables, the book had a lot of great information. I can't say that it was anything I didn't already know, but she delivers it in a way that's more of a support group/counseling session for loving your body as a whole versus following any kind of diet or obsessing over the scale. It's similar to Cameron Diaz's Body Book.

    I would've given this four stars overall but ugh... the narrator! She had the voice of a child, and was super peppy and chirpy. I kept seeing her as a young Marcia Brady, and it was so distracting. Plus, she read faster than I usually like in a narrator, so I kept having to rewind because my brain wasn't absorbing her words well.

    Not a bad book by any means -- I would definitely recommend it to perhaps a female going off to college or a teenager who is battling body issues or someone who is looking for some positive, uplifting info about overall health and nutrition. But if your'e a hard-core nutrition-fanatic like me who loves the science and all of ground-breaking research and studies, you might find it a little lacking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cancer Is Not a Disease!: It’s a Survival Mechanism: Discover Cancer's Hidden Purpose, Heal Its Root Causes, and Be Healthier than Ever

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Andreas Moritz
    • Narrated By Richard Powers
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (27)

    In Cancer Is Not a Disease!, best-selling author and internationally acclaimed health expert Andreas Moritz argues that cancer is the physical symptom of the body’s final attempt to eliminate specific life-destructive causes. He claims that removing such causes sets the precondition for complete healing of the body, mind, and emotions. This book confronts you with a radically new understanding of cancer - one that outdates the current cancer model.

    Maria says: "Some very good... some very bad..."
    "Some very good... some very bad..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The premise of this book and some of the research cited is extremely eye-opening. The author spends considerable time showing us that cancer is not to be feared, and that it's the body's defense survival mechanism to protect and heal something that is out of balance or damaged. Since clearly we aren't winning the war on cancer, I loved this approach and am highly intrigued by the notion that we should work WITH cancer rather than fighting against it. I plan to listen to this book again, and then search out others like it. (I don't have cancer, but have friends and family who have.)

    That being said, it's hard to put complete and total faith into each point of research when some of it is very flawed and contradictory. For example, the author spends considerable time telling us how cancer was extremely rare prior to the 1900s, and even rarer as you go back further in time. Yet he then spends an entire chapter talking about how meat is bad and a strong carcinogen. Sometimes he says "processed meat" and makes references to hormones, nitrates and antibiotics in our meat. Yet he mostly lumps meat altogether in one category as being "bad." I was scratching my head over that one. Does that go to say that our ancestors prior to 1900 never ate meat? Hardly. Humans have thrived off of meat since the beginning of time. It might have made more sense and offered better credibility if he spent time determining WHAT exactly about our meat today is harmful. I would beg to differ that a pasture-raised grass-fed steak or wild venison is as carcinogenic as a cheap, commercially bought hot-dog.

    After listening to that section, I became disheartened because I wasn't sure exactly what to trust at that point. Maybe down the road he'll published a revised version and look into some of the data around the Paleo concepts of eating more like our ancestors and help consumers understand what to look for (and what to avoid) when choosing our diets. To nudge people toward vegetarianism as a way to prevent cancer is just wrong and conflicts with his message that cancer is a modern-day affliction.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Alexandra Heminsley
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Sastre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (118)

    Until five years ago, Alexandra Heminsley was decidedly not a runner. Nor was she athletic in any sense of the word. She was an ordinary, curvy woman who was convinced that sports of any kind, especially running, were beyond her. But she's made running part of her life, and gets to reap the rewards: not just the obvious things, like a touch of weight loss, health and glowing skin, but self-belief, and immeasurable daily pleasure.

    tracey says: "LOVE THIS!!!!!"
    "Meh... not what I thought..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book because I'm about a good 2 months into my venture to start running, and I thought I could relate to a lot of what this author talks about. You know... curvy non-athletic girl deciding she wanted to start running, and the challenges she faces. Uh, nope. This book is more about how a novice runner trained for a marathon. Her first run, she ran for a mile. By chapter two, she states that she could run for an hour comfortably. SO not me. It's taken me two months to work up to 2 miles, which for me is a half-hour. A lot of that included leg cramps, bad experiences on trails, finding out that running on a treadmill is different, experiencing the runner's high for the first time, etc. etc. None of that. I'm sure the story is good, but by chapter 3 I decided it's just not what I was expecting or hoping for. Fat girl story about finding a love of running through grueling hours every week of trial and error? Nope. This chick left out all the details of what it takes to get to the point where you can actually run a decent amount. I'm not interested in a book about how she trained for her marathon. I got it on sale pretty cheaply, so maybe I'll save it for a year or so down the road when I've caught up to her.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Thornwood House

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Anna Romer
    • Narrated By Eloise Oxer
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (60)

    When you're all that stands between the murderous past and the fate of those you love, how far would you go to save them? When Audrey Kepler inherits an abandoned homestead in rural Queensland, she jumps at the chance to escape her loveless existence in the city and make a fresh start. In a dusty back room of the old house, she discovers the crumbling photo of a handsome World War II medic - Samuel Riordan, the homestead's former occupant - and soon finds herself becoming obsessed with him.

    Maria says: "I absolutely adored this book! One of my faves!!"
    "I absolutely adored this book! One of my faves!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just love, love, love stories about old houses, family secrets, mysteries surrounding diaries, and connections between the past and the present. This novel has it all! I almost listened to it straight thru, but stopped myself about 5 hours from the end and began listening to it in half-hour chunks here and there just to make it last longer. This was seriously one of those books that I didn't want to end. If you love Kate Morton or Kimberley Freeman, you absolutely have to listen to Anna Romer. I loved this even more than Lyrebird Hill (and I loved Lyrebird Hill). Eloise Oxer is the perfect narrator, too. One of the things I love most is the author's detail about nature and the animals -- but it's not so much that it distracts or annoys. Plus, her character descriptions and multiple "mini-twists" and mysteries keep the storyline flowing so well. I can't praise this book enough. I very much look forward to the next book by Anna Romer (and I hope it involves a beautiful old house with rambling gardens, secret rooms and mysterious family secrets!).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Melissa Hartwig, Dallas Hartwig
    • Narrated By Melissa Hartwig, Dallas Hartwig
    Overall
    (262)
    Performance
    (204)
    Story
    (202)

    It Starts With Food outlines a clear, balanced, sustainable plan to change the way you eat forever-and transform your life in profound and unexpected ways. Your success story begins with the Whole30®, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig's powerful 30-day nutritional reset. Since 2009, their underground Whole30 program has quietly led tens of thousands of people to weight loss, enhanced quality of life, and a healthier relationship with food-accompanied by stunning health improvements.

    A User says: "Better than hardcopy!"
    "I loved it! Now I know what all the hype is about"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just finished listening to it -- the Hartwigs did a great job! I'm a VERY AVID audiobook listener, and I honestly had no knowledge beforehand of the Whole 30 plan or this book. I had seen it mentioned on Facebook a few times with a lot of enthusiasm, and I'm already a fan of pseudo-Paleo eating, so I decided to download this and see what the hype was about. I wasn't able to tell that they didn't use professional narrators. In fact, Melissa sounded better than some paid professional narrators I've listened over the years. (Dallas isn't so bad, either! Every now and then I'd think about which person I liked hearing best, and I never could decide.) The only thing that did get super annoying right from the get go was the little Disney-ish magic wand sound that interrupted each section. It reminded me of Nickelodeon as a kid and took away from the authoritative tone of the book. But it's not so annoying that it would dissuade someone from listening. I downloaded my accompanying PDF just fine, and it was a terrific experience. I pretty much listened straight through.

    As for the book and plan itself, it made perfect sense. If any of you have listened to or read Dr. Mark Hyman's "10 Day Detox," it's nearly identical in theory and practice, only the Hartwigs have you going for 30 days vs. 10. I read and did the 10 day detox, but I honestly don't believe it was long enough to really determine or establish any particular allergens or irritants in my diet. It got me to lose a few pounds back in the spring, but then I kinda forgot all about it. I'm hoping/expecting this plan to teach me more about what I want to add into my diet. They kind of gloss over the reintroduction part -- too much IMHO. I think I'm going to take my time and reintroduce at my own pace with smaller portions and longer phases.

    All in all, the authors delivered their book in an enjoyable, easy-to-understand way that's even a bit entertaining. I loved the bits where they gave it to the readers straight -- it made me laugh, but I was also nodding my head thinking, "Yeah. They're right!" I'm one of those fortunate people who have no real ailments, aches, pains, diseases or chronic issues. (Very blessed!) But I do have metabolic damage from yo-yo dieting, starvation diets and super-low carb eating. I want to find a sustainable, healthy food lifestyle that totally eliminates anything that might affect my sluggish metabolism while still eating plenty of calories, starches/fats/protein. This is the perfect way jump start the process and figure out what I do (and what I don't) want in my long-term way of eating. I highly recommend!

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Lyrebird Hill

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Anna Romer
    • Narrated By Eloise Oxer
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    Ruby Cardel has the semblance of a normal life – a loving boyfriend, a career she loves – but in one terrible moment, her life begins to unravel. The discovery that the death of her beloved sister, so many years ago, was not the accident she’d always been told makes her question all she’s known about herself. Travelling back home to Lyrebird Hill, the beautiful bushland property where she grew up with her mother and sister, Ruby begins to remember the year that has been blocked in her memory.

    Maria says: "Terrific book!"
    "Terrific book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you love Kate Morton, Belinda Alexandra or other Australian "family drama" authors, this will be right up your alley! I enjoyed it thoroughly, and loved the plot twists and turns. I knocked off a star because it was a little slow in parts, but it didn't distract from the story. It's a little tough to get the flip-flopping from past to present just right, and there were a few times where I wanted the story line to stay on Ruby vs. Brenna, but it was still good. Highly recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Keep Your Friends Close

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Paula Daly
    • Narrated By Colleen Prendergast
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (48)

    Natty and Sean Wainwright have a rock-solid marriage and family. When their younger daughter falls ill on an overseas school trip, Natty rushes to her side. Luckily, Natty's best friend from college, Eve Dalladay, is visiting and offers to stay with Sean to lend a hand in the Wainwright household. But Natty returns home to find that Sean has fallen in love with Eve. Natty attempts to start anew, but Eve is there to knock her down again.

    Lisa Parsons says: "Keep your friends close review"
    "A really great book..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. The narrator was great, and the plot held my attention right up until the very end. I have this awful habit of not finishing my audiobooks about a half-hour from the end, because I know exactly how they're written and what happens, and usually by that point I'm bored. But I listened to this one right up until the very last second -- and oddly enough, the ending was a bit stunted and abrupt. Yet still good! I recommend it... terrific mystery and suspenseful drama.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Fat Chance

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Nick Spalding
    • Narrated By Heather Wilds, Napoleon Ryan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    Meet Zoe and Greg Milton, a married couple who have let themselves go a bit. Zoe was a stunner in her college days, but the intervening decades have added five stone, and removed most of her self-esteem. Greg's rugby-playing days are well and truly behind him, thanks to countless pints of beer and chicken curry. When Elise, a radio DJ and Zoe's best friend, tells them about a new competition, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn their lives around.

    Maria says: "I freakin loved this book!"
    "I freakin loved this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    SO funny!!!! This book was absolutely hilarious. It's one of my favorite books so far this year. I love the writing style, and the voices for both Zoe and Greg were perfect. At first I loved Zoe's part, but then after a few rounds of Greg, I decided his was funnier. There were times where I was doubled over in laughter, tears streaming down my face. The story was witty, sarcastic, poignant and had an overall terrific message. I totally recommend, especially if you like books that make you laugh out loud.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Love is the Drug

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Alaya Dawn Johnson
    • Narrated By Simone Missick
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Emily Bird was raised not to ask questions. She has perfect hair, the perfect boyfriend, and a perfect IvyLeague future. But a chance meeting with Roosevelt David, a homeland security agent, at a party for Washington DC's elite leads to Bird waking up in a hospital, days later, with no memory of the end of the night.Meanwhile, the world has fallen apart: A deadly flu virus is sweeping the nation, forcing quarantines, curfews, even martial law.

    Maria says: "Not my favorite, couldn't get through it"
    "Not my favorite, couldn't get through it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm the kinda gal who loves "doomer fiction" and this plot was right up my alley! I was very much looking forward to the book. Too bad the execution is a dud. First of all, the narrator is very quiet and monotone and slow -- it almost sounds as if she's reading a relaxing good night story to a toddler. I usually can do well with most narrators, but I found myself daydreaming and drifting away from her voice, continuously having to rewind and play again -- which I almost never do with other books. Also, the story itself is slow. It reads almost as if Emily is drugged through the whole entire thing. It's foggy and slow paced with a lot of descriptive words. It reads almost like poetry, which would be beautiful with the right story, but feels completely out of place here. This apocalyptic plot with danger and mystery should be fast-paced, exciting, full of tension and apprehension, but instead it feels sleepy and tranquil. In the first hour or so of the book, there's virtually no information about the virus itself, or how it has affected the world, or how life has changed. These upper class teenagers just go through the motions of their day, talking about weddings and jewelry and tampons in a very shallow, superficial way. It's all just kind of strange, and I just had no interest in finishing it. Bummer. I'm going to return it for my credit back...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Big Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6626)
    Performance
    (5833)
    Story
    (5835)

    Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.

    Sharon says: "New Liane Moriarty fans!"
    "Fantastic! I absolutely loved it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book starts off a little slow and confusing, but it doesn't take long to get rolling and suck you in. You'll see about half way through just how genius the writing is. I didn't see the twist at the end. Caroline Lee is incredible, and she did a terrific job narrating. This was one of my favorites this year. I'm a Liane Moriarty fan for life now! Highly recommended!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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