LISTENER

Heather

  • 54
  • reviews
  • 148
  • helpful votes
  • 297
  • ratings
  • The Lie Tree

  • By: Frances Hardinge
  • Narrated by: Charlotte Wright
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 150
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 137
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 137

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy - a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible narrator and Boring philosophical rambling

  • By Inky on 10-21-17

Interesting Setting but Uninteresting Reveal

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

Overall I enjoyed this book. It takes place in a period that fantasy usually doesn't. I was intrigued by the idea of the plant and was pulled along through the story wanting to know how it would all come out. The setting of archaeological digs was interesting and the author mixes in social norms of the period. There's a lot of focus on women's lack of power during this period, which seemed well-researched to me. I also liked the idea, at the end of what the tree really is.

That said, I was very disappointed that the author didn't actually follow through on what the book initially said the tree was. The book very much implies that the tree imparts knowledge that no one else would know. But the visions that she sees only have to do with her father's murder. It just doesn't make sense that the tree would be that sought -after if it wasn't really special knowledge.

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

  • Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
  • By: William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer
  • Narrated by: Chike Johnson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 436
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 333
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 335

Here is the remarkable story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just Wonderful

  • By L. Lyter on 12-27-10

Inspirational Story for TED Talk Fans

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

This book was far from my typical read, but I enjoyed it overall. I think it is a very uplifting true story of a young man overcoming his difficult life situation. The book was written with the assumption that you're already familiar with William Kamkwamba. As I had no idea why he had written a book, I suggest that you watch his Ted Talk in advance, otherwise it takes half the book before it becomes somewhat clear.

The book is basically divided up into a few parts. The first 50% of the book mostly covers William's culture and childhood. This section isn't really relevant to the story and honestly, should have been cut from the book. It mostly is random mythology type stories from the region. I think the point of it was to show how steeped in a belief in magic his culture is. It isn't until half-way through the book that you hear about his village's struggle with starvation, his issues with paying his school bill, and the impetus for his amazing inventions to improve his family's life. The next section deals with his travels and talks at conferences and re-entrance into school.

I guess the take-away is that it's a good story and really gives you some detailed first-hand information about what it's like to live in one of the most under-developed nations in the world. He delves a bit into the politics, even, that contributed to the issues. He also discusses some of the hindrances he sees that are brought about by his culture onto the people in his country. His experiences are heart-breaking and visceral. However, William maintains such a positive spirit in the book, and beyond. I don't think the book was well-conceived with too much filler and not an eye toward introducing the reason for the story, early on. However, if you're a fan of Ted Talks I think this will be a very good book.

  • Renegades

  • By: Marissa Meyer
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Soler, Dan Bittner
  • Length: 16 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,045
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 964
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 963

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies - humans with extraordinary abilities - who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew. Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice - and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Like conclusions? This book isn't for you...

  • By Guarding Cross on 11-21-17

Super Hero YA Book with Little New or Different

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

Reviewed: 12-04-17

There are a lot of YA books about people developing super powers. I can't say there was much that I found compelling about this book. It is far too long for the amount of content. The author did not convince me of the conflicted nature of Nova. There were no characters I cared about. There is a part at the end that potentially speaks of something interesting for book two. Overall, very little world-building and no explanation as to why people suddenly got special abilities. The only unique thing I noted was some new ideas on abilities. Otherwise, mostly just expect people of the X-men variety fighting each other saying really cliche things.

  • The Obelisk Gate

  • The Broken Earth, Book 2
  • By: N. K. Jemisin
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,083
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,618
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,607

This is the way the world ends, for the last time. The season of endings grows darker, as civilization fades into the long cold night. Essun - once Damaya, once Syenite, now avenger - has found shelter, but not her daughter. Instead there is Alabaster Tenring, destroyer of the world, with a request. But if Essun does what he asks, it would seal the fate of the Stillness forever. Far away, her daughter Nassun is growing in power - and her choices will break the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Miles is becoming my favorite narrator

  • By Jesslyn H on 08-29-16

Interesting Reveals but Mostly Filler

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

Reviewed: 06-20-17

As a follow up to book one, I found this book to be mostly filler. It was one of those books where I was willing to give the author a pass on some style choices but then it really got on my nerves towards the end.

What I enjoyed - We get to learn some interesting information on why there are the seasons. I like the idea of post-humans evolving special abilities (I think that's what happened, anyway). We learn a lot more about the different types of post-humans and their function. Nessun was interesting to see how she learns and deals with her past. I liked the interactions with Alabaster and learning more about stone-eaters. It's a very interesting world she has created.

I had hope, after book one, that she was going the direction of Mark Lawrence's first two series. The idea of a future Earth where they are interacting with old tech that we recognize. While I believe there was this tech in "Obelisk Gate," I could not determine what she was implying they were interacting with. I was especially disappointed when we learn there is magic (instead of them just being post-humans). Finding out that magic is in everything felt like - oh, it's just pantheism. It was like something unique just became cliché with these choices.

The author continues the issues with murkiness in other ways: The use of pronouns became very confusing with several choices the author made. One is the continued choice of using a second person pov for Essun. There are also sections with first person pov and others with third person but you don't know who is talking or being talked to. There are also quotes with redacted parts at the beginning of chapters. I found myself often unsure of what person a pronoun was referring to and the style felt pretentious and not well-deployed.

Another source of annoyance is the extensive focus on everyone's appearance - their hair especially. I have no idea why we should care. Is she trying to imply the movement of humans/post-humans through Earth? As an aside - also there is so much focus on the interpersonal community stuff and I just didn't see how it was relevant to the plot in the end.

The book was okay, but I just think the author fell victim to hubris. I do admire her creativity but she was unsuccessful at implementation of her ideas. She made too many bad style choices and needed more editing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • A Gentleman in Moscow

  • A Novel
  • By: Amor Towles
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Guy Smith
  • Length: 17 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,037
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19,505
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,435

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in an elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant, heartfelt, inspiring

  • By Jon K. Rust on 07-24-17

Ambiance Book - Not much history or plot.

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

Reviewed: 06-20-17

This book took me a long time to finish. Due to the length and lack of plot, I suggest reading in portions. The book has good ambiance and a good cast of characters. It gives you a little view into Russia during an interesting period. However, it seemed rather light on the history elements given that the book has no forward plot. I suppose there is a bit of a character arc in the main character, but not enough to notice all that much. There is some plot in that the people we meet might ultimately help us later on. Basically, this is an ambiance book. It isn't until the last two chapters that there's any exciting part. I think if it had been about 200 pages shorter it would have been much better.

The narration is good, except that the narration is with an English accent and the character feels very much like an Englishman. Also, his American accent is quite bad. I think they could have found a narrator that was able to do a Russian accent and that would have helped.

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

  • By: Sherman Alexie
  • Narrated by: Sherman Alexie
  • Length: 4 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,265
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,508
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,495

Born poor and hydrocephalic, Arnold Spirit survives brain surgery. But his enormous skull, lopsided eyes, profound stuttering, and frequent seizures target him for abuse on his Indian reservation. Protected by a formidable friend, the book-loving artist survives childhood. And then - convinced his future lies off the rez - the bright 14-year-old enrolls in an all-white high school 22 miles away.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Essential reading for anyone trying to understand Rez Life

  • By Richard W Smith on 01-03-16

Stunningly Good

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

Reviewed: 09-29-16

Certainly my favorite autobiographical work. The book covers about a year in the life of the author as high school student - and his transition to a "white school." He speaks about the sad as well as beautiful aspects of growing up on the reservation and in his Native American family. I appreciated his approach to telling us enough of the aspects of living in this culture to get a feel for the unique challenges. While there are many sad moments, he cuts it with funny stories and touching moments. I suppose I found the book somewhat more interesting because I lived on and off in the Spokane area. While I definitely recommend this to any adult, I think it's especially poignant for young men.

Listening to the audio book made this an even more authentic experience. He talks about having an accent from growing up on the reservation and you get to hear this in his reading. He did an excellent job with reading his book - getting into the excitement and pain and humor perfectly.

  • The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

  • By: Amy Schumer
  • Narrated by: Amy Schumer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,458
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,764
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,728

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is - a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh. Down to earth and relatable, frank and unapologetic, Amy Schumer is one of us: She relies on her sister for advice, still hangs out with her high school pals, and continues to navigate the ever-changing boundaries in love, work, and life.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • mind numbing

  • By katrina on 09-17-16

Weak book with a few good chapters.

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

Reviewed: 09-26-16

I am quite surprised by how weak this book was. While part of me wants to be very frustrated with her, I believe she was given little direction in writing this book. There is no specific theme to the book and too much repetition on the same subjects. She states at the beginning that this book is not a memoir but, honestly, I can't figure out what it is supposed to be. I really enjoyed her show as it was creative and funny. While I realize that these books are not meant to be funny the whole time, I didn't laugh once. I think at times she tried to be funny but it mostly fell flat. Most of the book she isn't trying to make you laugh, so no miss there.

Most of the book is about her life growing up, her messy family situation, dating stories, some about how she rose to fame, and then random stuff about her. The weirdest sections are her views on gun control and what she wants at her funeral. All in all, the repetition comes in the family stories and dating stories. In my opinion, these are the only parts of the book worth reading. That said, most covers the same ideas and therefore cover too many chapters.

What I did appreciate most was her telling about her involvement in abusive relationships. It is so easy for women to assume that only weak/submissive women end up in these situations. While we experience these relationships on different ranges of abuse (physical, emotional, verbal), anyone can end up the target. Listening to her accounts was hard, but I appreciate her speaking up so much.

I also appreciated her writing about her father's struggle with M.S. I think many of us don't know much about it and appreciated the honestly she showed.

All in all, I can't recommend this book. I think, if you're looking for smarter and funnier viewpoints on being a single dating girl, Mindy Kalings books are great.

  • City of Bones

  • By: Martha Wells
  • Narrated by: Kyle McCarley
  • Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 55

Khat, a member of a humanoid race created by the Ancients to survive in the Waste, and Sagai, his human partner, are relic dealers working on the edge of society, trying to stay one step ahead of the Trade Inspectors and to support Sagai's family. When Khat is hired to find relics believed to be part of one of the Ancients' arcane engines, they are both reluctant to become involved. But the request comes from the Warders, powerful mages who serve Charisat's Elector.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sweet story great characters

  • By Fletter on 12-23-13

Weak storyline, annoying narration.

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

Reviewed: 09-22-16

Another one of those books that people rate highly and I have no idea why. I suppose I always compare to other books like it and find it wanting. It really is the poor man's _____. This book is a combo dystopia/sci-fi/fantasy. If you want a fantasy/sci-fi mix, go for Prince of Thorns or if you need a female author The Fifth Season. If you want dystopia that is done better with created human improvement species, MaddAddam. Want the desert people aspect? Read Dune. The book was just really mediocre. I suppose if you like archaeology you might enjoy her obvious obsession with it, but given it's a made-up culture...not sure why you would read it. Also, it is a stand-alone book, so why bother slogging through the world-building? The dialogue was boring and, although there was a lot of action, it was one fight scene after another.

Right from the first word I didn't like the narration but I pushed through because of the high book ratings. I looked him up and it all became clear when I saw that he does voices for anime and cartoons. It just made an already weak book sound silly.

4 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Higgs Boson and Beyond

  • By: Sean Carroll, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Sean Carroll
  • Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,944
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,708
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,691

In this 12-lecture masterpiece of scientific reporting, you'll learn everything you need to know to fully grasp the significance of this discovery, including the basics of quantum mechanics; the four forces that comprise the Standard Model of particle physics; how these forces are transmitted by fields and particles; and the importance of symmetry in physics.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very well done

  • By Jon Dahl on 03-12-15

Only for those w/ appropriate background knowlege

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

Reviewed: 09-20-16

I wish the reviewers were clear on the nature of this course. The course assumes a working knowledge of particle physics. I'm not a dense person, but my degrees are not in this area and I found most of it too challenging to understand. I would say that I probably actually got something out of 25% of it. The up side, is it is valuable to know what you don't know. However, as I mostly didn't really understand how all the aspects interconnected, it wasn't that much a good use of my time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Secret Garden

  • By: Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Narrated by: Josephine Bailey
  • Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,328
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,004
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,008

When Mary Lennox's parents die from cholera in India, the spoiled orphan is transplanted to her uncle's 600-year-old gloomy and secretive estate in England. She is certain that she is destined for misery at Misselthwaite Manor. However, she soon discovers an arched doorway into an overgrown garden, locked shut since the death of her aunt 10 years earlier.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A magical getaway

  • By Catherine on 10-20-07

Enduring story of transformation

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

Reviewed: 08-12-16

I watched the movie when I was younger and enjoyed it. The book is great for someone like me that enjoys growing things. I liked that the children were both naughty but in different ways. Seeing them transform into their better selves was lovely. I enjoyed the cast of characters and the Yorkshire accent. The narrator did a nice job with the story and I liked her reading. Maybe didn't quite nail the Yorkshire bits, but well enough that it was fine. This book has a slightly Christian slant at the end, which I think is a nice touch.