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Yolanda S. Bean

Chicago, IL | Member Since 2013

28
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 28 reviews
  • 28 ratings
  • 106 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015
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  • Stolen

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Lucy Christopher
    • Narrated By Emily Gray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (188)

    This stunning debut novel from Australian author Lucy Christopher generated considerable buzz for its nonstop suspense and breathtaking imagery. Sixteen-year-old Gemma is on a layover at Bangkok Airport, headed to Vietnam with her parents. Then the vaguely familiar Ty drugs Gemma’s drink and steals her away. Her head swirling in confusion, Gemma soon finds herself fighting to survive in the unforgiving Outback.

    barnes says: "already listened twice"
    "Dark & Thrilling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This marks the first fictional audiobook that I have ever listened to! And it is quite an enjoyable experience! Although I probably would have read this book in one evening, listening to it for the last few weeks has really brightened those slow hours at work. At first the slowness of listening frustrated me as Christopher’s novel is certainly a gripping story! But as I grew accustomed to letting my ears paint the pictures, I started really looking forward to those quieter moments when I could listen to it. The audio version is narrated by one woman, who has a pleasant voice to listen to. The novel’s format is that of a long letter from the abducted sixteen year old, Gemma, to her captor, Ty. Listening to the “you” makes this a bit startling at first to listen to, but it really makes it easier to identify with the villain, too. The narrator’s gruffer voice for male voice and higher one for the other women is a bit startling at first, but even when handling the different accents the narration is clear and easy to listen to and never distracting.

    The storyline itself is dark for the YA market - definitely targeted towards the older end with its swearing, drinking and the overall abduction premise. The perspective and overall style of the book really sets it apart from other kidnapping stories. The book also offers a fascinating insight into Stockholm Syndrome - though at times the sympathy for the villain is over-emphasized. Still, it has a ring of authenticity to it. But, it definitely romanticizes being kidnapped - another reason why this is more appropriate for older teens and adults. It’s an emotional story - evoking tears and some genuine chills.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17187)
    Performance
    (14317)
    Story
    (14313)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    L. O. Pardue says: ""Rear Window" Meets "Gone Girl""
    "A Good Listen For The Daily Commute!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has garnered a lot of attention - to be one of the bigger releases so far into 2015. With an intriguing premise, I decided to listen to this one and I am so glad that this is the format that I chose. I don’t know that I would have enjoyed the story as much if I had read the print version, to be honest. The three narrators each do a wonderful job of bringing Rachel, Megan and Anna’s stories vividly to life. Each of these women is so unlikable and damaged that I don’t think I would have been able to palate reading them, whereas listening to them captured my interest completely in a sort of trainwreck way.

    But, despite my disgust with each of these women, I must admit that it was hard to stop listening - it is oddly captivating. Often I found myself listening to this one outside of the car, my typical listening place. I expected, from the blurb, for this to have more of a Rear Window feel to it with Rachel’s voyeurism on her commute in and out from London. But it quickly becomes clear that Rachel is more than a watcher with an overactive imagination. She’s a drunk (who knew that gin and tonic came in a can?!) who frequently blacks out. Megan, the object of Rachel’s watching does not have the perfect life that Rachel has imagined and when she goes missing, the author allows plenty of room to speculate along with the characters. Anna, the third woman, is connected to both Rachel and Megan with her own troubles.

    The plot follows some sadly expected routes, but there are some surprises tossed in. Each of these women is just so unlikable, with each finding their self-worth only in the eyes of the men they love. None of these women are heroes - even at the novel’s climax - and by the end, despite how engrossing it had been, it is surprisingly easy to say goodbye to these characters. Still, it is an attention-grabbing story and one that is superbly performed. I will probably keep an eye out for more from this author, though, despite my dislike of the characters because of how overall engrossing the story was...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Boston Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Anita Diamant
    • Narrated By Linda Lavin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (405)
    Performance
    (356)
    Story
    (356)

    Addie Baum is "The Boston Girl", born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie's intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine - a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture and new opportunities for women.

    Meryl H. Ruth says: "Sweet, Nostalgic"
    "Borrow A Bubbe!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is our book club pick for our next meeting and the second book club selection that I have listened to on Audible - and I must say, it’s been a much better experience than the first one! The format of the novel itself is rather ideally set for an audio version - Addie Baum, 85, is asked by her granddaughter to explain how she became the woman she is today and in the beginning, there’s even mention of the tape recorder capturing this interview. The comments scattered throughout, directed at her granddaughter, Ava, often line up perfectly with what the listener/reader is thinking. The book really feels vivid in this format, allowing the listener/reader to borrow a Bubbe. It certainly made me feel that way - and though Addie would be a lot older than either of my grandmothers, it was kind of nice to pretend to have a living grandparent and listen to her story - though this Boston girl has little in common with either of my grandmothers... But the performer does an excellent job - particularly with the warm tone and the asides. Though the Boston accent isn’t as thick as would’ve been authentic, I think this concession is toward understandability - and it is there, but definitely muted. The Yiddish, though, seems well pronounced and brings more authenticity to the narration.

    As for the story itself, it unfortunately glosses over much of the historical detail that I had expected from the premise - Addie lived through some tumultuous times, but little more than briefly described backdrops are included. The main focus is on Addie’s life - with her family, friends and romantic involvements. Because of this scant attention to the history, the women especially seem too modern for their actions - for much of Addie’s life, women couldn’t even vote and despite her involvement in women’s groups, there is only one passing comment about this! There’s more detail about Prohibition! In some ways, the small amount of history adds to the authenticity of the oral record frame. I doubt that many would re-tell their lives with much attention paid to the greater circles of laws, politics, et cetera - but it also stands out because of the women’s issues that are discussed here and the general independence of these women. I just expected more context.

    To be honest, it is the stories here that are left untold - particularly the lives of Addie’s sisters that piqued my interest even more... Still, I am looking forward to discussing this one at our upcoming meeting. I think it will instigate some interesting discussion and I am looking forward to hearing what the rest of the club thought!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Leaving Time

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman, Abigail Revasch, Kathe Mazur, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3369)
    Performance
    (2999)
    Story
    (2993)

    Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts. Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest.

    Jan says: "Pickiest Reader Would Be Willing to Give 6 Stars"
    "Don't Listen While Driving!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first audiobook of Picoult’s that I have listened to and I greatly enjoyed it - much more than I expected to! This is certainly a rather heartbreaking read (so I must admit that it was sometimes difficult to listen to it in the car, my usual audiobook listening space!). I must admit that the ending twist to plot took me by surprise (in fact, though I guess I had an inkling, I just kept hoping for a different outcome...). And I definitely appreciated all of the anecdotal stories about the elephants (even though most of these were the heart-wrenching parts that made it harder to see while driving - hence why I had to just listen with headphones inside instead!).

    And it is especially nice to see a deviation from all of Picoult’s more formulaic novels revolving around a trial. Unfortunately, there is very little that is uplifting about this book - particularly for Alice, but also for Serenity in the way that her storyline abruptly concludes. This audio version is well-performed and I am sure that it will not be the last of hers that I listen to - I may even go back and listen to some of those that I have already read just to experience them in this new format!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Every Dead Thing

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By John Connolly
    • Narrated By Jeff Harding
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (64)

    Former NYPD detective Charlie "Bird" Parker is on the verge of madness. Tortured by the unsolved slayings of his wife and young daughter, he is a man consumed by guilt, regret, and the desire for revenge. When his former partner asks him to track down a missing girl, Parker finds himself drawn into a world beyond his imagining - one where 30 year old killings remain shrouded in fear and lies, a world where the ghosts of the dead torment the living....

    Mike says: "Horrible narration"
    "Whispersync Really Works!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is actually my first time re-reading Connolly's Charlie Parker series consecutively. When the latest book was delayed in arriving, I decided to stop putting off the pleasure of reading them all over again, further delaying the delight of reading the latest novel in the series. But, for this first book in the series, I quickly realized that I had loaned out my copy and decided on an impulse to purchase the audio and Kindle versions and try out the Whispersync.

    Not only was as I as impressed as ever with Connolly's writing, but I enjoyed switching seamlessly between the two versions. The performer's voice does not quite match up with what I had envisioned, but after some time, I grew accustomed to his cadence and for the most part, it wasn't too distracting (though Louis and Angel's voices made me wince the first few times...). Connolly's rich writing translates well to an audio version though and I love re-discovering this first appearance of the characters. I had forgotten how much I had initially liked Rachel in particular. And I had completely forgotten how much of this one takes place in New Orleans! When I first read this series, I had not ever been there, and now that I have, I think I enjoyed this one even more the second time around!

    And while the identity of the Traveling Man was not a surprise to me (his identity was pretty memorable), I genuinely enjoyed re-reading (and listening!) to this one! Connolly consistently maintains the suspense quite well and weaves a surprisingly complex plot with enough legs to grow this series into its current length (and well beyond, I hope!). It is a tightly written book that I think a lesser writer would have turned into a trilogy with just this plot. What a treat to enjoy again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Haunting of Hill House

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Shirley Jackson
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (826)
    Performance
    (729)
    Story
    (737)

    Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House.

    Crystal says: "Well written horror tale"
    "The Perfect Listen For October"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book seems like the perfect choice for an October audiobook! Heralded as one of the classic horror novels, I have been curious about it for some time. It’s been adapted into two movies - the original is one that my mom used to claim is the scariest film she has ever seen (though in later years she did revise this opinion!). And the remake, as a I recall, is a rather lackluster affair that bears little resemblance to the actual book. The woman who performs this audiobook does a nice job with both the range in her voice and in helping to augment the eeriness of Hill House.

    It is an unsettling story, though perhaps not one that would make my personal top-ten of scariest books - though it is easy to see how it has so heavily influenced the horror genre. Its echoes are most certainly felt in later fiction. And I have always liked Jackson’s writing style - and it has a truly timeless quality to it that belies its 1959 publication date. That more than anything may speak to its continued success. It is the most certainly the perfect Halloween audiobook and I am happy to have listened to it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Secret Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Diane Chamberlain
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (70)

    Actress Eden Riley's decision to make a film about her mother plunges her into a shattering confrontation with her own past, irrevocably altering her life and the lives of those she loves. Her mother, Katherine Swift, was a renowned children's author who died when Eden was very young. Now Eden, recovering from a divorce and disillusioned with her glamorous life, returns to the childhood home of the mother she barely knew. She moves in with her uncle, archaeologist Kyle Swift and his wife, Louise. Eden gets more than she bargained for when Kyle gives her the journal her mother had kept from the age of 13 until her death.

    Yolanda S. Bean says: "Dark Family Drama"
    "Dark Family Drama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the fourth audiobook of Chamberlain’s that I have listened to this year. The performer does a wonderful job of bringing all of the characters - young, old, male, female, Southern and Northern - to life. And Chamberlain takes a family drama with the darkest of elements - child molestation, incest and yet somehow makes her audience genuinely care about each of these characters, even while being repulsed at times by their actions. It’s an engrossing story and though it does feel on the predictable side, it is one of of those audiobooks that I found myself listening to as much as possible. I will definitely continue to both read and listen to her work!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Big Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6665)
    Performance
    (5863)
    Story
    (5864)

    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!"
    "Wonderful!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the fourth book of Moriarty’s that I have read, but the first one that I have listened to on Audible. The narrator has done a simply wonderful job performing this story that focuses mainly on the lives of three women - Madeleine, Celeste and Jane. All three are mothers of kindergartners in the same class. What on its surface seems like a story of primary school politics actually carries along with it darker themes and violent actions. The book’s timeline wraps around the Trivia Night which culminates as the climax of the novel, but luckily, Moriarty includes enough of the “after” to make this a genuinely satisfying experience.

    The book runs the gamut on emotion - from scenes full of humor all the way to heartache and touches on bigger issues as well. It is very well done and expertly performed. The narrator’s voice neatly keeps the large cast of characters straight and the Australian accents add to the fun of listening to it. It reminds me of just how much fun audiobooks can be - which can be easy to forget if you are suffering through one that you don’t enjoy at all - and here this is never a danger! I am looking forward to Moriarty’s next book - and I think I just may get it on audio as well!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (483)
    Performance
    (429)
    Story
    (429)

    A sophisticated, pause-resistant double love story spanning 40 years - an unforgettable Brief Encounter for our times. It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing - not the tragic car accident, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply "B", asking her to leave her husband. Years later, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives....

    Corinne says: "Wonderful book!"
    "Not For Me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was the most recent book club selection - and the first time that I listened to one rather than read it. And I think this will probably be the last time that I chose to listen to our selection rather than read it. It took me forever to plod through this one. I regret voting for this one, that’s for sure! The performer who narrates this does a good job, but her careful speaking and precise accent adds to slowing down the already glacial pacing. And the alternating time periods would most likely be a lot easier to follow in a printed version. Not to mention that the redundancy of the letters themselves would be a lot easier to skim over on the physical page.

    I also think that all of the adultery and sex would be more palatable in print than listening to it in the car (or heavens forbid, at work!). These are the first “love” scenes that I have encountered in an audiobook and I do hope that they are the last - it’s not pleasant to listen to.

    As for the story itself, it’s rather underwhelming. The modern angle of the story came as an abrupt shift and quite frankly just takes too long to connect back with the main story between Jennifer and “Boot”. Part of my dislike for this aspect of the plot lies with Ellie herself - she is unlikable and completely unsympathetic. And her romantic entanglements are melodramatic and just too soap-operatic for them to be interesting. Not that the other characters are all that much better - I did not identify or particularly like any of them. And the plot - even with its ridiculous “twists” is actually quite predictable overall.

    Perhaps if Ellie’s section had been removed entirely, I would have enjoyed this more, but since it greatly bogs down the book, it really slowed down my ability to muster up the energy or desire to listen to any of it. Frankly, I am surprised that I made it through all 15+ hours. I think I would have stomached the book a bit better in print, but even then, I don’t think it would have redeemed the characters or the plot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Escape Artist

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Diane Chamberlain
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (46)

    Susanna Miller loses custody of her 11-month-old son, Tyler, but rather than turning the little boy over to her ex-husband and his new wife, she goes on the run. She dyes her hair, changes her name and escapes from Boulder, Colorado, leaving behind everyone she knows, including Linc Sebastian, the man who has been her best friend since childhood and who knows her better than anyone. Susanna lands in Annapolis, Maryland, alone, frightened, and always looking over her shoulder for someone who might recognize her. Just as she's beginning to feel safe in her new surroundings, she stumbles across information that could save the lives of many people....

    Yolanda S. Bean says: "Not My Favorite of Hers"
    "Not My Favorite of Hers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have truly enjoyed several of Chamberlain’s other books - both in print and in audio. This one, unfortunately, is far from my favorite of her work. Though Chamberlain’s books all have a certain Lifetime-movie-quality, this one feels more like a re-run... the story feels overly familiar and even the subplots fail to add an unexpected element (despite the bombings, even!). The performer narrates the audio version has a smooth voice, and though she handles the male characters well, the timbre she uses for Lucy in particular is almost painfully brash. It certainly makes me thankful that she is such a relatively minor character!

    Originally published in 1997, this book certainly feels a bit dated listening to it now. Particularly in the way that the research is handled, and how many different factors would change in today’s world were the same story to be told. The Internet really has changed daily lives! The early computer technology that is mentioned here will certainly make modern readers reminisce over their own memories.

    But, ultimately, these are not Chamberlain’s best characters. Suzanne/Kim is not easily likable and the other characters, like Peggy, just don’t feel as realistic or complex as other characters in Chamberlain’s other novels. The pacing drags in the middle, and unlike other audiobooks that I have listened to by Chamberlain, I never once found myself exploiting every opportunity to listen. I am still a big fan of Chamberlain, but this one just feels more bland by comparison.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Father

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Diane Chamberlain
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Arielle DeLisle, Emily Durante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (72)

    Four years ago, 19-year-old Travis Brown made a choice: to raise his newborn daughter on his own. While most of his friends were out partying and meeting girls, Travis was at home, changing diapers and worrying about keeping food on the table. But he's never regretted his decision. Bella is the light of his life. The reason behind every move he makes. And so far, she is fed. Cared for. Safe. But when Travis loses his construction job and his home, the security he's worked so hard to create for Bella begins to crumble....

    Eric says: "Good story but narration lacking"
    "Another Great Book By Chamberlain!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just love Chamberlain’s books! She is a wonderful writer who masterfully creates characters that tug on a reader’s (and in this case, listener’s) heartstrings. And her plots also hook in her audience so tightly that I set aside my usual audibook-listening routine of my commute and have instead been illicitly listening at work and even using headphones at home! The three narrators here each have distinctive voices and the performers all do a wonderful job. The North Carolina accents add to the authenticity of the characters. And though the plot ultimately plays out in a predictable conclusion, I don’t think that any other ending would have been satisfying and any predictability in no way diminishes the storyline.

    Really, the only thing that nagged at me throughout the story is a rather minor detail. A house fire sets the entire book in motion and there is not a single mention of insurance... A fire is almost entirely covered, so no mention of it all sticks out a bit. But, without the fire, Tyler’s story would not have been as dramatic - or as engrossing - but I wish that at least a mention of how the homeowner’s insurance was overdue or something had been made... But, really, I am looking forward to both reading and listening to more of Chamberlain’s books. She is a talented author and this is a very well-performed audiobook!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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