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Sam - Audible

New Jersey, USA
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  • 123
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  • 17
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  • Lost Among the Birds

  • Accidentally Finding Myself in One Very Big Year
  • By: Neil Hayward
  • Narrated by: Sam Devereaux
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 146

Early in 2013 Neil Hayward was at a crossroads. He didn't want to open a bakery or whatever else executives do when they quit a lucrative but unfulfilling job. He didn't want to think about his failed relationship with 'the one' or his potential for ruining a new relationship with 'the next one'. And he almost certainly didn't want to think about turning 40. And so instead he went birding. Birding was a lifelong passion. It was only among the birds that Neil found a calm that had eluded him in the confusing world of humans.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Know a Birder? This will help you Understand.

  • By Carole T. on 08-27-17

A sincere and delightful memoir

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

Reviewed: 08-31-17

With summer winding down, I’ve been obsessed with trying to spot as many seasonal birds as possible before fall migration begins—so I thought Neil Hayward’s memoir of his "accidental big year" would be the perfect companion to keep me satisfied when I couldn’t be out there staring at the trees. A “big year,” for the uninitiated, is when a birder challenges themself to see as many bird species in one calendar year as possible. As the title explains, Neil reluctantly stumbled into his own after a midlife crisis in which he quit a joyless job, lost a long-time relationship, and found himself struggling with depression. I won't lie: this memoir is probably most enjoyable if you have at least a passing interest in birds, but it really is about so much more than that particular hobby; it’s about discovering the purpose and meaning in your life—in things (and birds) both big and small. Neil doesn’t narrate, but his proxy Sam Devereaux does an excellent job conveying the author’s delightfully wry British humor and infectious enthusiasm.

  • Get Well Soon

  • History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them
  • By: Jennifer Wright
  • Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,351
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,922
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,905

In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Didn't know syphilis could be so fascinating.

  • By Carrie Arnold on 02-09-17

Quirky, fascinating, addictive

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

Reviewed: 08-30-17

This book was a major unexpected delight for me. I've always been intrigued by plagues but usually just in the realm of sci-fi. I wasn't sure if a nonfiction book on the subject could really hook me. However, in Get Well Soon, author Jennifer Wright presents a whimsical, fascinating, and often hilarious exploration of an otherwise grim topic. Combining history, sociology, and science, she traces some of the most horrific plagues in human history from their origins to their eventual cures. Throughout each narrative, Wright peppers in fun facts - such as the belief that filling your house with onions could stave off the plague - while paying full respect to the victims of these illnesses. Gabra Zackman gives a downright masterful performance, perfectly delivering both the somber facts and wry humor. If you're a fan of Mary Roach or, like me, have even just a passing interest in the topic, don't hesitate to give this one a try.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet audiobook cover art
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

  • By: Becky Chambers
  • Narrated by: Rachel Dulude
  • Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,192
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,975
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,975

Rosemary Harper doesn't expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and, most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman, she's never met anyone remotely like the ship's diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot; chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks, who keep the ship running; and Ashby, their noble captain.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Remarkably Boring

  • By A Tye on 08-02-17

These characters slowly stole my heart

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

Reviewed: 08-11-17

A fellow listener named Joseph compared this book to Firefly, and I couldn’t agree more. Becky Chambers’ remarkable debut has many of the components that turned that short-lived series into a cult phenomenon. There’s plenty of sci-fi action and adventure, but the heart of the story is definitely the characters – a mix of humans and other sapiens (plus one AI). As their individual stories unfolded, I found myself relating in some way or another with each and every one (yes, even the AI). Narrator Rachel Duluth is a huge part of that experience; in a novel with a large ensemble cast of characters, some of which spawn their own mini-ensemble of minor players, it’s no small feat to imbue each with his or her own unique and instantly recognizable voice – but Duluth does just that. I’m so glad this is a series (the second book is up for the Hugo this year), because even after 15 hours, I’m eager to spend a little more time in this world with these weird and wonderful creatures.

  • The Hate U Give

  • By: Angie Thomas
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 32,622
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 30,157
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 30,042

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

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

  • By Wendi on 01-14-18

Heartbreaking, masterful, necessary

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

Reviewed: 06-20-17

I finished this novel a few months ago this point, but it’s still lingering as if I had just finished moments ago. I think that feeling is a testament to just how heartbreakingly timely this story is and how effectively debut author Angie Thomas captures this moment in history through the eyes of one very captivating young character – Starr Carter. My fellow reviewers have already described this book as required listening, and I’ll echo that statement. Whether you’re a teen or an adult, whether you think you have a strong opinion on this issue or have felt distanced from it – listen to this book.

Bahni Turpin’s performance in this book is nothing short of masterful. I was blown away by how effortlessly she embodied not only sixteen-year-old Starr, but also her family, circle of friends, antagonists, and supporters. The relationships felt all the more real, and the emotions all the more palpable, thanks to Turpin’s interpretation.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Burial Rites

  • A Novel
  • By: Hannah Kent
  • Narrated by: Morven Christie
  • Length: 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,031
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 962
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 962

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cannot stop thinking about this book

  • By Sam - Audible on 11-04-15

Cannot stop thinking about this book

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

Reviewed: 11-04-15

This book had been on my "to-listen" list for a while when I finally decided to pick it up right before a vacation to Iceland. Since it took place there, it felt like the perfect lead-in to my trip, and I hoped I might even learn a thing or two about the country itself. I certainly was not prepared for how much I was going to fall in love with this beautiful, emotionally devastating story. Months later, I find I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Burial Rites tells the fictionalized story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, a real woman who was sentenced to execution for her role in the murder of two men in 1928. Author Hannah Kent couldn't have set the scene more perfectly. Her descriptions of the harsh, bleak Icelandic landscape brilliantly captured the mood of the novel, making me feel like I had been there before my plane even landed. Her prose is rich with vibrant (and sometimes uncomfortable) detail, immersing the listener in the story completely through all five senses. It was mind-blowing to me that this was Kent's debut novel – I'll be eagerly awaiting her next.

The real star of the book was narrator Morven Christie, who absolutely nailed the unique pronunciations and sounds of the Icelandic language (I even referred back to the audiobook when trying to pronounce certain street & town names – she was THAT good). Her characterizations were so spot-on that at times I had to remind myself that she was the only one reading. In a book that shifts perspectives from chapter to chapter, her skillfully nuanced voice carried the story along effortlessly.

It sounds strange, but I wish I could somehow magically forget this book just so I could experience it again for the first time. But with a story and performance so unforgettable, that’s just not likely any time soon.

46 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • The Fold

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31,143
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,062
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,014

The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn't much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he's content with his quiet and peaceful existence. That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fun premise, great performance, weak story

  • By J. Klinghoffer on 08-06-15

A very fun follow-up

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

Reviewed: 06-23-15

Obligatory lecture: If you love audio, and you have not yet checked out 14, you should. That said, The Fold – which is set within the same universe, but stands on its own – may just as easily make a Peter Clines groupie out of you. This sci-fi mystery follows Mike, a not-so-ordinary high school teacher hired to investigate the scientists behind The Albuquerque Door, a machine that has made teleportation possible. It seems to work fine... but as he digs deeper, Mike soon realizes the scientists are hiding something. It's a signature Clines story, full of puzzles, fun characters, and plenty of weirdness. The cherry on top is 14 narrator Ray Porter, who so perfectly embodies the authors' characters and tone, mastering his unique blend of sarcasm and suspense.

I think 14 is still my favorite of the two books, but I have a feeling I'll be recommending The Fold just as frequently from now on. Side note: If you're a LOST fan like me, listen carefully - you'll have fun catching all the little nods Peter Clines sprinkled throughout this story!

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Goldfinch

  • By: Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by: David Pittu
  • Length: 32 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,666
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,256
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 24,282

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow

  • By j phillips on 05-28-17

An Audible Essential

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

Reviewed: 06-10-15

The Goldfinch is one of those rare books that makes me wish I could turn back time so I could experience it again for the very first time. Epic in both narrative scope and in length, it’s a heartbreaking and gripping coming-of-age story that is simply destined to become a modern classic. Narrator David Pittu takes on the mammoth task of voicing Tartt’s captivating characters over years of growth, regression, and change – and in the process, he creates a beautiful, familiar kinship with each character that resonates with the listener long after the final chapter.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Invention of Wings

  • A Novel
  • By: Sue Monk Kidd
  • Narrated by: Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye, Sue Monk Kidd
  • Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,283
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,763
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,768

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women. Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Historical Fiction - beautifully quilted!

  • By Jan on 01-09-14

Stunning story, perfect performance

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

Reviewed: 01-10-14

Just moments after hitting “play” on The Invention of Wings, I knew I was about to experience something special. I was perhaps not as familiar with the writing of Sue Monk Kidd as some of my fellow editors, but I decided to listen upon hearing their praise for this novel. And my interest was piqued even more when I learned that the character of Sarah was based on the real-life Sarah Grimke, an abolitionist and early feminist. What I discovered was a beautiful, complex tale of morality, loyalty, and the ever-enduring desire for liberty. Kidd’s writing is full of complex, poignant phrases and detailed scenery that often took me by surprise, forcing me to pause and allow myself to sit with the words a moment longer. After listening, I can’t imagine experiencing this story any other way than through the voices of talented narrators Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye, who brought Sarah and Handful (among other characters) to life with such perfect emotion. I believe listeners will be talking about this book for years to come - I know I will!

60 of 67 people found this review helpful

  • The Year of the Flood

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne, Katie MacNichol, Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,387
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,712
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,719

The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners - a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life - has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club, and Toby, a God's Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Atwood at her very best!

  • By Linda Novak on 10-18-09

Narration is key: so glad I listened to this one!

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

Reviewed: 09-23-13

When I read Oryx and Crake, I was so delighted and impressed by Atwood's creative storytelling that I was actually nervous to move on to the next title in the series. I'm glad I finally took the plunge in audiobook format. The performances of these three narrators bring a captivating kind of realism to the story and the characters they portray. While I think Oryx and Crake is still my favorite of the two, I loved getting to further explore this frightening universe through the eyes of Ren & Toby. I look forward to finishing this series with MaddAddam!

9 of 13 people found this review helpful