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Aaron E. Houseknecht

  • 8
  • reviews
  • 3
  • helpful votes
  • 31
  • ratings
  • The Best of All Possible Worlds

  • By: Karen Lord
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 115
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 106
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 106

A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever. Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • amazing!!!

  • By A. Sunmonu on 04-09-13

A wonderful New Universe

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

Reviewed: 04-18-18

reviewing via my husband’s Amazon account
Karen Lord has become one of my new favorite science fiction authors
in this book, she has created one of the most innovative worlds I have read in a very long time. Her characters are also quite fully fleshed and compelling. I look forward to reading other books in the storyline.
Andrea Leigh Ptak

  • The Patron Saint of Ugly

  • By: Marie Manilla
  • Narrated by: Laura Hicks
  • Length: 13 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 267
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 239
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 237

Born in Sweetwater, West Virginia, with a mop of flaming red hair and a map of the world rendered in port-wine stains on every surface of her body, Garnet Ferrari is used to being an outcast. With her sharp tongue, she has always known how to defend herself against bullies and aggressors but finds she is less adept at fending off the pilgrims who have set up a veritable tent city outside her hilltop home, convinced she is Saint Garnet, healer of skin ailments and maker of miracles.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Weird but defintately wonderful

  • By Mike on 02-11-15

Italian-American Magic Realism

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

Reviewed: 01-27-17

Today I am really tired. WHY? Because I stayed up way too late finishing this terrific book! It had everything I love in a novel: fully-fleshed out characters, a relatable setting (I am of Italian heritage, raised Roman Catholic, and it's set in about the same time as my own life), and a hint of magic realism. It's told in first-person narrative, a style I enjoy when the narrator has a strong voice as this one does.

Hicks is a masterful reader who does an excellent job in the accents. it fondly brought to mind my own Nonna.

I highly recommend it.

Andie Ptak using hubby's account


  • Black Blade Blues

  • By: J.A. Pitts
  • Narrated by: Erin Bennett
  • Length: 13 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 346
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 321
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 322

Sarah Beauhall has more on her plate than most 20-somethings: day job as a blacksmith, night job as a props manager for low-budget movies, and her free time is spent fighting in a medieval re-enactment group. The lead actor breaks Sarah's favorite one-of-a-kind sword, and to avoid reshooting scenes, Sarah agrees to repair the blade. One of the extras, who claims to be a dwarf, offers to help. And that's when things start to get weird.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Expectations

  • By Dave on 03-13-15

A nice twist on the hero myth

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

Reviewed: 08-07-16

This is a good start to a series. A great idea, though the execution was spotty. it was in dire need of a good editor in some places for both language and pacing. I enjoyed it, but am not dying to read Book 2. I likely will, just not a high priority.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Among Others

  • By: Jo Walton
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,285
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,130
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,132

Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Subtle Character Piece

  • By Eoin on 09-15-11

A fantasy for scifi lovers

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

Reviewed: 06-10-16

I am mediately fell in love with the main character, Morwenna, especially the voice used by the reader to portray her. The first person POV of her journal lets you get into her head and heart, so you get to know her on a very personal level.

Her story unfolds peppered with her critiques of the various science-fiction novels she's reading. It proved to be an interesting technique for letting the reader get a better understanding of Morenna's thought processes.

and just when you thought the final chapter could become a cliché, it surprised you with the delightfully unexpected and satisfying end.
i

  • Doomsday Book

  • By: Connie Willis
  • Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
  • Length: 26 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,836
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,947
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,971

For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies - it's the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Timely, beautiful, terrible and haunting

  • By mudcelt on 11-02-09

Older Recording could use updating

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

Reviewed: 04-01-16

I love Connie Willis as an author, and this book both both fascinating and exciting. She occasionally repeats herself, but that did not mar the experience. The audible reading was all right, but I'm not sure how I felt about the narrator's change of voice from character to character. It was, at times, distracting. I'd still recommend it though--especially ally to anyone who enjoys a good time travel

  • The Night Circus

  • By: Erin Morgenstern
  • Narrated by: Jim Dale
  • Length: 13 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,607
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,850
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,868

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The circus of your dreams

  • By Anonymous User on 09-22-11

Superb in Every Way

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

Reviewed: 03-24-16

The Night Circus captured my attention and imagination like no other book since Mark Helprin's A Winters Tale. The writing is exquisite and enhanced by Jim Dale's perfect reading. The story is unique and intricate with its jumps through time and place. The ending was delightful, and left me smiling, and searching for more books by Erin Morgenstern. It is my new favorite book!

Andrea Ptak (hubby's Amazon account)

  • The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

  • By: Genevieve Valentine
  • Narrated by: Susie Berneis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 55

Jo, the firstborn, The General to her 11 sisters, is the only thing the Hamilton girls have in place of a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of their father's townhouse and into cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their controlling father. Meanwhile, they continue to dance, until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn't seen in almost 10 years.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Poor narration choice

  • By Bridget Evans on 01-13-15

Would be a great book for Masterpiece Theater

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

Reviewed: 06-29-15

I loved the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses as a child and this loosely based rework delights me as an adult. The prose is crisp and tight. The characters are finely drawn and like able. You want to know how they will escape their uptown castle. I would olive to see this made into a miniseries as it would attract the Downton Abbey crowd and then some.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Parable of the Sower

  • By: Octavia E. Butler
  • Narrated by: Lynne Thigpen
  • Length: 12 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,264
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,008
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,001

God is change. That is the central truth of the Earthseed movement, whose unlikely prophet is 18-year-old Lauren Olamina. The young woman's diary entries tell the story of her life amid a violent 21st-century hell of walled neighborhoods and drug-crazed pyromaniacs - and reveal her evolving Earthseed philosophy. Against a backdrop of horror emerges a message of hope: if we are willing to embrace divine change, we will survive to fulfill our destiny among the stars.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Better than Mark

  • By Noah Paul on 11-05-09

Enthralling speculative fiction

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

Reviewed: 06-26-15

I had to reread this for a book club, so got the audible version. I was delighted with the narration--the perfect voice for Lauren's first-person narrative.
Published in 1993, the book's vision of the future is ever so closer to reality and I can see it as a possibility even more than when I first read it in 1996.
Butler's writing style is sparse, but with enough evocative description to let the reader envision the settings and characters. She handles the brutal scenes with just the right touch; I neither need nor want the full gory details. She gives just enough to let us know what is happening.
Rereading this has made me want to go back and reread her other works and the few I missed. Science/speculative fiction lost a bright star when we lost Butler to an unexpected aneurism. I would have liked to see her take on where we are headed twenty years later.
Andie Ptak

2 of 2 people found this review helpful