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  • Loving vs. Virginia

  • A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case
  • By: Patricia Hruby Powell
  • Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
  • Length: 2 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 22

From acclaimed author Patricia Hruby Powell comes the story of a landmark civil rights case, told in spare and gorgeous verse. In 1955, in Caroline County, Virginia, amidst segregation and prejudice, injustice and cruelty, two teenagers fell in love. Their life together broke the law, but their determination would change it. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races, and a story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Inspiring Story with Amazing Narrators!

  • By Rachel on 01-05-19

Inspiring Story with Amazing Narrators!

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

Reviewed: 01-05-19

The reading of this story is absolutely AMAZING! Honestly, I've never been into a dual narrative like I have been with the reading by Adenrele Ojo and MacLeod Andrews. When they read together during the marriage ceremony of Richard and Mildred Loving... I got chills. I'm really hoping they read together again.

For those who don't know about this case, it's the one who made interracial marriage legal in the United States. This story takes us into the lives of Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter. They were friends as youths who eventually fell in love in 1955, in Caroline County, Virginia, USA. Their families agreed the two were meant to be together and they fit together as a couple. The big issue with their love story is that Mildred is Black and Native American while Richard is white. Their romance faced many issues amidst segregation and prejudice, injustice and cruelty, and invasion of privacy by Virginian law enforcement. They were not legally allowed to be married to each other in Caroline County, which is where their family and friends were, so they were forced to move to Washington DC to live a life together. Their love broke the law so they weren't able to be seen together in Virginia. Thanks to their determination to return to their beloved families, hometown, and state of Viriginia, they would eventually change the law that said they couldn't be seen as legally married. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races. This is the story told in verse of that devoted couple with two young boys and a little girl who faced discrimination, were arrested twice and jailed once, had their children seen as "mixed illegitimate bastards," and fought discrimination for nine years and unanimously won their freedom to return home as husband and wife.

I remember finding out about the Lovings when I was looking into major court rulings of the 20th century for a school project way back in the early 2000s. When I found out it was a love story, I knew I had to find out how a love story could lead to a Supreme Court ruling. Needless to say I was confused, mad, and inspired by their story. It also helped me decide then and there that I wasn't going to be with someone who wouldn't fight to be with me like Richard and Mildred did for each other. It's hard picturing all the cruelty and hardships this young family faced. I can only hope that they're smiling and holding hands while walking on soft grass together in heaven.

Overall, I'd say this story is 4.5 but the wonderful narrators are 5 for sure.

  • Jubilee, 50th Anniversary Edition

  • By: Margaret Walker
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 15 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,051
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 971
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 965

Jubilee tells the true story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress. Vyry bears witness to the South's antebellum opulence and to its brutality, its wartime ruin, and the promises of Reconstruction. Weaving her own family's oral history with 30 years of research, Margaret Walker's novel brings the everyday experiences of slaves to light. Jubilee churns with the hunger, the hymns, the struggles, and the very breath of American history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely riveting!

  • By purp on 12-14-16

4.5 stars for a really great audiobook!

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

Reviewed: 01-02-19

Jubilee was one of those books I hadn't heard about until I saw it as an Audible Daily Deal. I looked into the history of the book and its author and I found out some interesting things. Ms. Walker released this story in the 1960s and it was well received. In truth, I can see why. Many people, including myself, saw this as a realistic story on slavery and the 7 years after it was abolished as it shows both the hope and disappointment that many blacks faced during the before, during, and after the Civil War. The story is based on Ms. Walker's real-life Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather that she wanted to share as a historical fiction.

The story switches between multiple points of view but it's done so subtly I wasn't really bothered by it. Ms. Walker's timing and writing about the switching of thoughts and opinions of the different characters. One way Ms. Walker introduces us to this switching of POVs is that she starts the story, literally the first chapter, by giving us the backstory of how the main character, Vyry, came into existence. Vyry's mother, Sis Hetta, is a slave that gets repeated sexually assaulted by her master, John Dutton, who is also the owner of the plantation she lives on. She is 29 yet has a total 15 children through her husband and master by the time she unfortunately passes away from a sickness. It's sad how often many female slaves were assaulted by their masters. They were seen as "practice" before marriage and release when men were unsatisfied with their wives. It wasn't right, but I knew that Ms. Walker wasn't going to shy away from harsh reality slaves, including her own family members, had faced. It was even sadder how often the children born from these encounters were seen as their father's "property" not children. The feelings John Dutton has towards Sis Hetta are complex as he seems to genuinely care for her but is unable to grasp it. These were slightly common for men of the time. Whether it was love or satisfaction in "her duty" I cannot say.

After that the story tends to focus on the life of Vyry and her life. We share in loving moments with adopted family members and shockingly horrible moments that many slaves experienced. There are holiday celebrations, weddings, and daily duties the Dutton family, the overseer Grimes, and the slaves on the plantation have and they are all so different. The Duttons are well-respected and rich so they do things in a grand manner and try to be as generous as their natures can afford. Grimes is considered a poor/middle class man who works hard for a family he has both jealously, respect, and resentment towards as he has to work constantly in all forms of weather. He relies on the Duttons and knows they control him a little less than the slaves he controls. Lastly, the slaves are below the poverty line as they rely on the Duttons for everything (a new pair of clothes and shoes once a year, for example). We see the different levels of slaves also in the book: the outsides slaves who work the fields and house slaves who help the chores and maintenance of the plantation.

There were even mentions of feminine hygiene and how someone would deliver first aid after a slave was beaten or whipped. I was surprised and happy the the depth and details Ms. Walker went into this story. It seemed truly like no stone was left unturned in regards to writing or questions a person would have in a life for all the different people that were in the Deep South. The story takes brief breaks with passages of political, social, and economical states of not only the South but the North and nation as a whole. Many people have felt that these moments interrupted the flow as a story, but I liked these moments as it helped me understand Vyry's and the other characters lives we follow. The characters are very different with different standings throughout the novel (born free black versus slave, poor whites versus rich blacks, farmers versus business owners, or educated versus uneducated people are examples of the differences touched on). Beware of the possibility that these points added to the complexity of the book.

Another arc of the story was the romances Vyry has with two different men: Randall Ware, an educated born-free black man who owns his own blacksmith business, and Innis Brown, a freed slave who wants to own and work his own farm. These men show the different types of men that were around before and after slave. Randall was able to use his skills to help the Union Army and become involved in politics to try and better the lives of his fellow blacks. He is a stubborn man who I grew to really admire and feel for when he both stumbled and succeeded. Innis Brown is an every man for blacks who just wants to fulfill his dream of having a family and living his "simple" dream of having his own farm and land but struggles due to be unable to read or write. There comes a moment where the reader has to ask themselves who they would rather have Vyry with, and, honestly, I couldn't tell you who was the better choice. Both men have their flaws and strengths and made me think of men I know personally. I grew to really like all the characters including Vyry throughout the book.

If I'm completely truthful of my feelings I can't say this is a perfect book for me even though it's a super good book. As odd as it sounds I feel a part of this unhappiness stems from Vyry being shown as the epitome of a black woman. She's strong in her faith, hardworking, talented, stubborn, and loving as person and I love her for those traits. However, she can't seem to do anything wrong or make mistakes. Something injustice always happens to her but she never seems to do anything to warrant it. There are moments where her oldest son, Jim, isn't too happy with her but he believes that she has to be the way she is out of womanly loyalty to her husband. Nobody is perfect or want to write bad about their dead family member (most of the time but not always) and in this case I feel it kind of hindered the story and Vyry's further growth has a person.

Lastly, I really enjoyed Robin Miles as a narrator. I've heard another audiobook narrated by her previously and found her to be the best part of that story. (It wasn't my favorite sci-fi.) She voiced about 20 people throughout the story and other minor characters, yet made the voices distinct enough to not get too confusing for me to follow. That is a job well done! If you find a book with Robin Miles as the narrator definitely try to listen to it.

  • The Woman in Black

  • By: Susan Hill
  • Narrated by: Paul Ansdell
  • Length: 4 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,126
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,919
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,919

Eel Marsh house stands alone, surveying the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Once, Mrs Alice Drablow lived here as a recluse. Now, Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor with a London firm, is summoned to attend her funeral, unaware of the tragic and terrible secrets which lie behind the house's shuttered windows.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Classic Gothic Ghost Tale

  • By Mel on 01-25-12

Everybody Should Own This Audiobook!

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

Reviewed: 10-29-18

I loved Mr. Ansdell's voice for this reading; nobody could have been better! He enunciated his words and (hopefully this isn't rude) genuinely had me feel emotions, yes even fear, during his meetings with The Woman in Black. I've been struggling to find an audiobook I love or can understand due to hearing loss. This book not only fixed my audio reading slump but helped me find a new favorite narrator. A properly done horror book with other layers to that are good for mystery and slow burn drama lovers.

  • Meditations

  • By: Marcus Aurelius, George Long - translator, Duncan Steen - translator
  • Narrated by: Duncan Steen
  • Length: 5 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,224
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,725
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,681

One of the most significant books ever written by a head of State, the Meditations are a collection of philosophical thoughts by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121 - 180 ce). Covering issues such as duty, forgiveness, brotherhood, strength in adversity and the best way to approach life and death, the Meditations have inspired thinkers, poets and politicians since their first publication more than 500 years ago. Today, the book stands as one of the great guides and companions - a cornerstone of Western thought.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excelent reading of an excellent classic

  • By David on 10-22-16

Great Narration to a Book That Isn't For Me

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

Reviewed: 10-14-18

The narrator, who was also one of the translators of this version, did a really great job. I could hear his voice clearly and he added an emotional depth that reading a book by oneself could lack. He definitely kept me interested in listening as his voice was quite soothing.

I was told this "is a great book if you're new to philosophical thinking or want to learn more about stoicism" and I do agree with that. These 'meditations', or "notes to self" as we may call them now, are pretty much that: a person's deep musings on his personal philosophy. Mr. Aurelius was clearly a very wise man and the writing, even after translation, has an undeniably strong impact. There are so many nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout this book which can easily cause one to fall into an introspective well of thought, which many people would find quite beneficial. I know I appreciate a leader who seeks out knowledge and self-reflects and wish more would do so in current times. Despite being almost 2,000 years old, there are a surprising amount of ideas that still apply to today, albeit on a rather fundamental level of philosophical understanding.

However, the ideas put forth in this book are from a philosophy that doesn't resonate with me; some classmates I had found it to be a "very basic form that requires a very naive way of thinking about one's thoughts". To a point, I can see their point as many of Mr. Aurelius's assumptions are based on the existence of 'the gods' of Ancient Rome. The book is sadly still incredibly repetitive with the same core ideas being repeated in different ways throughout the book. It almost seemed like he was trying to convince himself of the ideas by tackling them from a number of angles. I can appreciate this as he was seemed to try the absolute truth for himself, unfortunately, it makes for a boring read and listen at times.

There are also quite a few things I outright disagree with. I'm not questioning Marcus Aurelius's smarts or leadership standing at the time but I don't agree with all of his opinions that make up his philosophy. Two examples are that he seemed to have no notion of the unconscious mind and that people are wholly good and bad. Personally, I think there is an "in between" as in certain circumstances a good person could make a bad decision that changes their life for the worse, which changes who they are. Most of these thoughts are a result of the time this was written in and that should definitely be taken into consideration when reading. Now that I'm older and know a bit more of philosophy I was able to take this into account. Nonetheless, they still affect the reasoning and thinking behind his ideas and I can't fully get behind it.

  • The Weight of Silence

  • By: Heather Gudenkauf
  • Narrated by: Jim Colby, Eliza Foss, Cassandra Morris, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,108
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,848
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,848

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A jewel

  • By Sara W on 07-17-10

Not as Good as Expected

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

Reviewed: 10-12-18

At different times, I liked and disliked this story. This book was a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2009), Barry Award Nominee for Best Paperback Original (2010), and Edgar Award Nominee for Best Fiction by an American Author (2010), so I expected to really be blown away by this book. Instead I found myself reading a pretty predictable plot that at times didn’t fully interest me. If it wasn’t for the wonderful narrating cast of the audiobook then I would have DNFed this audiobook very early on. Many people thought the beginning is the best part but I honestly thought it was just okay as it laid the ground work for people’s relationships, the girls’ friendship, and how the events of the terrible day happened. It wasn’t until I was 54% into the book, in the scene where we’re brought back to how the novel started, that I found my interest grow tremendously. There are attempts to tackle serious questions that realistically exist for many people sadly. An example is whether someone who you know is capable of doing bad things could escalate in their violence.

This book has many points of views for Calli, Petra, their immediate family members, and Deputy Sheriff Lewis. This can make the book a little muddied but the narration of different narrators and stating each section with the person’s name helped me keep everything in order. It also helped set the stage for the serious questions that I mentioned earlier. Everyone reacts differently to situations and we’ve heard many versions from other books and the news, so what choices these characters make make sense in a psychological and emotional sense. This doesn’t mean that the reader has to agree or even like them. I found myself unsatisfied with some of these decisions, especially towards Antonina “Toni” aka Calli’s mom. A downside to these multiple view points is that it tends to drag the story on; if you aren’t into slow burning books then this might bother you as a reader. The view points play off each other pretty well but I was getting a little annoyed when it switched to a worried parent’s view to deputy sheriff thinking about his son and talking to higher ups. Think focusing on fewer people would have helped keep the focus on what was most important, which is the missing girls.

The last thing I’ll mention is that I didn’t necessarily like the epilogue. Some of my questions that I had were answered but they made me mad. Literally the marriages of two characters ended and they have always loved each other but one refuses to date the other while he plays surrogate parent. I understand waiting a while but when you’re dreaming about this person while you’re married… I have to call B.S. on this ending. It doesn’t make sense. For many people the ending was contrite and I have to agree with them.

I can see why many people liked this slow burn contemporary thriller, but it just didn’t grab my attention like I expected it to. When it did it ended up falling flat. It wasn’t really a mystery who the kidnapper was, the author gave a big clue in the book, but if you like psychological based books to see why people do what they do and how they would act in these situations then give this book a shot. I would recommend the audiobook as it was the best part of my experience.

  • Binti

  • By: Nnedi Okorafor
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 2 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,040
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,913
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,909

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Messages

  • By khaalidah on 10-07-15

Pretty Meh

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

Reviewed: 08-26-18

I was very excited about listening to this book as I have enjoyed listening to Robin Miles's voice and this was a super hyped science fiction book. In truth, this book wasn't bad but didn't live up to the hype. Some parts seem to be slightly rushed and not as well explained as I would have liked. One example of such instances, is why and how Binti developed a close relationship with Okwu. It seemed to be because her gift for healing but it could also be that he took her food and water everyday. I'm still not fully sure, so I'll go for a mix of both.

Also, I didn't care for the thick accent that Ms. Miles did for this book. As someone who is hearing impaired it was very difficult to understand her at times. Even a friend who I buddy listened to this book with couldn't understand it and they have great hearing. It is possible to understand her but beware that it might not be as easy as it is for other books.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Alamut

  • By: Judith Tarr
  • Narrated by: James Patrick Cronin
  • Length: 17 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19

A knight from across the sea, a beleaguered kingdom, a spirit of fire with a deadly secret - Judith Tarr's beloved novel of grand romance and high magic in the age of the Crusades appears for the first time in digital form. Join Prince Aidan, son of a mortal king and an immortal enchantress, and the deathless Assassin Morgiana, in a saga of war and truce, betrayal and honor, hate and love.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Overwrought wording and poor narration

  • By nybiblio on 07-15-14

Mixed Bag of a Book

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

Reviewed: 08-17-18

Donna Tarr’s “Alamut” is an alternative history of the Christian Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem during the reign of Baldwin IV, aka The Leper King, and several years prior to Saladin's defeat of the Crusaders (sometime between the Second and Third Crusades). This story follows Prince Aidan who is a celebrated Christian knight who loves his equally magical twin King brother and human sister and their families. He arrives in Jerusalem to learn his nephew (human sister’s son) has been slain by an Assassin while he slept with his wife. He vows to find and kill the Assassin and his master, the Old Man of the Mountain. Along the way he travels to Damascus and Aleppo and learns more about Muslim culture and traditions and even manages to meet Saladin. He also meets the Assassin who, much to his surprise, is a woman. What adds a different twist to the tale is that both Aiden and Morgiana, the Assassin, are faerie folk or ifrits (as they are called in Islamic areas). They are immortal (or close to it) and are very attracted to each other.

I really tried to get into this book but had the hardest time. There were so many times I DNFed this book but I couldn’t get the praise that others have written out of my head. “Alamut” was released in 1989 and was considered a spectacular book that fit into multiple genres (fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction, and romance). I should have loved this book as it has assassins, murders, sex, fights for power, and strategy for all kinds of things. All things an action, fantasy, historical fiction book should have, but I found the story longwinded. It was impossible to get fully into the first half of the book. The latter half was where I finally found a way to get into the action. The narration of the audiobook kept me from DNFing as I found Mr. Cronin's voice nice to listen to. I'll be looking for more audiobooks that he narrates in the future. If this had been a physical copy I would have DNFed this book around page 141-173.

Even though I was able to like the book it still was a bit ridiculous. Aidan’s boy army are alive, but I have no idea how they could possibly be alive. Somehow, they ended up lost in the dessert, fighting off wolves and bad guys controlled by an immortal assassin, go back to where they were given to a man, then go with the guy's lady love to a certain city ONLY to go back to where they were given to the guy to wait for him... I understand that these are the times of Templars with knights, kings, and princes, but this just seems like complete nonsense that they would have let their master out of their sight when they adore him and cuddle with him at sleep and not even look for him.

The romance was the best part of this book, in my opinion. There was a love rectangle and it was decently executed as one of the sides was set aside, so I guess it was more of a love triangle. The sex scenes were nicely done; not smutty but enough to get the feelings of love and underlying ones the characters had. The outcome of everything wrapped up tidily and a part of it bothers me. It was too simple of a solution and I find it hard that nobody would figure things out with all the smart people around in their family. It’s like saying “if I will it to happen then I can not only be around my child but no one will find out that it’s not supposed to be mine” and it will because you’re good looking and charming to women, teens, and children. This book made me feel like I was losing my mind since things seemed nonsensical yet interesting at other times.

I’m giving this book a soft 3 star rating. “Alamut” is my definition of a mixed bag as I both dislike and like aspects of it. The action is there but could have been better since it was boring about 55% of the time. The romance was the best part, but it seemed clipped near the end as the author seemed to feel it was time to wrap up her own story. Honestly, I’m not sure if this book needed to be longer or shorter to be a more complete book but it missed the mark for me. I won’t be continuing this duology or reading any other Donna Tarr books.

  • Mademoiselle Chanel

  • By: C. W. Gortner
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Gibel
  • Length: 14 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 374
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 338
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 335

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to an orphanage after their mother's death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle's exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Felt too much like chick-lit for my liking

  • By Ilana on 02-25-17

One of Gortner's Better Historical Fiction Books

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

Reviewed: 05-18-18

I knew a bit about Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel before I read this book, but never felt I understood her. She is a respected but controversial figure who knew what she wanted and went for it. I like how Mr. Gortner didn't just ignore the fact she had affairs with married men, possibly had close entanglements with a few women, and was possibly a Nazi spy. I respect that Mr. Gortner didn't shy away from unpleasant events that happened in Mademoiselle Chanel's life like some authors I've read in the past have. Mr. Gortner wrote in what he believed to be the truth, and I can respect him for that. Many people have said he should have written in a more unfavorable light of Mademoiselle Chanel but that seems like a personal preference. This is a historical fiction and things are impossible to prove since so much time has passed, so he could write about what he believed to be provable. Mademoiselle Chanel always denied being a Nazi spy and there was never enough proof to convict her. She was such a private women that I'm not sure the truth will ever fully be known about her as she didn't keep a journal or many confidants. In truth, I'm not sure what to believe about her even but I do know a few things. I admire her tenacity to work for what she wanted in her life (success and independence) but her biggest downfall had to be pride. She made a lot of decisions based on emotions and sometimes it cost her dearly. This book isn't a biography but I feel like I can understand Mademoiselle Chanel better than I have before. How an individual feels about her is left up to them in the end.

I must be honest and say that if I had read this book I might have given this book a 3 star rating. I had a print copy at first but gave up on reading it as it is a long book. I decided to try listening to the audio version as I liked the narrator's voice. Rebecca Gibel, the narrator, really made a difference for me. Her narration kept me listening to this book for hours and drew me into the story more than reading it did. Hopefully, in the future, I can listen to another book that she narrates. I'd recommend the audio over the print version as it truly brings the emotion from the characters out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Female of the Species

  • By: Mindy McGinnis
  • Narrated by: Amanda Dolan, Justis Bolding, Dan Bittner
  • Length: 7 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 415
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 385
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 386

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn't feel bad about it. Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best - the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can't be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna's body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This book is a hot, fever-sick punch in the gut

  • By emily manning on 09-26-16

Good Book but Important Messages Were Watered Down

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

Reviewed: 04-30-18

When this book was released a couple years back, there was no escaping the hype. Everyone was talking about how this book brought up rape culture, sexual assault, misogynism, vigilante justice, and other serious topics. When one of my friends on Goodreads asked if I wanted to read this book with her I jumped at the chance as I had recently bought it and hadn't done a buddy read before. (Ended up getting asked to buddy read an hour later by someone else haha.) My experience with reading this book wasn't what I was expecting. Most of my friends on Goodreads have loved this book so I expected to fall in love with it too. The truth is that I had a hard time getting into the book and had to put it down for a while before returning to it.

I was surprised that this book isn't as dark as I thought it would be given the topics but they are talked about throughout the book in various ways that I appreciated. There was the cop speech, parent speech, and friend speech but it wasn't anything that unique. Alex Craft is a person I can understand and liked. She's basically the friend we all need in our lives as she doesn't judge unless you do something she finds out you assaulted a female. The issue with this book for me is that it was a little too standard for me.

Doesn't this sound like standard teen movie we have all seen at some point? Alex is a smart lonely girl who is hiding a secret. Her solitary world is broken into by the preacher's kid everyone knows and isn't much of a threat to anyone and the handsome jock who can and does get any girl he wants. The popular cheerleader who can't stand sharing the spotlight becomes jealous of her and tries to take the handsome jock from her. Throw in some scenes about abandoned and injured animals and it is literally a 2 hour movie one can see on the weekend during the day.

For me the book's important messages were patted down a little by the focus on the relationships of the teens. Don't get me wrong, I liked reading about the development of Alex and Jack falling in love for the first time and Alex learning how nice it is to have friends, but it made the change from serious topic a little odd for me. The ending made sense but I can see why some people didn't like it. Honestly I didn't like how the author seemed to cheapen Peekay and Alex's friendship at the end. It's true you can never truly know somebody but the whole point of that friendship was acceptance for you are as a person not for your title or actions.

This is a good book that didn't live up to the hype for me. That being said it is worth a read for the important messages our society needs to have ingrained in it. If you want a book that has a balance of both dark and light undertones this might be exactly what you're looking for. If you want a darker book that will make you seriously think then you might need to look elsewhere.

  • Bette & Joan

  • The Divine Feud
  • By: Shaun Considine
  • Narrated by: January LaVoy
  • Length: 16 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 588
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 532
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 527

This joint biography of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford follows Hollywood's most epic rivalry throughout their careers. They only worked together once, in the classic spine-chiller What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, and their violent hatred of each other as rival sisters was no act. In real life they fought over as many men as they did film roles.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Old Hollywood Drama!

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-06-17

One of the Best Hollywood Biographies I've Read

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

Reviewed: 04-30-18

I love watching old Hollywood movies and learning about the actors and actresses that influence actors and actresses after them. Over the years, I have also grown to enjoy reading biographies of people that inspire me and that I find fascinating. The best biographies offer both juicy details and extensively researched facts, and this book is bursting at the seams with both. Even if you’re not typically interested in biographies and claim not to care about these two megastars, you will find yourself caring within a few dozen pages. This book has to be one of the most well-done biographies I’ve read in a long time.

The chapters within this story are divided into segments, which makes for quick and easy reading. One of my favorite things about this book was that there are plenty of quotes by fellow actors, family members, and members of the press to provide a general outlook on the ladies and not just one point of view. In truth, I was concerned that a biography dealing with two stars instead of just one would lack focus, jumping back and forth between two disparate lives without cohesion. (I’ve only read one called Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley where this worked well.) The very beginning of this book feels that way, as the two stars did indeed have very different origins, but this is a good thing as it leads us readers to develop our own opinions of them. I greatly enjoyed listening to this book and getting to know more about these actresses.

Any arguments that I had or ever will have are nothing in comparison to these ladies. They truly were tough ladies who earned the title “bitch” because they took no prisoners. I wouldn’t want to have my name on their “shit list” after reading this book. I knew they didn’t like each other and messed with the other but dang… I learned so much and enjoyed all the shadiness. There were moments that I laughed out loud, talked to myself, and nodded in approval of what I read, which earned me a few looks from people.

For mega fans of these actresses, I should warn you that not all of their films are discussed, as there are too many to mention them all, but a variety of unsuccessful and beloved ones are here. This wasn’t a perfect book for me as there were some minor slow parts throughout the book but the most noticeable was near the ending. It wasn’t unexpected since they retired from film and the book ends with their deaths. This biography is definitely a worthwhile read for both seasoned fans of the ladies and the casual classic film viewer who doesn’t know who they are. It’s a good book with a rating of 4.25 to 4.5.