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Sharon Bayliss

Austin, TX
  • 8
  • reviews
  • 12
  • helpful votes
  • 87
  • ratings
  • The Secret Keeper

  • By: Kate Morton
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 19 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,960
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,852
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,851

England, 1959: Laurel Nicolson is 16 years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Kate Morton (and Caroline Lee) does it again!

  • By Maria on 10-20-12

Phenomenal

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

Reviewed: 07-27-18

I fell in love with the complex characters, fascinating settings, and twists and turns. At the end I couldn’t bear to turn it off!

  • The Devil in the White City

  • Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
  • By: Erik Larson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 14 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,460
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,822
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,854

In a thrilling narrative showcasing his gifts as storyteller and researcher, Erik Larson recounts the spellbinding tale of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Also available abridged.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Impossible to stop listening

  • By Michael on 05-26-12

Just not for me

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

Reviewed: 10-14-16

I found the story about Holmes very interesting, but the extensive details of the construction of the world's fair did not hold my interest. I decided not to finish about halfway through.

  • KIYA: Hope of the Pharaoh

  • KIYA Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Katie Hamstead
  • Narrated by: Dara Rosenberg
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 153
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 134
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 131

When Naomi’s sisters are snatched up to be taken to be wives of the erratic Pharaoh, Akhenaten, she knows they won’t survive the palace, so she offers herself in their place. The fearsome Commander Horemheb sees her courage, and knows she is exactly what he is looking for… The Great Queen Nefertiti despises Naomi instantly, and strips her of her Hebrew lineage, including her name, which is changed to Kiya. Kiya allies herself with Horemheb, who pushes her to greatness and encourages her to make the Pharaoh fall in love with her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating and engaging

  • By Sharon Bayliss on 05-25-14

Fascinating and engaging

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

Reviewed: 05-25-14

In Kiya, Hope of the Pharaoh, Egyptian soldiers visit a Hebrew village to find a new wife for the Pharaoh. The Egyptians desire one of Naomi's younger sisters, but Naomi bravely volunteers herself in order to protect her sisters' virtue. When she arrives at the palace, she continues to show strength and bravery, as she stands up for the other wives and concubines, fights the tyrannical first wife, and stays true to her religious beliefs despite threat of death.

I usually do not read historicals, but I'm so glad I made an exception for Kiya. I was immediately fascinated by the world she created and rooted for her characters. I loved stepping into a different world and was impressed by all the detail, such as social norms, culture, food, clothing, and marriage traditions. However, a world is nothing without its characters, and this book has fantastic ones. Naomi/Kiya is a wonderful strong, female character. She is courageous, moral, and easy to root for. I also found the Pharaoh's character to be complex and fascinating. I expected him to be more of a traditional "bad guy" type, but he was very layered and unusual. And the love story between Naomi and Malakai was noble and heartwarming. When he told the story of Rachel and Leia, I admit to tearing up a bit.

I'm so excited to read the rest of the series! Well done Katie Hamstead!

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Vicious

  • By: V. E. Schwab
  • Narrated by: Noah Michael Levine
  • Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,454
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,348
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,342

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates - brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A superhuman novel that isn't strictly YA.

  • By H.R. Tucker on 09-05-15

A new favorite

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

Reviewed: 01-20-14

What can I say? This was amazing, and a perfect fit for my tastes. Definitely the best book I read in 2013, and one of my new all time favorites. I loved the complex characters and their relationships, the well-developed supernatural elements, and the use of anti-heroes. I can't wait to read more by V.E. Schwab!

  • Every Day

  • By: David Levithan
  • Narrated by: Alex McKenna
  • Length: 8 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,725
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,542
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,540

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Conflicted after the ending

  • By Sarah on 07-26-13

A unique premise, a great read for teens

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

Reviewed: 11-17-13

I found the premise of this book to be fascinating, although maybe a little too unbelievable. I'd love to ask David what it was like to create a character with almost none of the basic character attributes. No gender. No race. No body. No name. No family. No real history. I can't imagine how he wrote the blurb for this book, let alone the whole thing!

However, I loved how this premise worked for the story. It's perfect for a YA novel. Imagine trying to figure out who you are at 16, when you are literally no one. I think teens would be both terrified and excited about the idea of waking up as someone new every day.

Although I loved the thematic elements that the premise explored, and thought it allowed for lots of fascinating turns (like waking up in the body of an addict), I did have to suspend belief quite a bit. As a big fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am happy to suspend belief. However, I think David should have explained a little more here. Like, why does he/she almost always wake up within driving distance of Rochelle? He/she seems pretty lucky that the families he enters always speak English!

In any case, it's a fun and thoughtful read. Highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Invisibility

  • By: Andrea Cremer, David Levithan
  • Narrated by: Mandy Siegfried, MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 50

Stephen is used to invisibility. He was born that way. Invisible. Cursed. Elizabeth sometimes wishes for invisibility. When you're invisible, no one can hurt you. So when her mother decides to move the family to New York City, Elizabeth is thrilled. It's easy to blend in there. Then Stephen and Elizabeth meet. To Stephen's amazement, she can see him. And to Elizabeth's amazement, she wants him to be able to see her - all of her. But as the two become closer, an invisible world gets in their way - a world of grudges and misfortunes, spells and curses.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the best books I've listened to this year

  • By Sharon Bayliss on 09-23-13

One of the best books I've listened to this year

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

Reviewed: 09-23-13

This was one of the best books I've listened to this year. I had the pleasure of hearing David Levithan and Andrea Cremer read from this book at the YAB fest in Round Rock. I was intrigued by the excerpt they read and also with the story of their collaboration. This story was written like a conversation. Each one would take turns writing a chapter, with very little discussion about plotting beforehand. I was a little unsure if the invisible boy premise would hold up, but they did well explaining it all in the end. The story was sweet and engaging with lovable characters. Highly recommended.

  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 212,295
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 198,225
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 197,813

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book.

  • By Julie W. Capell on 05-27-14

The ultimate geek hero story

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

Reviewed: 07-21-13

This is the ultimate geek hero story. If you like the 80s, video games, or are any kind of geek (or as Ernest Cline calls them "enthusiasts") you'll love this. I enjoyed richly created alternate world. My only complaint is that this book is LONG, which lots of descriptive tangents.

  • Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish

  • By: Andrew Buckley
  • Narrated by: Jon Cross
  • Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 43

From the Bahamas to Heathrow airport, to the rain soaked streets of London the dead have ceased dying. This is inconvenient for a number of reasons but what's the real reason behind the chaos? In London we find Nigel Reinhardt, a disgraced, confused, and gifted London police constable who owns a prophetic goldfish. In Ireland the Angel of Death questions the value and position of his current employment. At Majestic Technologies Celina McMannis works diligently on a top secret project.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • My Advice, Read the Book

  • By Kimberly on 08-23-13

Delightfully ridiculous

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

Reviewed: 03-27-13

Would you listen to Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish again? Why?

Sure! It's a funny, easy listen.

What did you like best about this story?

This story reminded me of Douglas Adams, full of absurd British humor. Buckley has a clever and rich voice. I laughed throughout the story.

Which character – as performed by Jon Cross – was your favorite?

Jon Cross made the narrative come alive. I loved his interpretation of the characters, especially the voice he chose for the Devil.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would if I had time!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful