LISTENER

Bosco

  • 102
  • reviews
  • 183
  • helpful votes
  • 155
  • ratings
  • Unwholly

  • By: Neal Shusterman
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 12 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,303
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,167
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,171

Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simultaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Can not wait for #3!

  • By Leah on 02-17-14

What Is a Person?

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

Reviewed: 09-15-18

This book is a worthy sequel to the first book in the series. It digs deeper into the themes of existence and personhood. Just as in today's political landscape, the notion that corporations are people with more rights than actual people makes its ugly appearance here. And there's a Frankenstein sort of theme happening as well.

This book is intense, and I'll need a bit of a break before I start the next in the series.

Daniels, by the way, is a good narrator.

  • The Baker's Secret

  • A Novel
  • By: Stephen P. Kiernan
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,888
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,675
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,668

Only 22, Emma learned to bake at the side of a master, Ezra Kuchen, the village baker since before she was born. Apprenticed to Ezra at 13, Emma watched with shame and anger as her kind mentor was forced to wear the six-pointed yellow star on his clothing. She was likewise powerless to help when they pulled Ezra from his shop at gunpoint, the first of many villagers stolen away and never seen again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Help is really on the way

  • By Georgia on 07-15-17

Worth a Listen

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

Reviewed: 09-08-18

Cassandra Campbell's narration was perhaps the best thing about this book. She voiced Emma, the main character, perfectly, and her French accent was effective while still being perfectly easy to understand. Also, the tempo at which she read was appropriate.

The book itself was quite good, but there were a few things about it that drove me crazy. The main one was the seemingly adolescent treatment of the village priest and religion itself. It seemed the author had a bone to pick with people of faith, and the portrayal of the priest at the beginning proved unfair by the end. And the other criticism I'll share was the two-dimensional nature of most of the characters—really, all of them except Emma. They often seemed to be little more than stereotypes of people than real people. Even Emma herself came off as a bit wooden for most of the book.

Even taking the criticisms into consideration, The Baker's Secret is still very good.

  • Turtles All the Way Down

  • By: John Green
  • Narrated by: Kate Rudd
  • Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,630
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,144
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,142

It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly small amount of actual turtles.

  • By Meg on 11-03-17

Not Satisfying in the End

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

Reviewed: 09-07-18

Of course I wanted resolution in the end. And of course there wasn't really resolution. I know this book wasn't written for my demographic, by the way.

Green, as always, does an excellent job of getting into a teenager's mind and saying what needs to be said. There is, in fact, quite a lot of good stuff in here. And he does a great job incorporating actual literature into the body of the book.

But I like happy endings, and this just didn't qualify.

Kate Rudd did a near perfect job, though.

  • Confessions: Robbie

  • Confessions Series, Book 1
  • By: Ella Frank
  • Narrated by: Charlie David
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 219
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 211
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 211

Relationships are complex. Love is ever-changing. And when it comes to rules of the heart, they were made to be broken. That's what Robert Antonio Bianchi was telling himself, anyway. Otherwise, he really had no excuse for what - or who - he'd done. If there was a bad decision to be made, Robbie always had a knack for making it. And thus, begins the story of the priest, the princess, and the prick. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Great Start

  • By Dorothy L. Benefield on 05-12-18

Not for Me

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

Reviewed: 08-28-18

Sorry, but I just can't get into novels in which a gay man is portrayed so effeminately. Guys who wear red onesies with pompoms or pink thongs are just a huge turn-off.

Also, the author made extensive use of French. Fine. I minored in French. but the average reader didn't

Which brings me to the final thing: The narrator didn't speak French and totally butchered it. Not to mention he didn't seem to know where to put the stress on any of the words in English. But kudos for making the effeminate main character sound as feminine as possible!

  • Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies

  • By: Robert J. Allison, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert J. Allison
  • Length: 18 hrs and 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 505
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 449
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 451

The history of colonial America is a story of extraordinary scope, with Europeans, Africans, and the native peoples of North America interacting in a drama of settlement and conflict that lasted nearly three centuries. Go back in time and relive this epic story in 36 spellbinding lectures. While concentrating on British North America, Professor Allison also covers developments in the colonial outposts of Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the all-important British possessions in the West Indies, which were the source of the most lucrative crop in the New World - sugar - and the reason for the enormous growth in the slave trade.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Subject Matter is wonderful, Narrator no so much

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-25-15

Worst. Lectures. Ever.

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

Reviewed: 08-25-18

Allison could not possibly sound more bored as he drones on about his misconceptions about colonial America. You'd think such fanciful inventions would get him more excited. But whatever.

He introduces his subject matter by talking to us about "language families" and informs us that both Hindi and Persian were, and I kid you not, both GERMANIC languages. It went downhill from here.

He seems unbothered by the European treatment of Africans and indigenous Americans (whom he insists upon calling "Indians" throughout these lectures—even though he admitted early on that this was an insulting term). It's important, he says, that we not force our modern sensibilities on 16th and 17th century minds.

But then he does precisely that throughout the lectures when discussing New England. While atrocities in other parts of the Americas were fine, apparently, anything negative about New England was highlighted, discussed, and laid at the feet of the "Congregationalists." This became particularly frustrating in two places.

In one, Allison quoted Gov. Berkeley of Virginia as being an admirer of New England. He'd like, he said, to create a New England in Virginia but without the Puritans. Allison interjected, quite unnecessarily here, that he didn't blame Berkeley for this sentiment. But then goes immediately from agreeing that Puritans are horrible people and that he agreed with Gov. Berkeley to quoting Berkeley's reasons for hating the Puritans. Was it their intolerance? By no means. It was their commitment to free education and to printing books. So Allison, supposedly a PhD from Harvard, takes the side of the bigot who's against education and books over the people who are committed to education and literacy.

In another lecture, Allison discusses the New Englanders' rebellion against Old England when they had their charter taken away, and were denied representative government, a say in their own taxation, and their right to gather as communities to discuss their own affairs. Throughout this lecture, he somehow presented the New Englanders as being unreasonable, and the colonizing power as being wronged by these horrible people who wanted a say in their own affairs. Why? Because they were Congregationalists.

One final thing I'll mention from closer to the end of the lectures, he criticized the New Englanders for trying to change the customs of the indigenous peoples (remember, he calls them "Indians") and said this was something the French and the Spanish didn't do. Then immediately says that the French and the Spanish actually did do this, but his point had already been made: Oppressing the indigenous peoples (i.e. "Indians") was fine as long as you weren't Protestant.

Obviously somewhere along the way this professor had a run-in with Congregationalists, and has devoted his life to insulting them. If you, too, hate them, then this series of lectures is for you. Otherwise, you might want to avoid this misnamed "Great Course"—or do you really want to trust a "scholar" who thinks that Hindi and Persian are Germanic languages?

  • Sunset

  • Pact Arcanum, Book 1
  • By: Arshad Ahsanuddin
  • Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
  • Length: 14 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

The three metahuman races exist in careful balance, working to maintain a fragile peace. Nick and his fellow Daywalkers successfully master their natural bloodlust. The Sentinels, armed with both magic and steel, repress their warlike instincts. And even some Nightwalkers, normally their natural enemies, have deserted the Court of Shadows to join the triple alliance. Nick Jameson is deeply involved with two such Nightwalkers - handsome Lorcan and powerful Rory.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Read the second book first!

  • By Jessica on 10-07-17

One Was Enough

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

Reviewed: 08-23-18

This book wasn't horrible. It was just far too long. It might've been easier to keep the characters straight if I'd been reading it instead of listening to it, but I admit to some trouble with the audio version. The magic in the book was pretty good, but the relationships seemed pretty adolescent throughout.
The climax had a nice twist to it, and I liked the way it resolved itself in sort of an Ender Wiggin fashion. But in the end the story was only average—again, mostly based on the fact that it was far too long for the amount of story that needed to be told. I don't regret this one, but I won't be reading the followup.
The narration was quite good.

  • Autoboyography

  • By: Christina Lauren
  • Narrated by: Deacon Lee, Kyle Mason
  • Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 304
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 294
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 294

Three years ago Tanner Scott's family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah. But when his best friend, Autumn, dares him to take Provo High's prestigious Seminar - where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester - Tanner can't resist going against his better judgment and having a go.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • ✫✫ 4.5 Stars ✫✫

  • By Cyndi on 06-16-18

The Tension Was Too Tense

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

Reviewed: 08-15-18

Christina Lauren's Autoboyography is a book about a book. A high school senior in Provo, Utah, has signed up for a course called The Seminar, during which each student has a semester to write a book. Tanner's book is mostly about his crush on, and then his relationship with BYU freshman Sebastian, the local Mormon bishop's son. Sebastian was so successful when he took The Seminar that he got a book deal out of it, and ends up being the teacher's T.A. at his old high school, helping the students (particularly Sebastian) with their own books.

This book was quite a bit more tense then one might imagine—so much so, that I can't describe the experience of reading it as a good one. We ended up in the right place, but getting there was too agonizing. I'm not sure that all this tension was intentional on the part of the authors (Christina Lauren is, indeed, two women: Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings), but maybe I'm wrong. I can't imagine that the back story was intended to have the impact it did. For example, Tanner's parents were portrayed as extremely supportive of their bi son, even celebrating his identity from the moment they found it out. And yet they voluntarily move (yes, this involved quitting their excellent jobs, not being fired, laid off, or anything else involuntary) from progressive northern California to Provo, Utah, which is 90% Mormon. Nor can it be argued that they didn't know what they were doing: Tanner's mother is former LDS, having been excommunicated precisely because of her support for her lesbian sister. Moreover, upon moving, Tanner's parents not only tell him he can't date a Mormon (once again, the town is 90% Mormon), but also tell him not to come out to anyone at school. This description makes them sound incredibly inconsiderate and small—and that's the way I perceived them—yet the book itself seems to genuinely want us to think they're progressive and cool.

All in all, the book would've been entertaining enough without the constant and (to me, at least) unnecessary crisis, and the ending was sweet. But the unproductive tension keeps it from actually being a good book in my opinion. The narration was probably above average.

  • The Widows of Malabar Hill

  • By: Sujata Massey
  • Narrated by: Soneela Nankani
  • Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 583
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 535
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 534

Bombay, 1921: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father's law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a law degree from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women's legal rights. Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen is going through the paperwork, she notices something strange.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding Historical Mystery

  • By Kindle Customer on 02-07-18

Two Books in One

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

Reviewed: 08-15-18

I usually enjoy stories about British India, and I think the main reason is the unity in diversity that's often portrayed in them. It's difficult to think of one that doesn't include Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, and Christians, all involved in a joint struggle for dignity and the possibility of self-rule. The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey, calling itself "a mystery of 1920's Bombay," is no exception to this stereotype I've somehow created.

The main character in Widows is Perveen Mistry, the only female solicitor (lawyer) in Bombay, who also happens to belong to an ethnic and religious minority called the Parsi—people who came from Iran centuries earlier and who practice the Zoroastrian faith. We experience two periods of Perveen's life, which, though separated only by about five years, are vastly different. 1921 Perveen is a respected and able attorney recently returned from her studies in England. This Perveen first tries to help three Muslim widows understand their rights, then gets involved in solving a mystery involving a murder in the widows' home. 1916-17 Perveen is a young woman who's been driven from her initial studies in Bombay by misogynistic professors and fellow students, fallen in love, and then found that her new husband was not the man he'd represented himself to be. Both the mystery and the personal struggle are compelling stories, and (naturally) they come together in the end.

Massey's writing is excellent, the plot is fascinating, and Widows provides an opportunity for learning about India in general and Perveen's people in particular. Ms Nankani's narration did the writing justice. I highly recommend this book.

  • The Professor and the Smuggler

  • By: Bonnie Dee, Summer Devon
  • Narrated by: Patrick Eastham
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 37

An explorer at heart, former university professor Phillip Singleton's adventures have only taken place in his imagination - until recently. Exploring the Cornish coast to research a travel book, he encounters a living example of a pirate archetype. Dark-haired, black-bearded Carne Treleaven might have been hewn from the very rock his name describes, and Phillip is eager to discover more. As personalities clash, secrets unfold, and riches are revealed, the two polar opposites find the point where their similarities lay.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story, perfect narrator.

  • By Ellen on 09-04-17

Decent Book

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

Reviewed: 08-15-18

This is a good book with good narration. The plot is pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of a twist.

  • Bound Forever

  • By: Ava March
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 3 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30

Lord Oliver Marsden's life is perfect...well, almost perfect. His bookshop is doing well, his bank account isn't empty, and his nights are filled with a deliciously dominant man...who tends to be a bit too domineering outside of the bedchamber. But Vincent loves him, and that's all that should matter. Right? And of course Vincent still firmly holds the reins of control.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Mediocre Book, OK Performance

  • By Bosco on 08-15-18

Mediocre Book, OK Performance

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

Reviewed: 08-15-18

The basis of plot is quite tedious, and the relationship between the 2 main characters is fraught for no good reason.