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Sara

A day without listening is a day with wasted time

ratings
217
REVIEWS
182
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
116
HELPFUL VOTES
2879

  • The Lost Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Alyson Richman
    • Narrated By George Guidall, Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2151)
    Performance
    (1916)
    Story
    (1926)

    In pre-war Prague, the dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi invasion. Then, decades later, thousands of miles away in New York, there's an inescapable glance of recognition between two strangers. Providence is giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life in Prague before the Occupation, to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit, and the strength of memory.

    Sara says: "Love, Strength & Survival"
    "Love, Strength & Survival"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This book is a beautifully written story of love and strength. The book spans 80 years in the lives of several families that intersect, separate and then join again over time. It is based on the lives of real people and speaks of deep familial love and struggles for survival in WWII Prague. The narrators each gave perfect voice to the characters they portrayed. At first I was concerned about the two alternating readers-- but it quickly made sense and added depth to the telling of the story. While the book speaks of desolation and destruction it also presents beauty, art, deep love and courage. A really wonderful recommended listen.

    43 of 46 people found this review helpful
  • The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Kate Andersen Brower
    • Narrated By Karen White
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (61)

    America's first families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the president and first family.

    Sara says: "The White House Explored & Exposed"
    "The White House Explored & Exposed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narration started out sounding stilted and super slow and drawn out--so much so that for a while I had the speed turned up to 1.25. Then White, the narrator, seemed to relax and the reading improved and I was able to go back to the normal slower speed. But, be aware the first quarter of the book was difficult going until it got better--so be prepared to give it some time.

    The writing is not done in chronologic order so there is a fair amount of jumping around in time. This was a bit confusing. Also, events are organized by topics and broken down into sections. The problem was that there were several stories that must have fit into multiple sections and rather than just tell them once--they were repeated. I think the book could have been about two hours shorter if the author just stated up front once that all the employees that worked in the White House kept quiet about the first families and honored their privacy. This point was belabored so much that it was ridiculous. If it were really true there would be no book!

    All those quibbles aside I enjoyed the book. I particularly liked the stories that came from the families themselves. It was fun, gossipy, glamorous, wasteful, silly and in spots filled with surprising detail. A chance to see an inside view of life in the White House that spans decades and shows the first families and the staff as the flawed humans they are. Recommended if you'd like to hear the gossips tour of the eighteen acres.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Creative Visualization

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Shakti Gawain
    • Narrated By Shakti Gawain
    Overall
    (222)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (85)

    Use the power of your imagination to help create what you want in life! This best selling guide will teach you simple and practical techniques for changing negative habit patterns, improving your self-esteem, reaching career goals, developing your creativity, and much more. Techniques include deep relaxation, asking for guidance, and visualizing goals. Create an inner sanctuary and open up the natural centers of your body - and use your mental imagery to achieve positive changes in your life.

    Fred says: "Creative Visualization"
    "Superficial Unhelpful Approach"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to Gawain's Guided Imagery recordings a long time ago on cassettes and liked her work. I had high hopes when I saw this recording here on Audible and all the great reviews that went with it. To me, it just wasn't up to my expectations and in parts I found the message judgmental and misinformed.

    For example, Gawain must have limited experience both personally and with people she has worked with when it comes to illness and disease. The idea that people make themselves "sick" because they can't rest and "have a break" any other way is both ludicrous and offensive. If you have ever been seriously ill or worked with patients suffering from chronic or life threatening illness they are NOT "resting" when they are bed bound. They are in pain &/or too weak to do anything else. There is nothing suffering people want more than to feel better and get back to activities of living. It is negative and unhelpful to suggest anything else in this recording.

    I believe strongly in the mind/body link and the need for healing and positive visualizations and meditation during times of both wellness and illness. It is powerful medicine. I just found that this program completely missed the mark and I can't recommend it--especially if you are currently suffering a health set back. There are better programs out there.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By David Greene
    • Narrated By David Greene
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    Through the stories of fellow travelers, Greene explores the challenges and opportunities facing the new Russia: a nation that boasts open elections and newfound prosperity yet still continues to endure oppression, corruption, and stark inequality. Set against the wintery landscape of Siberia, Greene’s lively travel narrative offers a glimpse into the soul of 20th century Russia: how its people remember their history and look forward to the future.

    Sara says: "Long String of NPR Short Reports"
    "Long String of NPR Short Reports"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The cadence, inflection and timing of the narration by the author is exactly the same style as short reports often heard on NPR. This style is fine in small news reports but for almost 8 hours it becomes tedious. Further, it made each clipped story of injustice, criminal behavior, and maltreatment sound completely the same.

    I found the book to be a simple retelling of loosely connected events in a news reporter style with little or no insight or personal feeling and texture drawn into the telling. These are discouraging and sad stories. After three hours, listening became totally unbearable and even boring. What's more, several of the events addressed in this book are things I know about, and I have watched moving documentaries covering the stories in rich detail. Green's retelling of these same events was dry and soul-less. To me this is a relentlessly unhappy book that I can't finish or recommend.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The World of Relaxation: A Guided Mindfulness Meditation Practice for Healing in the Hospital and/or at Home

    • ORIGINAL (55 mins)
    • By Jon Kabat-Zinn
    • Narrated By Jon Kabat-Zinn
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    The World of Relaxation was conceived as a way to reach out to patients lying in bed in the hospital and inviting them to experiment inwardly, with Jon’s guidance, in bringing mindful awareness to their present-moment circumstances, utilizing the occasion of having to lie in bed for some time - whatever the viewer’s medical condition and prognosis - to do something for him or herself to promote healing of the mind and body, as a vital complement to whatever the health care system and one’s doctors are doing by way of medical treatments and rehabilitation.

    Sara says: "An Oldie But A Keeper"
    "An Oldie But A Keeper"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am so pleased to have this recording back in my collection--it is an old favorite of mine. The length of 55 minutes is the perfect amount of time for this basic body scan and guided relaxation/positivity boosting exercise. In the past it was used for patients in the hospital but it works really well at home too. Whether you have a chronic condition, a health crisis or are just exhausted it fits the bill perfectly. I listen at bedtime and though I rarely am awake at the end--I know it by heart--I just love the sense of encouragement I feel after listening.

    The harp music-composed for this program--is a tiny bit loud in spots and the sound a tad rough in the beginning but don't let that make you miss this recording. It is great for beginners and more experienced meditators to boost your relaxation and sense of "I'm ok--I can deal with anything" attitude. Worth a listen.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • H Is for Hawk

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Helen Macdonald
    • Narrated By Helen Macdonald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (130)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (119)

    When Helen MacDonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer captivated by hawks since childhood, she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators: the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral anger mirrored her own.

    Sara says: "Mabel The Hawk--The Fire That Burned The Hurts Away"
    "Mabel The Hawk--The Fire That Burned The Hurts Away"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First let me start by saying that I was wary of buying the audio version of the book when I found out that the author was the narrator. This often goes terribly wrong. I was really looking forward to this book and didn't want it ruined by a narration problem. I need not have worried, MacDonald's narration was absolute perfection. The timing, the tone and her ability to capture the emotion and the energy of the story were all spot on. I loved listening to MacDonald tell her own story.

    The writing was beautiful, tragic, poetic, insightful and difficult listening in parts. At first I hated the look back at TH White's life and experience training his own hawk. Then, gradually because of MacDonald's deft storytelling ability I felt sympathy for White and his misery. What's more, having recently finished reading the bio of Alan Turing and I was fascinated by the similarities in White's and Turing's childhoods and experiences in school.

    This book offers a window into MacDonald's experience of complicated grief. It shows us how being in and a part of nature and wildness helped her find her way through. I found myself completely engaged and totally wrapped up in the history, detail and experience of falconry. However, be aware that this is a story about hawks--fierce predators and involves a fair amount of discussion of hunting, blood, and prey. All that said, it is a beauty of a book that allowed a glimpse at life through someone else's eyes. I loved it.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Reluctant Midwife: A Hope River Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Patricia Harman
    • Narrated By Heather Henderson
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend, Patience Murphy.

    Sara says: "Slow Storytelling Underwhelms"
    "Slow Storytelling Underwhelms"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had high hopes for this tale set in hard hit depression-era rural West Virginia. I had read several reviews that favorably compared this book to the Call the Midwife series--I can't agree with that comparison. Instead, to me, the characters lacked charm, depth and the development necessary to make them really engaging. The story circled around and became so repetitive that I gave up due to boredom. What's more, I found the narration sing-song in style and perky even when it was inappropriate based on what was happening in the story line. Such potential wasted. I wish I had given this snoozer a pass. Recommended only if you like a simple, slow and low stress listen about hard times in America.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Susan Blum
    • Narrated By Laural Merlington
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (49)

    Dr. Susan Blum describes the four-step plan that she used to treat her own serious autoimmune condition and helps countless patients reverse their symptoms, strengthen their immune systems, and prevent future illness. Dr. Blum's innovative method shows how to use food as medicine, understand the connection between stress and health, heal the gut and digestive system, and optimize liver function. The Immune System Recovery Plan is a groundbreaking, revolutionary way for people to transform their health.

    Sara says: "An Approach That Treats The Whole Person"
    "An Approach That Treats The Whole Person"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I agree with the author that the standard American diet of fast food, processed food, chemical additives, and high sugar intake is making large numbers of people sick. Overall, I found the material presented compelling. However, there were several places in the book where I felt that Dr Blum may have jumped too quickly from point A to point D (skipping over points B & C) possibly rushing to find "the" answer precipitously. In reality, the physiology and pathology of the human body is anything but simple.

    The book is filled with information and gentle encouragement. I particularly liked Dr Blum's holistic approach--looking at the individual from all angles. Diet, life style, exercise, supplements & vitamins, stress control, mind/body instruction and symptom management are all addressed. The book is very helpful whether you have an autoimmune diagnosis or are trying to prevent an autoimmune disease from developing.

    The narration was a bit strange as the voice almost sounded robotic or machine generated. This wasn't enough to make me stop listening. I would suggest a listen to the sample first, but keep in mind that the material presented is worth coping with the odd narration.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Amy Myers
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    Over 90 percent of the population suffers from inflammation or an autoimmune disorder. Until now, conventional medicine has said there is no cure. Minor irritations like rashes and runny noses are ignored, while chronic and debilitating diseases like Crohn's and rheumatoid arthritis are handled with a cocktail of toxic treatments that fail to address their root cause. But it doesn't have to be this way.

    Sara says: "Paleo Diet For Autoimmune Disease"
    "Paleo Diet For Autoimmune Disease"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Be aware that this is a Paleo diet and not suitable for people who are vegans, vegetarians or just trying to limit their intake of animal based proteins. It would have been helpful if that information was made clear in the review or publisher introduction and overview. The diet presented here is very rigid and limited and there are no variations or alternatives for non meat eaters.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Traveling to Infinity: The True Story Behind 'The Theory of Everything'

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jane Hawking
    • Narrated By Sandra Duncan
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (58)

    In this compelling memoir, Jane Hawking relates the inside story of her extraordinary marriage. As Stephen's academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor neurone disease, and Jane's candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family is inspirational. This is a book about optimism, love and change that will resonate with listeners everywhere.

    Sara says: "Perplexing & Puzzling"
    "Perplexing & Puzzling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am having difficulty understanding why an intelligent woman would marry a man with whom she had so little in common. For example, Jane's favorite activity was ballroom and folk dancing but Stephen did not like to dance and really could not participate. She loved attending the ballet, travel to Spain, studying Spanish all of which he hated. Stephen ridiculed Jane for her choices in music, favorite composers, career and educational focus. Jane was religious and Stephen a devout atheist. The list of their incompatibility goes on. Isn't finding out if a couple has shared interests before they marry what dating is all about? I am perplexed at the general level of surprise that people have on hearing that the marriage failed.

    What's more--there is a strong thread of anger running between the lines of this sad story. To me it is an unhappy look back at a failed marriage from one point of view, Jane's. She uses this book as a vehicle to name names and say what she really thought about people and events from the past. For me this focus was overly negative and the book very long. The narration captures this anger and occasionally even shows a hint of Jane's rage.

    I have not seen the movie but from what I have read and the previews it seems to be totally different from the book. A Hollywood spin of gigantic proportions. I suggest a long ponder before venturing out into this memoir.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • A Spool of Blue Thread: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Anne Tyler
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (422)
    Performance
    (354)
    Story
    (359)

    "It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon..." This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture.

    Sara says: "The Sharp Edge Of Family"
    "The Sharp Edge Of Family"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It has been years since I have read a book written by Anne Tyler and this is the first one of her books that I have listened to as a recording. What a treat. Kimberly Farr's narration was excellent and added to the positive experience of the novel. I thought the timing and the general tone were perfect. Farr was able to capture the quirkiness and wistfulness of the story and characters beautifully.

    Thoughtful, heartbreaking, funny, multidimensional and insightful--the book is beautifully written. I just love the way Tyler describes each scene and paints the picture of the story--filling the book with rich color and detail. The dialogue and family interaction feels real to me and is engaging. All of these elements meld together and make for a wonderful novel. Worth the time spent listening and recommended if you enjoy a quirky multigenerational family saga.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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