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Nicole

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  • reviews
  • 119
  • helpful votes
  • 36
  • ratings
  • Carrots

  • Shelby Nichols Adventures, Book 1
  • By: Colleen Helme
  • Narrated by: Wendy Tremont King
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,866
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,709
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,710

Shelby Nichols is an average woman who is married to the only guy she ever fell for. Her life is organized and predictable, revolving around her husband and two children. All that changes the day she stops at the grocery store for some carrots. As the cashier rings up her purchases, a gunman is busy robbing the bank inside the store. When a customer grabs the robber's mask, he is shot and everyone runs for cover. Everyone except Shelby, who finds herself face to face with the killer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic story and flawless audio! Get it!

  • By Dr. Geoff on 11-20-13

Campy, Fun, Lighthearted

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

The narrator is a little annoying at times (she somehow manages to make the name Joey sound like Joy), but all in all I feel that her droll tone fits the tone of the story quite well. This is not exactly an original plot line, but all the kooky juxtapositions keep the story going. How the main character can hear people's thoughts and still get caught off guard so often is beyond me. I'm glad she manages to avoid becoming jaded, and the wholesome undertones are kind of refreshing without being overdone. If you are looking for fine literature this might not be the book for you, but if you want something light and fun that will make you laugh, this is just the thing. I'm about the start the third book in the series now, and I can't wait to hear what kind of mess Shelby Nichols will get herself into next.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Ep. 4: The Addict

  • By: Esther Perel
  • Narrated by: Esther Perel
  • Length: 39 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,952
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,617
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,617

[Contains mature themes] They’re grandparents, with a 40-year love story and a stable, happy marriage. But one of them had quite a few secrets. Esther gives them some tools to navigate and support each other's experiences.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brutally Honest

  • By Nicole on 05-26-17

Brutally Honest

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

Reviewed: 05-26-17

Holy sh*t this one was hard to listen to. I am in awe of this couple. Their relationship has been so badly damaged, and yet they are able to keep sight of the parts of it which are worth holding on to, and to try to fight for those parts and rebuild. I think to myself that I would not have the fortitude to even attempt to work my way through something like this, and yet Esther Perel manages to guide these people toward a level of compassion that is deeper than most people's pride would allow.

As I listen to the session unfold my own instinctual anger, outrage, and sympathetic pain begin to give way to empathy and humanity, and I start to ask questions:
-What does it take to be the kind of person who is willing to even try to forgive a betrayal like this?
-How do you hold onto the conviction that the love in a relationship is real despite actions that seem to invalidate that love?
-If someone does not behave this way out of a desire to destroy, then what kind of trauma can cause them to act like that?
-How do you work up the nerve to start taking responsibility for hurting another human being so terribly?
-How do you lean on your best friend for help when they are the very person who is causing your pain?
-How do you stand up to criticism from your friends and family for attempting to salvage your relationship instead of walking away?

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Stories

  • All-New Tales
  • By: Neil Gaiman (author and editor), Al Sarrantonio (editor), Joe Hill, and others
  • Narrated by: Anne Bobby, Jonathan Davis, Katherine Kellgren, and others
  • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 614
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 455
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 457

The best stories pull readers in and keep them turning the pages, eager to discover more—to find the answer to the question: "And then what happened?" The true hallmark of great literature is great imagination, and as Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio prove with this outstanding collection, when it comes to great fiction, all genres are equal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Something for Everyone

  • By Nicole on 05-24-17

Something for Everyone

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

Reviewed: 05-24-17

There are 27 short stories in this collection, along with an introduction by Neil Gaiman. Each story has its own chapter. I found it incredibly frustrating that Audible did not provide information on the individual stories, so I put together the following list of Chapter numbers, story titles, authors, narrators, and story lengths. My favorites include "Blood", "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains", "Juvenal Nyx", "Goblin Lake", "Catch and Release", "Loser", "Unwell", "A Life in Fictions", "Let the Past Begin", "Parallel Lines", and "The Devil on the Staircase".

1. “Introduction – Just Four Words” by Neil Gaiman – narrated by Neil Gaiman – 8:23

2. “Blood” by Roddy Doyle – narrated by Euan Morton – 22:24

3. “Fossil-Figures” by Joyce Carol Oates – narrated by Anne Bobby – 37:02

4. “Wildfire in Manhattan” by Joanne Harris – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 50:53

5. “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” by Neil Gaiman – narrated by Euan Morton – 1:03:19

6. “Unbelief” by Michael Marshall Smith – narrated by Peter Francis James – 16:33

7. “The Stars are Falling” by Joe R. Lansdale – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 1:10:39

8. “Juvenal Nyx” by Walter Mosley – narrated by Peter Francis James – 1:15:55

9. “The Knife” by Richard Adams – narrated by Euan Morton – 6:42

10. “Weights and Measures” by Jodi Picoult – narrated by Anne Bobby – 37:08

11. “Goblin Lake” by Michael Swanwick – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 35:04

12. “Mallon the Guru” by Peter Straub – narrated by Peter Francis James – 14:42

13. “Catch and Release” by Lawrence Block – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 34:04

14. “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” by Jeffrey Ford – narrated by Peter Francis James – 34:41

15. “Loser” by Chuck Palahniuk – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 16:50

16. “Samantha’s Diary” by Diana Wynne Jones – narrated by Katherine Kellgren – 35:36

17. “Land of the Lost” by Steward O’Nan – narrated by Anne Bobby – 12:22

18. “Leif in the Wind” by Gene Wolfe – narrated by Katherine Kellgren – 27:56

19. “Unwell” by Carolyn Parkhurst – narrated by Anne Bobby – 27:51

20. “A Life in Fictions” by Kat Howard – narrated by Katherine Kellgren – 11:21

21. “Let the Past Begin” by Jonathan Carroll – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 31:13

22. “The Therapist” by Jeffrey Deaver – narrated by Peter Francis James – 1:25:59

23. “Parallel Lines” by Tim Powers – narrated by Anne Bobby – 26:34

24. “The Cult of the Nose” by Al Sarrantonio – narrated by Peter Francis James – 22:58

25. “Human Intelligence” by Kurt Anderson – narrated by Katherine Kellgren – 45:04

26. “Stories” by Michael Moorcock – narrated by Euan Morton – 58:39

27. “The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon” by Elizabeth Hand – narrated by Jonathan Davis – 2:23:02

28. “The Devil on the Staircase” by Joe Hill – narrated by Peter Francis James – 39:06
(The last 4:50 of this chapter is the end credits for the audiobook)

53 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • The Danish Girl

  • By: David Ebershoff
  • Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 894
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 791
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 796

Inspired by the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener and his California-born wife, this tender portrait of a marriage asks: what do you do when someone you love wants to change? It starts with a question, a simple favor asked of a husband by his wife on an afternoon chilled by the Baltic wind while both are painting in their studio. Her portrait model has cancelled; would he slip into a pair of women's shoes and stockings for a few moments so she can finish the painting on time?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Mixed Feelings

  • By Nicole on 02-07-17

Mixed Feelings

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

Reviewed: 02-07-17

I have mixed feelings about this book. I really wanted to love it, but I feel like it went astray in a few too many ways. The publisher's summary says that this novel is loosely based on the lives of the artists Einar Wegenar and his wife Gerda. Einar Wegenar was one of the first people known to have undergone surgery for sex reassignment. The key word is loosely. I found the main thread of the story to be fascinating, so I did some research into the real lives of Einar/Lili and Gerda (called Greta in the book). David Ebershoff changed quite a few important details, which in itself is not a bad thing. This is fiction, after all, and a little artful restructuring often makes for a better story. However, I didn't feel that the details he changed improved the story, and I didn't see what the reasons were for some of the changes and omissions he made. Why make so many changes when the real story was actually much more interesting?

For example, the real Gerda wasn't American and wasn't married to anyone before Einar. There is a lot of speculation that Gerda was gay (or at least bi), which is not even hinted at in the book. Public scandal in conservative Copenhagen more or less forced the couple to leave the city in 1912, and it was in Paris that Einar was able to live openly as Lili. In the book, Einar/Lili's transformation journey has a furtive and surreptitious feel to it - something that not only wasn't entirely true in 1920's Paris, but which modern day audiences are far more willing to be open minded about.

I know a lot of other reviewers really enjoyed Jeff Woodman's narration performance, but I did not think he was the right narrator for this story. He does not do accents at all, and for a book that is set in several different European locations, good accents could have added quite a bit to the performance. Not only does he not do accents, he barely uses any distinguishing voice characteristics for the various characters, making it somewhat difficult to follow the story line at times. His reading was not very emotionally nuanced, either, which flattened out the story a bit. I wouldn't say that he did a bad job, but he didn't do a great job either. It was very middle-of-the-road.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Pax

  • By: Sara Pennypacker
  • Narrated by: Michael Curran-Dorsano
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,630
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,467
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,466

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day the unimaginable happens: Peter's dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild. At his grandfather's house 300 miles away from home, Peter knows he isn't where he should be - with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox. Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • How to you love something that hurts you?

  • By Anthony M Agostino on 12-13-17

Dark and serious

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

Reviewed: 12-13-16

I had heard great things about this book and I bought the audio version of it to see if it might be a good gift for my 9 year old niece. It is recommended for the 8-12 age range. There are a lot of really serious and frankly depressing topics covered in this book - war, death, abandonment, anger, trauma, violence. There are also quite a few really inspiring themes - bonds of love, standing up for what you know to be right, working hard for important things, and learning to deal with the bad things that happen to you instead of stuffing them down inside.

In the end I decided that the heaviness of the story was not what I wanted for a gift for my niece, but the well-written story of a boy's journey to do right by his beloved animal companion will stay with me for a while, and I am glad to have listened to it. My eyes misted over more than once listening to this book, and I think it might be a little too much for my tenderhearted niece to handle.

One last practical note - I found the narration to be a bit slow, and speeding up the playback to 1.25x made it a lot more listenable for me.

34 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • The Science of Cheese

  • By: Michael H. Tunick
  • Narrated by: Dennis Holland
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 149
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 128
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 129

In an engaging tour of the science and history of cheese, Michael Tunick explores the art of cheese making, the science that lies underneath the deliciousness, and the history behind how humanity came up with one of its most varied and versatile of foods. Dr. Tunick spends his everyday deep within the halls of the science of cheese, as a researcher who creates new dairy products, primarily, cheeses.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not designed for car audio

  • By Anshuman on 04-30-16

Torture

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

Reviewed: 09-23-16

I love cheese. I understand the process for making it and have made several varieties of it myself - cheddar, colby, cottage, mozzarella, ricotta, feta, brie, blue, paneer. I also enjoy non-fiction books in audio format and was prepared for (and looking forward to) a fairly science-y book. But this was unfinishable.

The author is not a passionate and engaged home cheese making enthusiast, and the people who are passionate and engaged home cheese making enthusiasts are most definitely not his target audience. Michael Tunick is a food scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and his writing style reflects that. This book reads like exactly what it is - a very dry and painfully boring textbook on how to make cheese in a laboratory or a giant factory. Imagine someone reading aloud from the owner's manual of your car or a managerial finance textbook. Throughout the reading constant references are made to side boxes with additional information, and then at the end of each chapter the side boxes are read separately, one by one. Side boxes really don't translate well to audiobook format and it's incredibly frustrating to listen to.

Despite being written about a truly fascinating subject, the material in this book is not interesting in the slightest, and the narrator does not do the book any favors either. It seems like he is giving it his best shot, but there's not much for him to work with here and his reading inevitably takes on a bored, droning tone. I'd had just about as much as I could handle when he started butchering the word terroir ("TARE-WOW") with 5.5 hours still remaining and I decided that I should cut my losses.

Good luck to you if you decide to purchase this audiobook, and I sincerely hope that you have a better time of it than I did. But if it's not too late I strongly suggest saving yourself the expense.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Patience and Sarah

  • By: Isabel Miller
  • Narrated by: Jean Smart, Janis Ian
  • Length: 5 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 537
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 497
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 489

Set in the 19th century, Isabel Miller's classic lesbian novel traces the relationship between Patience White and Sarah Dowling, whose romantic bond does not sit well with their puritanical New England community. In addition to being an inspiring love story, the audiobook for Patience and Sarah is an ideal listen for young-adult audiences. It is a story that shows how irrelevant race, religion, and gender are to love and that loving and being loved are what keep us human and sane.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A beautiful tale blooms with great narration.

  • By Nancy J on 05-14-16

Pioneers of a Different Sort

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

Reviewed: 07-28-16

This is one of the best stories I have listened to in a very long time, and also one of the best narration performances I have ever heard. I loved that they used two different narrators for the voices of Patience and Sarah. It fit really well with the way the story was told in alternating points of view, and each of the narrators did a fantastic job of capturing the personality of the woman she was portraying.

As the story opens, Patience is a 27 year old spinster who is living under the care and protection of her brother. Their father passed away, leaving very specific instructions in his will regarding how Patience was to be provided for since it was clear to him that she would never marry. And indeed, with her brother's loveless marriage as her primary example, she feels no desire whatsoever to obtain a husband. She loves to paint and values the independence she is able to maintain by remaining single, although the Puritanical society in which she lives places severe limits on that independence and she chafes at the restrictions.

Sarah, on the other hand, lives on a farm outside of town with her large family. Having only girl children, and desperately needing another set of hands to help with the manual labor of farm life, her father designated her at the age of nine to be the "boy" of the family. She is now 21 and she dresses, behaves, and is treated as a man. She dreams of building a life of her own in the only way open to her - by escaping to the wilder and less settled country to the west, buying land, and establishing her own farm.

Patience and Sarah meet one frigid morning when Sarah brings a load of firewood to Patience's brother's house. The attraction is immediate, but they face many obstacles before they can achieve any sort of real happiness together. The ensuing tale is a fascinating and well-researched glimpse into life in the early 1800's - gender roles, geography, technology, day to day life, language, culture, and the unique challenges these two women faced as they forged a path that as far as they knew they walked alone. They knew of no others like themselves, and their life together was that of the pioneer into the unknown - trial and error, ingenuity, and making it all up as they went along.

I love that Patience and Sarah are such well-written characters. They are three dimensional and we get to see their struggles, mistakes, frustrations, miscommunications, fears, and betrayals right alongside their triumphs, soaring joys, revelations, hopes, dreams, and the elemental rightness they feel in their connection. Their story filled me with warmth and joy, and is one of only two books (out of more than 200 so far) that I started again from the beginning the minute I finished it. I have a feeling I will be listening to this book over and over.

  • Starfire

  • By: B.V. Larson
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,427
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,241
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,242

On June 30, 1908, an object fell from the sky, releasing more energy than a thousand Hiroshima bombs. A Siberian forest was flattened, but the strike left no significant crater. The anomaly came to be known as the Tunguska Event, and scientists have never agreed whether it was the largest meteor strike in recorded history - or something else. Alien artifacts have been uncovered since the 1908 event, and a new star drive is discovered.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Spy flick meets First contact. :)

  • By Antonio Stevens on 04-27-15

Cheesy Space Soap Opera

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

Reviewed: 12-10-15

The narrator was good but not amazing. His accents were believable if not authentic, and he did a good job of staying consistent with his portrayal of the characters. It was a pretty solid performance, but not particularly outstanding in any way. I noticed a few mispronunciations, but nothing terrible.

I have read many reviews that state that this book is not typical of the author's usual writing style or the normal quality of his work. This was my first B. V. Larson read, so I don't know whether or not those reviews are correct, and I won't be finding out. This book was bad enough that not only will I not be reading anything else by this author, but I will also be returning the book for a refund.

The blurb/summary does not do a very good job of explaining what the book is about, and if I'd had a better idea of the story line I might not have purchased this book in the first place.

** Warning - Spoilers below **


The premise is that alien artifacts had crash landed on Earth in 1908 and the technology contained within them has been responsible for most of the technological advances of mankind since that time. The US and Russia are engaged in a race to see who can unlock (and profit from) the remaining secrets first. There is a lot of super cliche Cold War style rivalry. Russia makes some big discovery and sets off a string of far-fetched and ridiculously extreme sabotage efforts to shut down the research of the US, and then they launch a space ship to follow a signal that was broadcast from the alien artifact in Antarctica to the Jupiter moon Europa. Shortly afterward, a motley crew of seemingly randomly chosen American scientists hops aboard an alien spacecraft that had been held at a top secret Area 51 facility and chases after the Russians. Did I mention that this alien spacecraft has a camouflage layer that is freezing cold (for no apparent reason) and shaped like a giant boulder and it can only be opened by direct descendants of the first human to touch it after its crash landing in the desert?

From this point on, the story gets even more far-fetched and implausible. The Russians decide to launch projectiles at the surface of Europa in advance of their landing, and are subsequently attacked by the alien lifeforms residing on the moon. The alien craft the Americans arrived in is remotely taken over and forced to land. There is a battle with the aliens. Only six humans survive (just barely!) and they have to rely on someone who has only had experience flying helicopters to pilot the damaged Russian spaceship back to Earth. Narrow-minded government officials in both countries continue to focus on their squabbles with each other instead of preparing for a possible alien invasion. Peppered throughout the entire book are lots of eye-rollingly bad romantic entanglements, pointless plot twists, and misguided heroics.

  • The Zone

  • By: Barry Sears
  • Narrated by: Barry Sears
  • Length: 1 hr and 40 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 107
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 62
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 63

Did you know that eating fat does not make you fat? Did you realize that eating fat-free carbohydrates can make you fat? Have you noticed that Americans are getting fatter in spite of eating less fat and more carbohydrates?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Very Useful Book

  • By Harvey on 04-18-08

Severely abridged, needs a different narrator

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

Reviewed: 08-18-15

I often find it difficult to stay focused when reading non-fiction, science-based books and I have had great luck in the past with listening to them instead. This book, however, has been a bit of a disappointment. It is severely abridged, to the point that it seems like much of the original content is missing - 286 pages has been condensed down to an hour and 40 minutes. This results in a decent overview, but there is not much substantive info you can really get from the audio version of the book, and it seems like a waste of money.

Also, there is no nice way to say this - the narration is terrible. Dr. Sears should really have let someone else narrate the book for him. He breaks the sentences into awkwardly truncated groups of words, as if it is a completely unfamiliar work that he is reading, not the book that he himself wrote. He also has the particularly annoying habit of somehow pronouncing the word "favorable" (which is in about every other sentence) without the letter v.

  • Axis of Aaron

  • By: Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant
  • Narrated by: David H. Lawrence XVII
  • Length: 16 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 30

Desperate to forget the sudden death and illuminated betrayal of his new wife and longtime girlfriend, Ebon Shale flees to the quiet seaside town of Aaron, a place that's been calling him back since he was a child. But once there, Ebon feels lost. The small town's citizens are as odd as its energy, and seem to shift the reality before him. Will Aaron help Ebon forget, or will it swallow him whole?

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Stupid Waste of Time

  • By Fred Gronvall on 09-20-15

Doesn't measure up to the hype

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

Reviewed: 05-12-15

Any additional comments?

I have listened to season one of The Beam and also Yesterday's Gone. This was my third attempt at a Truant/Platt book, and I honestly do not understand why the authors have such a devoted fan base. They have some really creative ideas, but their writing is sloppy and rushed, it's repetitive, does not have good flow or character development, and although the story starts out promisingly enough, it quickly devolves into a tangled and incomprehensible mess. The story feels contrived and disjointed, and based on my experience with the other books of theirs I have listened to, this seems to be their characteristic writing style. Other people might love it, but it's not for me. If you have tried any of their other books and been similarly frustrated, be warned that this one is not any better. I'll be returning this book as soon as I post this review.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful