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Hilary

Connecticut
  • 38
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  • helpful votes
  • 139
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  • 18 and Life on Skid Row

  • By: Sebastian Bach
  • Narrated by: Sebastian Bach
  • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 628
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 578
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 576

18 and Life on Skid Row tells the story of a boy who spent his childhood moving from Freeport, Bahamas, to California and finally to Canada and who, at the age of eight, discovered the gift that would change his life. Throughout his career, Sebastian Bach has sold over 20 million records both as the lead singer of Skid Row and as a solo artist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Everything I hoped it would be!

  • By Joshua on 12-13-16

You don't have to be a fan

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

Reviewed: 03-24-18

I've listened to Skid Row no more than a handful of times. I didn't even know Sebastian had a solo career or has worked extensively on Broadway. What I'm getting at is - it doesn't matter. This is a fantastically entertaining, candid, amazingly narrated (by the author) book that you should listen to - toot sweet.

Sebastian is HIGH energy, positive, forthcoming and intelligent - he peels back the layers of his own onion and gives an outstanding performance. If he ever lands on Broadway again - I'm going, as I'm certain he pours his heart into everything he does, now that I've listened to this book.

Great story of a man who works extremely hard to earn every penny he has ever made.

  • The Rainbow Comes and Goes

  • A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss
  • By: Anderson Cooper
  • Narrated by: Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt
  • Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,030
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,709
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,683

Though Anderson Cooper has always considered himself close to his mother, his intensely busy career as a journalist for CNN and CBS affords him little time to spend with her. After she suffers a brief but serious illness at the age of ninety-one, they resolve to change their relationship by beginning a yearlong conversation unlike any they have ever had before. The result is a correspondence of surprising honesty and depth in which they discuss their lives, the things that matter to them, and what they still want to learn about each other.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow .... Inspiring

  • By donna spencer on 04-08-16

Consider ME Mesmerized

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

Reviewed: 05-30-16

In 2014, I listened to Arthur Vanderbilt II’s Fortune’s Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt, which was better than outstanding. However, I was itching to learn more about Gloria Vanderbilt’s childhood because it wasn’t very specific (and I like details). I wanted to understand how the custody case came to be, the relationship between Gloria and her mother, how she ended up with Gertrude, etc. In the interim, I went back to read Gloria’s book ‘Once Upon a Time’ (1985) and was woefully disappointed. It wasn’t the perspective I was after. It was told from her childhood mind, repetitive, sing-songy… people loved it, but I knew there was more to be told, from a mature standpoint.

The Rainbow Comes and Goes BLEW MY MIND.

This book began as an email correspondence between Mother (Gloria) and Son (Anderson), as they slowly peeled back the layers of their massive family onion. As they dig into what has been unsaid for years, we (the reader) listen to their story unfold from a surface scratch to utter truth and honesty. Gloria tells it all: from her chaotic childhood, her scandalous teenage years, her unstoppable quest to find true love, her struggle to create a meaningful relationship with her detached mother. Abundantly clear is the recurring theme in her life: abandonment.

This book was candid, (at times) raw, touching, comprehensive and completely loving. I was surprised at how significantly I identified with both mother and son, as an orphaned child myself. I also worked so hard to create meaningful ties, often at great personal expense, on my journey in my personally constructed roller coaster. Gloria quotes a passage in Mary Gordon book ‘The Company of Women’ about fatherless girls being left “with a taste for the fanatical, who can only be satisfied with the heroic, the desperate and the extreme. A fatherless girl thinks all things possible and nothing is safe”…. well, I had to pull over my car and collect myself, as nothing I’ve ever heard encapsulated my experience so accurately. I printed the quote – it lives on my wall now.

Even if you can’t personally identify with the Gloria and Anderson’s story, this book is still something important to read. All relationships can be healed with willing participants. I am so happy for them, that they were able to get to this place. I feel privileged that they shared their important stories with us.

I listened to this book twice, back to back.

Bravo!

  • A Mother's Reckoning

  • Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy
  • By: Sue Klebold
  • Narrated by: Andrew Solomon, Sue Klebold
  • Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,976
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,796
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,795

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill 12 students and a teacher and wound 24 others before taking their own lives. For the last 16 years, Sue Klebold, Dylan's mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I kept on driving just to listen to a few more chapters

  • By Sharon on 02-23-16

Couldn't finish because...

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

Reviewed: 04-17-16

I will preface this review by stating I have a high tolerance for reading / learning about horrible tragedies. The reasons why I stopped listening to this book are not due to it being too graphic.

After investing in 14 chapters of this book, I literally ripped my iPod off its dock and quit out of sheer frustration. I applaud Sue Klebold for mustering the strength to tell her story and explain the depths of despair her family has endured as a result of her son’s gruesome choices. However, it is clear Sue has spent the last 17 years grasping at straws, while simultaneously turning over every stone possible to get to the reasons why Columbine happened. I get it. I understand why she felt compelled. I also can’t imagine being in her shoes or experiencing what she has. The son she loving raised transformed into a reckless monster – and for the Klebolds it happened in one day. This reality is irreconcilable, but Sue tried her damnedest to square it up. I believe her 100% when she says she had no inkling that the Dylan she knew and the Dylan of Columbine were synonymous.

Listening to Sue pour over every facet of her years of research became crazy-making. The ripple-effect of this tragedy has forced Sue and her family into a Groundhog Day purgatory. From what I heard in this book, it seems it will be her life-long penance. Since April 20, 1999, she has been forced to bear the cross placed upon her by Dylan and his 17 year old unhealthy brain. I personally know parents who have invested far less in their children than Sue & Tom Klebold did, and their children didn’t try to blow up a school and massacre all their schoolmates. This isn’t about parenting, but trying to tie this up and put a bow on it, is simply impossible.

I wish the Klebolds peace, but I don’t think they’re ever going to have it. Nor will any of the families affected by the actions of Dylan and Eric. Two kids with significant “brain health” issues found each other, exploited each other and the momentum of their individual goals culminated on April 20, 1999.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Sound of Gravel

  • A Memoir
  • By: Ruth Wariner
  • Narrated by: Ruth Wariner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,977
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,787
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,786

Ruth Wariner was the 39th of her father's 42 children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turned a blind eye to the practices of her community, Ruth lives in a ramshackle house without indoor plumbing or electricity. At church, preachers teach that God will punish the wicked by destroying the world and that women can ascend to heaven only by entering into polygamous marriages and giving birth to as many children as possible.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unputdownable

  • By Lesley A. on 01-16-16

Just Hang in There

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

Reviewed: 03-23-16

Consider this book a climb to the summit of Mount Everest. On this quest, you start by maintaining a gradual, but deliberate pace… and slowly… you encounter dangerous, unexpected terrain, until you get to the top and see the perspective, long and wide.

The peaks and valleys of this book are very much worth the journey.

All I have to say is, Ruthie – you’re indomitable. You have endured the unspeakable and your mother IS proud of you. On behalf of your siblings, thank you for being their rock – because without you, god only knows what would have happened to them. You took so many hits and you kept getting up. I’m astonished by your perseverance.

I cannot comprehend what people will do under the guise of religion – with the ultimate scapegoat at their side - God. Ruth’s role models all showed her how flawed this philosophy was, as they blind-faith’d their way through life. It cost them all so dearly. As a young teenager, Ruth had the wherewithal to know that she and her siblings needed to be saved and she was the savior.

Wow.

The narration didn’t throw me a bit, but I know what people are talking about.

Just hang in there.

  • Rosemary

  • The Hidden Kennedy Daughter
  • By: Kate Clifford Larson
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,582
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,443
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,434

Joe and Rose Kennedy's strikingly beautiful daughter, Rosemary, attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet Rosemary was intellectually disabled - a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Illuminating and moving.

  • By Gotta Tellya on 05-30-16

Turning In Their Graves?

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

Reviewed: 01-11-16

With this release of this book and the last of the Kennedy secrets exposed - Joe & Rose have probably turned over in their graves enough to bore holes into other countries... or at least they should be. This family perpetuated more lies than some of the most diabolical people in history. Everything they represented was a sham, perpetuated to foster the image of perfection they coveted much more than the well-being of their family. God forbid one of their nine children did not do or say what was expected of them... well, Rosemary paid the highest price, but they all paid in some way.

I don't want to spoil this book, so I won't go into details about the absurd decisions Joe made on behalf of the family, as it concerned Rosemary. Rose was no better, as she turned a blind eye and checked out. The kids were raised by assigned personnel. There seemed to be little love in this family, only ambition.

Within their lifetimes, Joe & Rose buried almost half of their children. There were a lot of sacrifices made to create the pretty picture they held on to so tightly.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Almost Interesting

  • The Memoir
  • By: David Spade
  • Narrated by: David Spade
  • Length: 6 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,341
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,093
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,072

David Spade is best known for his harsh "Hollywood Minute" sketches on SNL, his starring roles in movies like Tommy Boy and Joe Dirt, and his seven-year stint as Dennis Finch on the series Just Shoot Me. Now, with a wit as dry as the weather in his home state of Arizona, the "comic brat extraordinaire" delivers a memoir.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Better than expected

  • By Infullbloom on 10-29-15

Definitey Amazing: Spade is a Comedy Gold

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

Reviewed: 01-11-16

I laughed out loud routinely throughout this book. Even when David is discussing painful experiences in his life, like being abandoned by his self-absorbed, neglectful father and dealing with his quirky, bizarre step-father. He grew up self-guided without a steady male influence, which makes for hysterical self-deprecating stories. He does it all with humor and grace. He loves his devoted mom who worked her arse off to provide for her three boys.

Spade leaves nothing off the table about the anxiety-ridden ride called SNL - how his call to return each season was usually last. He brought tears to my eyes discussing his very much missed, but destructive best friend Chris Farley. He explains how it was to play second-fiddle, while being left behind by his peers who sky-rocketed to fame, while he eked it out and made the slow climb.

LOVE his narration. Couldn't have been better. Spade is cool as hell.

  • Troublemaker

  • Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
  • By: Leah Remini
  • Narrated by: Leah Remini
  • Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 13,786
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12,671
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 12,623

The outspoken actress, talk show host, and reality television star offers up a no-holds-barred memoir, including an eye-opening insider account of her tumultuous and heart-wrenching 30-year-plus association with the Church of Scientology.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This book is fascinating and funny! Fantastic!

  • By Kim on 11-04-15

Exceptional Book - Do Not Hesitate

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

Reviewed: 01-11-16

Here is what I know about Leah Remini... 0. I have seen her face on TV for a combined total of 10 minutes. She comes across as a brash, no-filter type, which could make for great storytelling or be horribly annoying. I'm happy to report there is nothing annoying about this book. I LOVED it. Leah has my utmost respect.

My decision to buy this book was to learn about Scientology from someone who lived & breathed it. I find people's devotion to religion interesting, as it is something I've never been compelled to participate in. More than others, Scientology seems like a religion that should be impossible to believe in and after seeing Going Clear, LRH seems like a complete nutcase... so there are two reasons my interest was piqued.

Scientology was implanted in Leah at the age of 9 by her mother, who was a divorcee in an era when women were new to single-parenting. As the daughter of a mother who made the same decision in the 1970s, I know how hard it was for my mom to decide to deconstruct our nuclear family and find her first job at the age of 40. I understand how Leah's mother thought Scientology could be the answer for them.

So, Scientology became a part of Leah's life when she was completely impressionable and able to suspend disbelief in order to support her mother's wishes. The responsibilities she was given and the conditions she had to live in were atrocious - absolutely no way for a kid to live. She was mischievous and paid heavy prices for it, but I believe her tenacity and rebelliousness is what kept her sane.

Leah lays out her life with complete candor, all while knowing she is putting herself in more harm's way at the hands of 'The Church'. Her interactions with Mr. Cruise are mind blowing - he is bonkers. Scientology is a FOR PROFIT business, completely corrupt and undeniably anything but religion.

Read this book now. You will not be disappointed.

Leah - you're amazing. The people who are no longer in your life because of your decision to go public are people who never deserved to be in your life in the first place. Hold your head up - you have a lot to be proud of.



  • With or Without You

  • A Memoir
  • By: Domenica Ruta
  • Narrated by: Domenica Ruta
  • Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 134
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 121
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 122

Domenica Ruta grew up in a working-class, unforgiving Italian town north of Boston where in the seventeenth century women were hanged as witches. Her mother, Kathi, a notorious figure in this hardscrabble place, was a drug addict and sometime dealer whose life swung between welfare and riches, whose highbrow taste was at odds with her base appetites.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A real and riveting story-beautifully written

  • By Courtney on 03-02-13

It's About Time

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

Reviewed: 10-12-15

I have owned this audio book for 1.5 years. I have officially re-downloaded this book to my iPod three times, so I figure I should talk about why.

I usually chose biographies. memoirs or autobiographies about people who are known to me. So, it was by chance that I gambled on Domenica Ruta. I'm certain it was the reviews of others that convinced me it was worth the risk.

I love this book. Even though I can only commiserate on a small scale with Domenica, as my family's dysfunction pales in comparison to hers and I never (thankfully) developed a dependency on mood altering substances. I can't even confidently say that Domenica has completely overcome her demons and is on a really healthy path, but she is a survivor, a chameleon and has become a seemingly successful human against all odds. Others would have caved and followed the family dynamic, while she chose to see things for what they were, make better choices and extract herself from the chaos in which she was raised and trained.

Why I think this book is amazing is because it is raw, honest and detailed. Domenica's voice is the only one that could have read this story properly. I don't consider her monotone (as another reviewer suggests) she speaks evenly, but impassioned and her gritty tone is the perfect vehicle. Her memories are vividly recalled, as anyone, especially a child couldn't forget what her eyes have seen.

Again, I love this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Never Broken

  • Songs Are Only Half the Story
  • By: Jewel
  • Narrated by: Jewel
  • Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,812
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,690
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,691

New York Times best-selling poet and multiplatinum singer-songwriter Jewel explores her unconventional upbringing and extraordinary life in an inspirational memoir that covers her childhood, rise to fame, marriage, and motherhood. She writes beautifully about growing up amid the natural wonders of Alaska, about pain and childhood trauma, and about discovering her own identity years after the entire world had discovered the beauty of her songs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I did not expect to like this book

  • By Megan on 09-30-15

This is a Self-Help Book Cloaked in a Biography

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

Reviewed: 10-12-15

...and that is fine, if that is what you're after. I'm not criticizing Jewel for wanting to share the hard-taught lessons she's learned, to help others. That is, on its face, a good thing. But, when I buy a biography, I'm expecting a complete, truthful account of someone's life. I thoroughly enjoyed this book until about halfway in, which is when it became and stayed a new-agey how-to-fix-yourself guide, complete with references to materials and other authors to help you on your journey. The hard truths and wrinkles in her life were smoothed out and made almost pretty. She sings a cappella...A LOT...and that was another feature I didn't care for (I'm sure there are plenty of Jewel fans who will disagree). At the end, I felt mislead.

There is no doubt Jewel is a scrappy, get-it-done woman, who overcame adversities and obstacles most cannot comprehend. In fact, I'd want her on my team in a fight. She brought herself up and had to rely on luck to find the people who would help her on her journey, rather than her kin. She acted fearlessly and courageously (even though she didn't feel she was either) and wielding those tools is what brought her success, repeatedly, and in spite of a family who seemed determined to stunt her.

My favorite of her many life's mottos is "Hardwood Grows Slowly", as acting impulsively is dangerous to body, mind and soul. I just wasn't prepared, nor did I intend to purchase, a book about how to learn from mistakes and be a better person.

Her voice is heavenly, so I forgive her.

36 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Before He Wakes: A True Story of Money, Marriage, Sex and Murder

  • By: Jerry Bledsoe
  • Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
  • Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 203
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 180
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 180

The true story of Barbara Stager, a devoted mother, loving wife, and dedicated church leader who committed an almost perfect crime. By all accounts, Stager seemed to lead the perfect life in her community in Durham, North Carolina. After her husband, popular high school coach Russ, died tragically, the police were inclined to believe her story - that she accidentally shot him. Suspicions rose when the police discovered that Stager's previous husband had died similarly 10 years prior.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story & great reader

  • By Maite on 07-14-15

Jerry Bledsoe is Amazing, as is Kevin Stillwell

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

Reviewed: 07-30-15

Okay, so on the heels of my listen to Bitter Blood, this book wasn't as exceptional as I had hoped. Bitter Blood was phenomenal, so it was a hard act to follow.

Barbara Terry Ford Stager is either: a) unlucky to the 100th power, b) extremely mentally ill or c) a diabolical killer.

Mrs. Ford-Stager has two dead husbands, a penchant for spending FAR beyond her means (which highlighted her check kiting and embezzlement skills), a compulsive lying streak more incredible than Pinocchio, a sexual appetite more impressive than Ginger Lynn and a church lady charade/appearance. She is the ultimate oxymoron.

Her two unfortunate husbands, Larry Ford and Russell Stager had no idea what they were getting their hands on - a black widow in sheep's clothing. Or, was it pure coincidence that both her husbands died in bed thanks to the "business end of a 25 caliber gun"?

You decide.

I think Barbara is where she belongs, serving life in a North Carolina prison.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful