LISTENER

C. ALLINGER

  • 13
  • reviews
  • 92
  • helpful votes
  • 181
  • ratings
  • The Trouble with Patience

  • Virtues and Vices of the Old West, Book 1
  • By: Maggie Brendan
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Gallagher
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45

Patience Cavanaugh has lost hope in romance. The man she yearned to marry is dead, and her dreams are gone with him. Now she is consumed with restoring a dilapidated boardinghouse in order to support herself. Despite Patience's desire for solitude, Jedediah Jones, the local marshal with a reputation for hanging criminals, becomes an ever-looming part of her life.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Simple

  • By Cheryl on 12-21-17

Likable Characters, But a Bit Too Sentimental

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

Reviewed: 07-27-17

Overall, this is a good story with engaging characters. I liked that they were multidimensional. There's enough going on with the plot to keep your attention: romance, character growth, a bit of a mystery. However the overly sentimental tone really started to get to me after a while.

If you're in the mood for something in this vein, it won't disappoint. But if you get impatient with Hallmark movies, you might want to pass on this one.

P.S. The narration was great.

  • Dark Halo

  • An Angel Eyes Novel, Book 3
  • By: Shannon Dittemore
  • Narrated by: Aimee Lilly
  • Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5

One halo brought sight to Brielle. Another offers sweet relief from what she sees. Brielle can't help but see the Celestial. Even without the halo, the invisible realm is everywhere she looks. It's impossibly beautiful - and terrifying, especially now. Because a battle rages above Stratus, Oregon. The Terrestrial Veil is ripping, and demons walk the streets past unseeing mortals. Dark, sticky fear drips from every face, and nightmares haunt Brielle's sleep. Worst of all, Jake is gone. The only boy she's ever loved has been taken by the demon, Damien.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful Conclusion, Narrator not as good though.

  • By C. ALLINGER on 07-25-17

Beautiful Conclusion, Narrator not as good though.

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

Reviewed: 07-25-17

After seeing our characters put through the wringer in the previous two books, it was actually hard for me to finish up the series. I just wanted the happy ending! Thankfully, I did eventually get that happy ending, but a lot of turmoil came first. There were several fascinating twists and turns and quite a bit of emotional upheaval, but this conclusion was both captivating and satisfying.

Despite the fact that this is the same narrator as the previous two installments, the narration was not as good. She was frequently over-acting. Our protagonist's voice was far too often completely distraught and overcome, even though the text doesn't always seem to support the tone choice. The result is that she actually started to annoy me at times with her gut-wrench-y wailing.

Still, worth it to effectively end a beautiful and thought-provoking series.

  • Book of a Thousand Days

  • By: Shannon Hale
  • Narrated by: Chelsea Mixon
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 174
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175

When Lady Saren defies her father’s command to marry the vicious Lord Khasar, she is sealed in a tower with only her serving maid, Dashti, for company. In their cramped, dark space Dashti pours her thoughts into a daily journal while pitiless solitude engulfs them. At first the girl is optimistic: they have food aplenty, candles for light, and even a visit from Lady Saren’s true love, Khan Tegus - though he can only call to them from outside their walls. But their circumstances soon grow desperate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I can't stop from playing it over and over again

  • By Ashleigh on 07-03-14

Enchanting!

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

Reviewed: 01-08-15

This was the first time that I had heard a Full Cast Audio production, and I was a bit hesitant. I'm so used to the more traditional style. However, Book of a Thousand Days did not disappoint! I actually found the full cast part to be really engaging and not at all distracting as I had feared.

The story is another Shannon Hale twist on an old fairy tale, but it's my absolute favorite of the bunch. I love the heroine, Dashti, with her courage, kindness, and imperfections. I like that she can be moody and make mistakes, but she is still completely likable and worth rooting for.

The format of the book is that it's her journal, and that part is well done in terms of writing. I'm always frustrated with journal-like books that don't make sense as journals, but here you can see even her silly thoughts and daily problems. The audiobook does lose a bit though as it doesn't (obviously) contain Dashti's illustrations, which are in the hard copy version.

All in all, classic (and wonderful) retelling of a fairy tale with a very engaging full cast production. I highly recommend it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • This Shattered World

  • A Starbound Novel
  • By: Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
  • Narrated by: Callard Harris, Donnabella Mortel, Lincoln Hoppe
  • Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 316
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 292
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 291

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met. Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents. Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. His sister died in the original uprising against the powerful corporate conglomerate that rules Avon with an iron fist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great 2nd Book

  • By C. ALLINGER on 01-05-15

Great 2nd Book

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

Reviewed: 01-05-15

Firstly, I was a huge fan of These Broken Stars, particularly the amazing audio production. This Shattered World is in the same universe as that book and there is some character overlap/crossover, but TSW could also stand alone.

What I like most about this series is that it takes a fairly classic theme/setup, but before it can feel cliche, the story goes way out there. The basic premise is rebel leader and soldier falling in love and trying to stop the fighting, but it is also way more than that. I won't give specifics as to how it changes as that would be spoilery.

In comparison to These Broken Stars, I think that they are equally good stories but the overall production of TBS is more impressive than TSW. This Shattered World has great narrator performances and very cool sound effects, but These Broken Stars was so phenomenal with their interview segments, voice talent, and sound fx that it's a tough act to follow.

All in all, a great audiobook in its own right and a very satisfying follow-up for fans of TBS. I highly recommend it.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Swept Away

  • By: Mary Connealy
  • Narrated by: Barbara McCulloh
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 215
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 196
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 198

Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't all that upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. She prayed for a chance to get away, and then came the raging flood. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke Stone...so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future. Luke is heading home to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Texas after the Civil War

  • By Debbie on 06-28-15

Decent Story, Poor Narration

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

Reviewed: 09-15-14

The Story: The plot is pretty standard for the genre, but the characters are quite enjoyable. I like that there is some real psychology in the villain; his characterization was certainly the most complex and interesting (though he is in NO way sympathetic). The romance(s) were sweet and done more realistically for the time period. Our hero is a zero in the romance department most of the time, but you can't help but love him like Ruthie does anyway. Ruthie herself is a fun spitfire, which speaks to my inner feminist :)

The biggest flaw is in McCulloh's narration. The worst part is that she pauses ridiculously long between her phrases. Seriously, ridiculously long. I had to listen to the whole book at 1.5x the speed, which made some words and phrases sound a bit funny, but shortened the pauses enough to keep me from going completely insane. Also, sometimes I couldn't distinguish between her different character voices and got confused about who was talking. I had to use the little rewind 30 seconds button and listen again, paying more attention to the other dialogue cues to figure it out.

All in all, the narration really took away from the selection, and my next step is to return Swept Away and get my credit back. I think I'll pick up the ebook though.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Head in the Clouds

  • By: Karen Witemeyer
  • Narrated by: Nicole Poole
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 367
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 313
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 316

Following the stunning success of her high-spirited debut, Karen Witemeyer delivers this compelling blend of humor and romance. When Adelaid Proctor finds herself stranded in 1883 Texas, she’s hired by a British-born sheep rancher as governess for a daughter still grief-stricken over her mom’s death. As Adelaid gently draws the girl out of her shell of silence, the governess and sheep rancher, at first, resist their mutual attraction.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lovely Story of Life, Faith, and Love

  • By 🌸DARA on 07-08-13

Historical Romance that isn't Stuck in the Past

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

Reviewed: 05-04-14

I'm going to assume you're already familiar with the hallmarks of the historical Christian romance genre (clean romance, religious themes, lots of old West stuff, etc.), and instead focus on what makes Head in the Clouds unique (and awesome!)

A Much More Modern Take on the Genre:
There are some great themes like crossing cultures, adoption, and some that I can't mention for fear of spoilers, but mostly, it's the protagonists that seem to be born in the wrong century (and I mean that in a good way!). Adelaid is very independent, passionate, and intelligent---one of my favorite lines is when she mentions how all little girls should dream up stories of "fair maidens who outwit dull princes to rescue friendly dragons." Gideon, though, is no dull prince; in fact, he's the sexiest male protagonist I've come across in this genre (don't worry, nothing scandalous). He's compassionate, occasionally sharp-tempered, and quite witty. Though he's got the whole protective vibe characteristic of the genre, he's characterized more by his humor and charm.

A Believable Romance
Gideon and Adelaid are so right for each other, and their relationship unfolds in a very real and endearing way. This genre is usually strife with romances that are all about how the characters' insecurities (particularly the heroine's) or lots of miscommunication get in the way of their happily ever after. For G & A, this is not the case (won't say anymore---you've got to read it yourself).

~Note on Narration: Poole does a great job, particularly with the funny lines. Although the accents weren't perfect, they were believable and really added to the experience. I could always tell who was speaking; the characterization was spot-on.

  • Plots and Pans

  • By: Kelly Eileen Hake
  • Narrated by: Sharilynn Dunn
  • Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 59

Order dictates Tucker Carmichael’s life - his orders. On a cattle drive, a moment’s hesitation can mean death. The Chisholm Trail is dirty, dangerous, and no place for women. After years at school, Jessalyn Culpepper has come home and is determined to show everyone that a woman can manage everything from cooking to cattle - whether they like it or not! Tucker tries to manage his partner’s headstrong sister, horrified when she wants to join the cattle drive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sweet Story, if a Mite Predictable

  • By C. ALLINGER on 03-25-14

Sweet Story, if a Mite Predictable

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

Reviewed: 03-25-14

Plots and Pans is a light and enjoyable read for those who enjoy Christian romance fiction. The characters are flawed but likeable, and the chemistry between the leads is satisfying. I enjoyed the Biblical lesson woven into the story, but didn't find it forced down my throat. The only criticism that I can offer is that the story is fairly predictable and the transition from "Wait, maybe I don't actually hate you----we just passionately misunderstand each other" to "Let's get married!" is a bit rushed.

As to the narrator, Dunn's reading voice is animated and engaging, but she doesn't differentiate the characters' voices enough. Sometimes it was difficult to follow the dialogue because the characters sounded so alike.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Delirium

  • By: Lauren Oliver
  • Narrated by: Sarah Drew
  • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,856
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,364
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,386

"Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't."

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent narration

  • By Diana - Audible on 04-30-12

Narration makes it shine

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

Reviewed: 09-21-12

This is the first Lauren Oliver novel that I have read. The story line is exciting and well thought out. The thematic elements definitely bring to mind other teen dystopia favorites such as The Giver and The Hunger Games, but Delirium has enough of its own flair to keep from feeling unoriginal.

The best part of this audiobook, by far, is Sarah Drew's masterful narration. I don't believe that I would have been as impressed with the novel had she not so completely wrapped me up in the story. She IS Lena Haloway - complicated, often conflicted, but utterly real.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Angel Eyes

  • By: Shannon Dittemore
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt...and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake. Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption. Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby hiding in plain sight....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Best

  • By Leanael on 09-30-15

Christian YA Lit that is Actually Interesting!

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

Reviewed: 09-20-12

The basic plot is quite similar to the ones currently in vogue in YA Literature: somewhat emotionally damaged girl meets charming but mysterious boy, pair become embroiled in epic (supernatural) conflict, powers are revealed, random civilians placed in jeopardy, etc. As a fan of YA Lit, definitely up my alley.

The characters are excellent and endearing in that "love me even though I'm broken" kind of way. The good news is that the focus of the story is overcoming that "brokenness," so to speak, unlike many YA novels that seem to wallow in it. Also, the solution to their emotional damage is not simply romantic love - a nice change of pace from what much of the currently popular novels suggest.

What makes this book incredibly unique is its spiritual foundations. Using angels & demons as characters is not new, but using them in a way that actually promotes faith is. Dittemore raises some great, thought-provoking questions and weaves Biblical stories & truths into her story line.

In terms of narration, Cassandra Campbell does an excellent job. I could hear the emotions of the characters throughout the performance.

All in all, an awesome listen. As a final note: the ending of the novel, though not a cliffhanger, does suggest future sequels -- I look forward to them!

  • The Raven Boys

  • By: Maggie Stiefvater
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,295
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,966
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,971

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them - not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stiefvater does it again!

  • By C. ALLINGER on 09-20-12

Stiefvater does it again!

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

Reviewed: 09-20-12

Although The Raven Boys is quite different from Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and The Scorpio Races, it highlights her amazing characters, exciting suspense, and that intriguing sense that the words could almost be poetry.

Each of the characters in this novel are both utterly deep and (despite the supernatural themes and plot) utterly real. For fans of Stiefvater's other works, this is expected. The bonus of this novel is that we get so many characters and yet can feel invested in all of them. Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronin, & Noah (the most central characters) were especially wonderful because they were neither wholly good nor wholly bad. Each had his/her own idiosyncrasies and failings as well as moments of heroism and compassion. I fell in love with all five!

I'm not generally a fan of the supernatural genre, but this story had me mesmerized and on the edge of my seat. I would have listened straight through if it weren't for those pesky distractions of sleep and work. You can tell that this is the beginning of a series ("The Raven Boys Cycle," according to the audiobook), but it does not end in an annoying cliffhanger.

The prose itself is captivating. I'm not even sure how to describe it, really, except that you can tell that Stiefvater's writing style is influenced by her love of music. I highly recommend reading/listening to any and all of her works.

Note about narration: Will Patton did an excellent job; he really brought the text to life! I wasn't sure if I would like his narration because I expected the narrator to be about the same age as the characters (late teens) and Patton is definitely much older. However, the 3rd person point-of-view and his engaging narration really made it work and, I think, added to the whole experience.

69 of 71 people found this review helpful