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Wandering Artist

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  • 4
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  • The Accidental Alchemist

  • By: Gigi Pandian
  • Narrated by: Julia Motyka
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,864
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,581
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,561

Unpacking her belongings in her new hometown of Portland, Oregon, herbalist and reformed alchemist Zoe Faust can't help but notice she's picked up a stowaway. Dorian Robert-Houdin is a living, breathing three-and-half-foot gargoyle - not to mention a master of French cuisine - and he needs Zoe's expertise to decipher a centuries-old text. Zoe, who's trying to put her old life behind her, isn't so sure she wants to reopen her alchemical past... until the dead man on her porch leaves her no choice.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting premise, mediocre story.

  • By Martha on 06-03-15

Supernatural Rom-com, laced with vapid romance

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-26-17

What would have made The Accidental Alchemist better?

Humor
Less reliance on stereotypes and romance
Getting rid of first person premonitions like: "For some reason I couldn't help but look at the gargoyle" and then the gargoyle did something. Don't say: "For some reason" or give another vacuously ambiguous reason why you're character did a thing, like the forced hand of fate or implied psychic ability were obvious. Just say something like: "I kept staring at the gargoyle to the point where I started losing my train of thought, when all of a sudden." Or... just don't explain that the character is doing something but the author can't explain why.

Also... Get rid of the romantic tensions when a man and woman of the same age first meet. It's boring because it seems to involve two attractive people who are well matched... because that rarely happens. Just make one, or both, of them awkward or off somehow, and if the author REALLY wants romance, then find a substantive reason that they bridge the gap - instead of something as banal as: "And he had no idea what effect his voice was having on me." Boo. That means nothing and certainly doesn't mean they're 'a good match; it just means he makes her hot and bothered, which is fine but let's just call it lust right?

Has The Accidental Alchemist turned you off from other books in this genre?

I'm not even sure what the genre is... but yes, without doubt.

Did Julia Motyka do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Yes... I knew who was who, though I wasn't fond of her male voice, it was still unique from other voices

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It had a gargoyle.

Any additional comments?

The story is some malformed hybrid of: sex-in-the-city, witch craft, single good girl alone and misunderstood in the world and on the run, but needing that romantic flirtation

  • Gray Mountain

  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Catherine Taber
  • Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,126
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5,447
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5,457

The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer's career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track - until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the "lucky" associates. She's offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she'd get her old job back. In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Painful to listen to

  • By Toni on 10-24-14

dramatic narration, bungled romance, great law

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-24-16

the narrator turned the nation character into a whiny and obnoxious girl, who seemed more self involved than the author may have intended. I had to listen to this at 1.55 spread in order to get through the unnecessarily slow pace and sea of pregnant pauses.

however, the author wrote a very unlikable female lead: constantly bitching, taking the worst opinion of a situation. she was a real drag.

the legal story was the best part and had me seriously considering being a lawyer.

  • The Dark Forest

  • By: Cixin Liu, Joel Martinsen - translator
  • Narrated by: P. J. Ochlan
  • Length: 22 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,104
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,759
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,752

This near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking listeners to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from Cixin Liu, China's most beloved science fiction author. In The Dark Forest, Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion - in just four centuries' time. The aliens' human collaborators may have been defeated, but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth's defense plans are totally exposed to the enemy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing

  • By Amazon Customer on 11-25-15

one of the best books I've read in years

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-06-16

The writer has a poet's heart, a technician's mind, and a sociologist's perspective.
an amazing story with compelling characters and social dynamics against a riveting sci-fi backdrop.

  • The Pillars of the Earth

  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 40 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,669
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,317
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,364

The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame...and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Epic story to be read by all!

  • By Gina on 07-25-09

compelling story mired by constant sexual abuse

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-18-16

elephant in the room? This book has a lot of rape, and detailed depictions of it. This would have been a 5 star book without it. there no way to get around it. it made listening to this book an extremely difficult chore at times.

otherwise, it was a good story and well told. the narrator was very good.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • How to Publish Your Book

  • By: Jane Friedman, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Jane Friedman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 189
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 172
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167

In 24 eye-opening lectures, Jane Friedman, publishing industry expert and educator, provides you with sought-after secrets of the publishing process that will help you navigate this difficult progression, bypass pitfalls that many novice authors get hung up on, and improve your chances of being considered for publication. She acts as your personal guide though the entire process: from finalizing your manuscript to writing the perfect pitch to reviewing contracts and marketing your book.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beyond Expectation Amazing!

  • By Travis Smith on 03-09-16

amazing information!!!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-21-16

24 lectures seemed really daunting, then it passed by so fast that I'm surprised it's already over. I'll definitely be listening to this multiple times

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

  • By: Robert Garland, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert Garland
  • Length: 24 hrs and 28 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,420
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,016
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,980

Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Tantalizing time trip

  • By Mark on 08-21-13

Best Audio Book I've Listened To

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-04-15

If you could sum up The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World in three words, what would they be?

Touching
Educational
Brilliant

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

The occasional etymologies, the connection to daily life of peoples long gone and how their lives impact us, learning historic cultures as if they were new

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

From the Dark Sky of Natural History Comes a Bright Spark

Any additional comments?

Want to listen to it again, and again.

  • Empire of Liberty

  • A History of the Early Republic
  • By: Gordon S. Wood
  • Narrated by: Robert Fass
  • Length: 30 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 837
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 588
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 577

In Empire of Liberty, one of America's most esteemed historians, Gordon S. Wood, offers a brilliant account of the early American Republic, ranging from 1789 and the beginning of the national government to the end of the War of 1812. As Wood reveals, the period was marked by tumultuous change in all aspects of American life - in politics, society, economy, and culture.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent historical writing

  • By Joseph on 01-14-10

Informative, Fascinating, and Hard to Stick with

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-09-14

What made the experience of listening to Empire of Liberty the most enjoyable?

The amount of information is amazing, and the multitude of revelations I had about current economics and politics that started from this time in American History was like wave after wave of intellectual bliss. I learned so much from.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The author was not able to relate facts in an easy to follow way/ He would often jump 10 years, forward and backward, for a sentence and then return to whatever time was being discussed; while I am all for this as a way to provide context, the author mishandles is by not being clear about which timeline is being discussed and also the number of times he skips timelines becomes occasionally confusing.

Have you listened to any of Robert Fass’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

n/a

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

Sheer joy at learning so much.
Growing boredom at ineffective storytelling

1 of 1 people found this review helpful