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Helen

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  • 106
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  • 66
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  • Off to Be the Wizard

  • By: Scott Meyer
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,019
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,334
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,330

It's a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble. Oh, and boy meets girl at some point.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hang in there

  • By Kelly on 03-04-17

Cute, but that’s all

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

Reviewed: 07-15-18

I switched to the kindle version after a couple hours, which was a good decision. The writing was okay, the references made me smile, but the plot was boring, the characters were dull, and it wasn’t witty or surprising enough to carry the rest of the audiobook. The ebook has cute illustrations, which helped. Otherwise...meh.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Killing Moon

  • Dreamblood, Book 1
  • By: N. K. Jemisin
  • Narrated by: Sarah Zimmerman
  • Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 727
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 668
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 666

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers - the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe . . . and kill those judged corrupt. But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh's great temple, Ehiru - the most famous of the city's Gatherers - must question everything he knows.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Breathtaking

  • By Jenn on 09-06-12

Jemisin is an inspiration

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

Reviewed: 03-28-18

What did you love best about The Killing Moon?

I love that none of the characters are all good, and none are all evil. I had to think hard about who was in the right and why, and that thought process taught me something about myself and my own worldview...which is not something you encounter often in fantasy.
Jemisin's world building is also incredible, as always, and it's different from her other books. There was a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the world-specific vocabulary, but that's something every fantasy/scifi fan gets used to.

What did you like best about this story?

I appreciate the diversity of characters. A multitude of genders, races, philosophies, and classes are represented, and giving each character a different background adds a lot of nuance that many fantasy writers simply lack. Also, none of the characters have plot armor. And though several characters are following the archetypical hero's journey, they are all on different stages, and Jemisin has a fresh take on the various phases and pressures on people in different stages of life.

What does Sarah Zimmerman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her voice is soft on purpose. When I read, I have a tendency to rush, but Zimmerman made me slow down, which enhanced the dreamlike quality of the writing. I can understand people who could get bored with the tone, because it did demand focus, but overall I appreciate the artistic agency that Zimmerman exercises over the text.

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

Absolutely not. There were passages where I had to pause and think about what was just said, and at times, I needed to emotionally disengage and take a break (ie when "good" characters do terrible things, or when terrible things happen to "good" characters).

Any additional comments?

Jemisin makes me think. And whenever I finish one of her books, I am inspired to create my own art; I'm not passive or just consuming her product, she challenges me to become an artist myself. That's rare, and I love it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Long Earth

  • A Novel
  • By: Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter
  • Narrated by: Michael Fenton-Stevens
  • Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,364
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,131
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,152

The Western Front, 1916. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone? Madison, Wisconsin, 2015. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive - some say mad, others allege dangerous - scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson find a curious gadget.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The Long (and Boring) Earth

  • By Mike From Mesa on 08-15-13

I kept waiting to care

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

Reviewed: 02-18-18

I bought this because Pratchett is one of my favorite authors. However, in this book, he disappoints. I just couldn’t get into the story. The political, social and economic ramifications of the premise are extremely well thought out, but the characters fell flat, and I spent the majority of the book waiting to feel anything other than indifference. I finally gave up and checked out the ebook from the library, so that I could get done with it faster; the only reason I finished at all was that I thought it might improve at the 11th hour. Hope dies last.

The narrator was fine, though forgettable except for the occasional incongruities in his accent and voices.

Overall though, this wasn’t my cup of tea.

  • A History of the World in 6 Glasses

  • By: Tom Standage
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,374
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,941
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,954

Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period. A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun and Informative

  • By Stoker on 09-09-11

Western-centric and sometimes hyperbolic

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

Reviewed: 01-15-18

I found this book informative, especially in regards to the origins of the six drinks, but I was unimpressed with the author’s treatment of non-European history. For example, I learned a lot in the section on spirits, but I noticed that the author *not once* referred to kidnapped Africans as people, only as slaves. In the section on tea, the British attitude and politics surrounding tea received at least 40 minutes and several quotations, but Japanese tea ceremony received only a 5-minute description; no history or origins, no political significance, just a description of some of the tools. Also, I am skeptical of the author’s case for the impact of each beverage. Yes, they were crucial, but to suggest that the modern toast is a remnant of ancient Sumerian religious ceremonies seems a bit overzealous. The epilogue and recipes at the end, however, were fascinating. All told, I’m glad I listened, but I would advise a good dose of skepticism throughout.

  • The Last Black Unicorn

  • By: Tiffany Haddish
  • Narrated by: Tiffany Haddish
  • Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,357
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 26,375
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,262

Tiffany can't avoid being funny: it's just who she is. But The Last Black Unicorn is so much more than a side-splittingly hilarious collection of essays - it's a memoir of the struggles of one woman who came from nothing and nowhere. A woman who was able to achieve her dreams by reveling in her pain and awkwardness, showing the world who she really is, and inspiring others through the power of laughter.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sad it ended

  • By HerHighness on 12-08-17

She’s better on stage

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

Reviewed: 01-13-18

I had high hopes for this book, because I enjoy her stand up so much, but even though many stories were funny, many other stories are of crucial importance to women’s (especially Black women’s) safety, and all the stories are worth telling...it just was not very well written.

  • Across the Nightingale Floor

  • Tales of the Otori, Book One
  • By: Lian Hearn
  • Narrated by: Kevin Gray, Aiko Nakasone
  • Length: 8 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,748
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,789
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,806

A tour-de-force novel set in ancient Japan filled with passion, fantasy, and feuding warlords. The first volume in the highly anticipated Tales of the Otori trilogy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful epic story

  • By Jody R. Nathan on 10-04-03

Sengoku Jidai...if all the legends were true

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

Reviewed: 08-29-17

The setting of this book is wonderful. The writing is gorgeous. The main character drove me crazy.

I really liked Kade'e (I know I probably spelled that wrong) and the characters in the women's story arc. Their arc was satisfying and included some nice commentary on gender and class roles during the Sengoku Jidai. But I found Takeo constantly annoying and whiny.

As for the narration, the male narrator was just okay. He had (apparently) only a few voices, to be applied by age group, and his female voices were straight up obnoxious. The female narrator was better and had much wider range, but her pacing was awkwardly slow.

I held out for the backdrop and spectacular setting, but I won't be getting the sequels.

  • Ep. 1: I've Had Better

  • By: Esther Perel
  • Narrated by: Esther Perel
  • Length: 47 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,103
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,950
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,946

[Contains mature themes] He reached out because a year after the discovery of his affair, they aren’t fighting anymore, but they certainly haven’t moved on. Esther guides them towards a more honest conversation, and a revelation about their communication.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Response to the bitter comments...

  • By Ashley on 06-15-17

Voyeuristic and boring

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

Reviewed: 07-25-17

Would you try another book from Esther Perel and/or Esther Perel?

Nope.

Has Ep. 1: I've Had Better turned you off from other books in this genre?

This genre was more or less reality tv, but in audiobook form, so yes, I'm turned off of anything similar. It seems invasive and exploitative of Perel to profit from this couple's trauma, when there are much healthier ways to convey relationship advice.

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

It focuses on the importance of communication, which I can get behind. However, anyone looking for help with their own relationship really should just go to counseling, and not try to get it from this.

Any additional comments?

I kept waiting for it to either get to the point, or end. Even though it was so short, it took forever, and overall is a waste of time.

  • SPQR

  • A History of Ancient Rome
  • By: Mary Beard
  • Narrated by: Phyllida Nash
  • Length: 18 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,786
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,541
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,518

In SPQR, world-renowned classicist Mary Beard narrates the unprecedented rise of a civilization that even 2,000 years later still shapes many of our most fundamental assumptions about power, citizenship, responsibility, political violence, empire, luxury, and beauty.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Reexamination of the History of Rome

  • By Christopher on 12-17-15

History doesn't have to be studied chronologically

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

Reviewed: 07-25-17

A lot of reviewers seem to think this is disorganized and boring, but I disagree. Beard's studies Roman history by themes as well as by dates, which brought home certain patterns of behavior in Roman life which are reflected throughout Western civilization in general, up to the modern day. This emphasizes the relevancy of Roman history more than a book organized solely by chronology.

Also, it absolutely isn't boring. It requires background knowledge of Roman history, and it helps if you're familiar with the way classicists have traditionally studied Rome. It's heavier on interpretation and discussion than on anecdotes. It's much denser and more detailed than most pop history books, so it definitely requires a certain amount of focus. But if you're willing to put in the intellectual work, you'll get a lot out of this.

However, as with all history books, this isn't definitive. I found Beard's interpretation and organization fascinating and informative, but I'm interested to read the interpretations of other historians, especially some who disagree with her.

Overall, I learned a lot from this book, and it helped me apply Roman history to the modern world. Human nature doesn't change, so comparing the way Romans and modern people approach the same problems makes for very interesting reflection.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Jonah - Die Lehrjahre

  • Der König der purpurnen Stadt 1
  • By: Rebecca Gablé
  • Narrated by: Detlef Bierstedt, Timmo Niesner, Dorette Hugo, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

London, um 1330. Der Tuchhändlerlehrling Jonah Durham wächst bei seinem tyrannischen Vetter Rupert auf, der ihm das Leben zur Hölle macht. Einzig seine Großmutter erkennt sein Talent und seine Intelligenz. Sie vermacht ihm ein stattliches Vermögen, das es ihm ermöglicht, nicht nur das Haus seines Vetters zu verlassen, sondern auch als jüngstes Mitglied der Geschichte in die Gilde der Tuchhändler aufgenommen zu werden.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A wonderfully entertaining way to practice German

  • By Benedikt on 02-11-15

Wäre besser ohne Jonah

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

Je weiter ich die Geschichte gehört habe, desto unerträglicher habe ich Jonah gefunden. Er war total unsympathisch und einseitig...aber viele von den anderen Charakteren waren richtig interessant, besonders die Frauen. Der Erzähler war nur okay, und der Sprecher, der Jonah spielte, war manchmal monoton, aber die anderen Sprecher und auch die Produktion waren super. Ich werde dieses Buch wahrscheinlich nicht wieder hören, und ich werde keine folgenden Bücher in die Serie kaufen, wenn sie auf audible.com erscheinen, aber insgesamt war dies keine Verschwendung.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Hate U Give

  • By: Angie Thomas
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 35,951
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 33,207
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 33,090

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This Book Changed My Entire Perspective

  • By Wendi on 01-14-18

Somewhat of a parable, nonetheless a great novel

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

Reviewed: 04-30-17

Would you consider the audio edition of The Hate U Give to be better than the print version?

Probably, because Bahni Turpin is incredible. I heard her first in "Yellow Crocus," by Laila Ibrahim, where she sounded like an adult woman, but here, she sounds like an authentic 16-year-old girl.

What other book might you compare The Hate U Give to and why?

It often reminded me of "Gehen, ging, gegangen," by Jenny Erpenbeck (which I recommend to anyone who speaks German and cares about the refugee crisis; apologies to non-German speakers, but I can't think of any English-language novels that are meant more as lesson than story, and still are good).

The books are similar in that they seem written to teach the reader/listener about critically relevant topics, and also that both are still marvelous novels. Even though some plot points felt calculated, Starr's voice was natural, and on the whole it was an eloquent, funny, poignant examination of current race relations in the US.

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

See above. She's wonderful.

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

Break the cycle.

Any additional comments?

A non-exhaustive list of people who need this book right now:
-White people
-Black activists in need of some affirmation
-those of us struggling with difficult friendships and major life changes
-those of us looking for new perspectives (i.e., everybody reading "Hillbilly Elegy" in an effort to understand poor White people should also read this)
-people looking for Great American Novels and/or novels that describe a decade or generation

Now stop reading this review and listen to this book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful