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Yolanda S. Bean

Chicago, IL | Member Since 2013

23
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 24 reviews
  • 24 ratings
  • 92 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2014
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  • The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Bruce D. Perry, Maia Szalavitz
    • Narrated By Danny Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (443)
    Performance
    (391)
    Story
    (395)

    What happens when a young child is traumatized? How does terror affect a child's mind---and how can that mind recover? Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses to their own parents' murders, children raised in closets and cages, the Branch Davidian children, and victims of family violence. In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, he tells their stories of trauma and transformation.

    Marilyn says: "Changed a Sixth-Grade Teacher's Life"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This nonfiction audiobook is definitely an intriguing listen. The author, a prominent child psychologist, reflects upon his more high profile and memorable cases. Though Perry uses pseudonyms, each case history rings with authenticity, interspersed with the science and theories of the mind. Perry discusses a wide range of disorders and scenarios of the worst types of neglect. Sexual abuse, outright neglect, Munchausen By Proxy, children of the Branch Davidians, orphans from Eastern Europe and even juvenile delinquents all fall into this fascinating book.

    The narrator’s voice convincingly sounds like the author. Although, and perhaps this isn’t as apparent if reading it silently, the author’s own hubris begins to slip through as he displays pride in his own genius and revolutionary ideas in treating these troubled children. And though this pride is certainly justifiable in the successes recounted here, it makes the book slightly off-putting at times. And though the book is certainly sad, only focusing on successful cases mitigates the book’s overall depressing nature, though it does cast the author in an occasionally negative light. It’s an interesting listen though.

    2 of 2 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
    (723)
    Performance
    (637)
    Story
    (643)

    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.

    Mark says: "Superb Reading of Horror Classic"
    "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
    (43)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (40)

    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!

    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
    (3150)
    Performance
    (2885)
    Story
    (2881)

    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.

    Joanne M. McGowan says: "I didn't want to press the stop button!"
    "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
    (413)
    Performance
    (372)
    Story
    (371)

    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....

    FanB14 says: "What's so Great About Jennifer?"
    "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
    (32)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    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.

    0 of 0 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
    (53)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (48)

    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....

    Bruce says: "Heart Wrenching"
    "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!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Midwife's Confession

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Diane Chamberlain
    • Narrated By Angela Dawe, Cassandra Campbell, Abby Craden, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (249)
    Performance
    (222)
    Story
    (224)

    Dear Anna, What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry. The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle - her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family - described a woman who embraced life. Yet there was so much they didn't know. With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives.

    Kathryn says: "Such a Soap Opera"
    "Engrossing!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Though I have read a few of Chamberlain’s other books, this is the first audiobook of hers that I have listened to and I love it! It’s a completely absorbing story and one that makes me sneak in listening to it at every opportunity - not just in the car like I usually do. It’s an engrossing plot with characters that it is impossible not to sympathize with. It reels you in from the very first chapter. With a variety of narrators (five in all), the performers do a wonderful job of using their voices to bring these characters to life. The plot - full of secrets, twists and turns - contains some expected paths and some surprises, too.

    This family drama reminds me a bit of a Lifetime movie in some ways as the sheer amount of drama continues to amplify throughout the entire book. And with Chamberlain’s penchant for cliffhangers, the book is hard to turn away from. The story ranges through time and each character feels distinct, but still so relatable - even through some terrible choices. In some ways, Chamberlain’s books remind me of Jodi Picoult’s - though without the set formula. Chamberlain is very talented and I look forward to reading - and listening - to more of her work!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods
    • Narrated By Fred Sanders
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (85)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (78)

    Brian Hare, dog researcher, evolutionary anthropologist, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, and Vanessa Woods offer revolutionary new insights into dog intelligence and the interior lives of our smartest pets. In the past decade, we have learned more about how dogs think than in the last century. Breakthroughs in cognitive science, pioneered by Brian Hare, have proven dogs have a kind of genius for getting along with people that is unique in the animal kingdom.

    N. Rogers says: "Wonderful Overview of the Latest Research on Dogs"
    "Absolutely Fascinating!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This audiobook was both a fascinating and fun listen! It was definitely the highlight of my commute - and brightened some household chores as well! I first encountered Hare’s studies in a magazine article and later in a documentary special (on PBS, I think). And though there was more context into the studies, there wasn’t quite as much detail and new information as I had hoped for. Despite some of this overlap, though, this was still a very interesting listen. The authors offered more of a historical perspective and also studies that showed conflicting results. Though the author’s obvious affection for dogs might seem like it would obviously skew the results, their devotion to the scientific method and maintaining genuine objectivity was still quite evident.

    Amongst the clear descriptions of experiments, the authors offered anecdotes and examples of dog genius outside of the lab. I especially enjoyed the section of speculation on the true history of the domestication of the wolf and development of the dog. The conversational style worked well in the audio format, and I sincerely hope that the authors continue to publish their findings in this mainstream medium. While the narrator was not the most dynamic, his voice worked well for this non-fiction topic. A physical format, though, would lend itself better as a stepping stone for further independent research, so I will be keeping an eye out for the physical format as well. All in all, though, this was a great listen and I will continue to follow their research into dog-nition.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Neon Rain: A Dave Robicheaux Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3106)
    Performance
    (1901)
    Story
    (1896)

    New York Times best-selling author James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels began with this first hard-hitting entry in the series. In The Neon Rain, Detective Robicheaux fishes a prostitute's corpse from a New Orleans bayou and finds that no one, not even the law, cares about a dead hooker.

    S. Sand says: "The perfect combination of author and narrator"
    "Highlights New Orleans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first became curious about Burke’s books after reading his daughter’s mystery novel, If You Were Here, last May. Though I don’t usually listen to mysteries, I decided to give this one a try - and I am glad that I did! The narrator does a wonderful job of bringing Dave Robicheaux to life (and I was even more surprised to recognize the performer’s voice while flipping through channels - he played a DA in a made-for-TV movie!). The narrator brings the other characters - and their regional accents - to life quite well. And if the remainder of the series (nineteen more books!) were available in unabridged versions by this same narrator, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase the rest in this format! That is how wonderful the performance is!

    As for the storyline itself, the plot holds some big surprises, but the real strength of the novel lies in the way it captures New Orleans and its surrounds. The ending makes me curious to explore how this has spawned such a long-lived series as it feels quite complete. And though initially published in 1987, there is still something very modern about the book (though, naturally, there are hints to its time period in the lack of cell phones, some crime scene tech, etc). I am looking forward to following this series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War

    • ABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, and others
    Overall
    (3243)
    Performance
    (3072)
    Story
    (3077)

    World War Z: The Complete Edition is a new recording of Max Brooks’ best-selling novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, featuring 21 additional Hollywood A-list actors and sci-fi fan favorites performing stories not included in the original edition. New narrators include Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, Spiderman star Alfred Molina, The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, rapper Common, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg, and members of the casts of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and more!

    Kim Venatries says: "A Good Story with an All Star Cast but ABRIDGED"
    "Riveting!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This audiobook is definitely the most star-studded one that I have ever listened to! From Martin Scorsese to F. Murray Abraham, each voice in this oral history sounds familiar - and in a way, it is a bit distracting - especially while driving and trying to listen and look up online just who’s voice is speaking. But, once the mystery of the identity is solved (some of the voices are instantly recognizable like Carl Reiner and Alan Alda), though it is easy to become absorbed in this history of the zombie apocalypse.

    I have been hearing good things about this book for a long time - but though I own a printed copy, I am actually really glad that I listened to it first! It is such a fun experience to listen to this surprisingly global view on the history of the war of the zombies. Brooks offers a surprisingly full story. It’s a moving story in parts (the dog chapter really made me cry!) and is completely riveting. And because of the strength of the performances, this is one audiobook that I imagine that I will listen to again. Zombies may not be my favorite subgenre, but this is one of the better zombie books that I have experienced!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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