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S. Vann

Daughter of a librarian, trained as a librarian, a lifelong lover of books. Mysteries, sci fi, fantasy, biography, true crime, romance, cooking, classic films, etc.!

Denton, TX USA | Member Since 2010

36
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 23 ratings
  • 295 titles in library
  • 38 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
11

  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12119)
    Performance
    (11007)
    Story
    (11033)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "Rest up before you start this one-you will need it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A new apartment always has challenges - meeting new people, getting used to the quirks of a different building, and finding your place in a new environment. Some places are harder than others to adapt to.

    Nate hates his job, and his supervisor is straight out of "Office Space" (we've all had one like that), but maybe the new apartment will help. It's cheap and its closer to work, has a fabulous deck on the porch, an incredible view - so why would someone be so eager to move OUT? Why is apartment 14 vacant? It is not only vacant, there are multiple padlocks on the door, old enough to have been painted over. Even the doorknob has been painted over. Apartment 16 is empty too. And what about apartment 23? Where did the doorknob go? No two apartments are alike, the floor plans make no sense, and the occupants are as different as the apartments. As Nate meets his neighbors and starts to ask "Why?" he finds that there is more to the place and the people than is apparent at first glance.

    Get lots of rest before you start this book - you will NOT want to stop to sleep, to eat, to work, or do anything else. Give in, embrace the building and its oddball cast, and you will be richly rewarded.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Michael Pollan
    • Narrated By Michael Pollan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (745)
    Performance
    (664)
    Story
    (665)

    In Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements - fire, water, air, and earth - to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world....

    Michael says: "Very enjoyable listen!"
    "Earth, air, fire, water - how they change food"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A look at learning how the four "ancient" elements change food, and how these changes have changed us as humans. I was skeptical after seeing a brief interview, but after listening to the book, getting the whole explanation instead of the 15-second sound bite, I have recommended this book to co-workers, family, and friends. Pollan does not write from a clinically detached place, he actually learned to bake bread from his own natural starter culture, braise with the best of them, brew at home, pickle and ferment veggies, make cheese, and barbeque. He shares the triumphs of the processes, as well as the failures, and his encounters with the true artists he met along the way. He has learned that cooking can bring the family together, especially when the interest and passion is shared with the other members of the family. I think the fact that he still continues to make bread, braise, and brew occasionally speaks volumes to the satisfaction that can come from food lovingly and artfully produced and appreciated. When you learn to appreciate the art and effort that go into the preparation, you are much more conscious and conscientious in the eating and drinking!

    I would not listen to this in one marathon evening or even weekend, but it is worth the time to change your understanding and appreciation of cooking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Good Omens

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4487)
    Performance
    (2933)
    Story
    (2966)

    The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

    Lauren says: "Great voice adds to already amazing story"
    "The Apocalypse has never sounded so fun before!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An order of Satanic nuns, charged with chattering nonstop, including a sister who manages to misplace the Son of Satan. A hound of hell in the form of a small, wiggly, yappy dog. The horsemen of the apocalypse on bicycles? What is the End of the World coming to?

    An angel and a demon team up to stop the end of the world, because they rather enjoy the world, more or less as it is. They have to be a little underhanded (or over-ethical) in the way they go about it so that their respective bosses don't find out, but maybe humanity is worth saving.

    In the course of the story, great mysteries of life are explained, like why certain motorways and highways wander around and make life miserable, why all audiotapes left in cars change to the same song, and the fact that many world leaders and most politicians have already been claimed by one side or the other.

    I have read and re-read the book at least five times, and listened to the audiobook at least three or four more times. Give this one a try if you have a wicked sense of humor - I doubt you will be disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Bob Spitz
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (241)
    Performance
    (213)
    Story
    (206)

    From Pasadena to Cambridge to New York, Washington, D.C., India, Ceylon, Paris, Marseilles, Santa Barbara, and Maine, Bob Spitz re-creates an extraordinary life. He takes us beyond the image of Julia as the tall, eccentric woman with a funny voice who taught America how to cook, to establish her as a genuine rebel and beloved icon, a woman who redefined herself in middle age, helped to change the role of women in America, set the standard for how to create a public personality in the modern media world.

    S. Vann says: "Deeply mixed feelings"
    "Deeply mixed feelings"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you want a glowing biography that shows this icon in an unfailingly positive light, this is NOT the book for you.

    If you want to know more about Julia AND Paul before The French Chef and after the peak of that series, this is a great book. If you want to know more about the darker side of Julia (and it seems she did have one), this is a great book. It can be easy to get lost in some of the details, and the lists of names can be confusing. I do wish that the narrator had made a firm decision - to warble or not to warble for Juli's voice - and stuck with it throughout the book. I fully intend to read the book soon to clarify some of the things that lost me, but this lets me wait until I can get it from the library.

    I am torn about this book. Don't get me wrong, I have listened to "My Life in France" and "Julie and Julia" and watched just about every PBS special ever made about Julia Child, so I thought I was familiar with her life. This book showed that those other titles may have been skewed more than I knew. While it makes her less of a shining hero, this book makes her more real. I do intend to listen again.

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Raising Stony Mayhall

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Daryl Gregory
    • Narrated By David Marantz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1058)
    Performance
    (938)
    Story
    (941)

    In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman's arms is a baby - stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda, and he begins to move.The family hides the child - whom they name Stony - rather than turn him over to authorities who would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow....

    Dave says: "The Undead Have Never Been So Fresh (or Funny)"
    "The living dead are people, too!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What came after the initial infection, but before the undead took control? Not about mindless eating machines, but people who still have families and lives. I bought this after reading reviews, and I am so glad that I did. I am not a fan of really gory slasher movies or books packed with mayhem, but this had so much humor and real emotion that I keep wanting to tell everyone I know about it.

    Great narration, a good pace without being rushed, and a new take on the living dead - or differently alive. A great book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow of Night

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Deborah Harkness
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6487)
    Performance
    (5838)
    Story
    (5840)

    Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches' cliff-hanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew's old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens. Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries.

    Hallie says: "Even better than A Discovery of Witches"
    "Immersive history,new interpretations of old name"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While I agree with other reviewers that there is not an enormous amount of plot advancement in this book, I enjoyed the descriptions of the time, the places, and the new takes on familiar names. I hope that the third book will make it clear what happened to some of the minor characters, like the children encountered in the past.

    I do think that quite a bit of time was spent establishing the time and place so that it was easier to understand what makes Matthew tick - why and how he came to be who he is in the present. His friends in this time are the influential who are shaping the world, and he is quietly shaping them. There were characters I loved, and those I hated, as the author intended. I feel that I have a much better appreciation for the time.

    I look forward to the next book, but that is because I trust the payoff will be there for the HEAVY investment in character and background found in this book rather than extensive advancement of the plot. This is not a book for the casual reader, just picking up a random book - it is clearly part of a series that will need to be read in order.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Ruth Reichl
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (516)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (150)

    Garlic and Sapphires is Ruth Reichl's riotous account of the many disguises she employs to dine anonymously. There is her stint as Molly Hollis, a frumpy blond with manicured nails and an off-beige Armani suit that Ruth takes on when reviewing Le Cirque. The result: her famous double review of the restaurant: first she ate there as Molly; and then as she was coddled and pampered on her visit there as Ruth, New York Times food critic.

    Kathleen says: "disappointing"
    "Restaurant reviews through a life in review"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me With Apples, and this is the companion that covers Ruth's time as the critic for the NY Times. It has lovely recipes that she made at home on the nights her job didn't take her out. I think her honest appraisal of the food, decor, and attitudes at some of the most famous restaurants was worth the read. I have listened to it several times, and always find something new. I will never eat at most of those restaurants, so this is my chance to experience them, even if it is second-hand. Ruth Reichl is a great food writer and lets you experience her ups and downs in the job of food critic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Woodcutter

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Reginald Hill
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1208)
    Performance
    (901)
    Story
    (897)

    Wolf Hadda's life was a fairytale - successful businessman and adored husband. But a knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later Wolf begins to talk to the prison psychiatrist and receives parole to return home. But there's a mysterious period in Wolf's past when he was known as the Woodcutter. Now the Woodcutter is back, looking for truth and revenge...

    Diana says: "One of my favorite Reginald Hill books!"
    "New author for me- I'm hooked! Stayed up til 3 am"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For fans of PD James, Elizabeth George,Minette Walters, or Martha Grimes, give this one a try. A journey tale, a cycle of rags to riches to rags to perhaps redemption, this is not a typical mystery of the Met, but the style and spirit is very fitting of these authors.

    I found this book through an online chat with an audible.com representative, and I loved it. I am now watching the TV movies made of the Dalziel and Pascoe books, and hope to begin reading them soon, as well.

    The plot is well paced, and while some may seem over the top, I think it is meant to be a cautionary fairy tale - beware, know those around you as well as yourself! The characters were interesting types, and all-too human at the center of it all.

    The narrator is clear, even in the accents. While he gives a sense of the tension of the story, he never rushes or pushes the listener too fast. I have already recommended this book to others, and I hope they find it as engrossing as I did



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Snuff

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1817)
    Performance
    (1608)
    Story
    (1619)

    Sam Vimes is on a well-deserved holiday. But for the commander of the City Watch, a vacation in the country is anything but relaxing. The balls, the teas, the muck - not to mention all that fresh air and birdsong - are more than a bit taxing on a cynical city-born and -bred copper. Yet a policeman will find a crime anywhere if he decides to look hard enough, and it’s not long before a body is discovered, and Sam - out of his jurisdiction, out of his element, and out of bacon sandwiches (thanks to his well-meaning wife) - must rely on his instincts, guile, and street smarts to see justice done.

    Tim says: "Perfect Pratchett"
    "Sam Vimes on forced holiday; crime follows!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Snuff the most enjoyable?

    I like Stephen Briggs' characterization and voices. I am a fan of Britcoms, so I am familiar with the accents and British terminology. Having real all of the Discworld books helps, but is not necessary. I have now listened to this book at least six times - it is my go to when I am tired or stressed - it always makes me laugh out loud.


    What other book might you compare Snuff to and why?

    The other Discword books, early Xanth books - the same off-beat humor that loves to play with language and what words really mean.


    Which character ??? as performed by Stephen Briggs ??? was your favorite?

    I love Sam and young Sam - the interaction between the two is wonderful!


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

    I laughed out loud several times, each time I listen to the book. Pratchett is a wizard with words.


    Any additional comments?

    The development of young Sam as he learns from his parents and the world he embraces is wonderful. The simple acceptance of children who have not yet been taught to judge, hate, fear, or avoid the

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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