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Binia

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  • 67
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  • Daughter of the Forest

  • Sevenwaters, Book 1
  • By: Juliet Marillier
  • Narrated by: Terry Donnelly
  • Length: 26 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,535
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,417
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,416

Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives and they are determined that she know only contentment. But Sorcha's joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift - by staying silent.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Glad I didn't give up on this book

  • By Miachi on 11-01-15

A favourite

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

Reviewed: 07-03-18

The (first three) Sevenwaters books have long been right up there with my most beloved fantasy books. Although the term 'fantasy' doesn't really apply here...the mystical and magical elements are beautiful and critical to the story, of course, but it reads more like a slightly 'other' historical novel. A wonderful story about unforgettable characters, about heroism, about love.
I highly recommend it, with two caveats:
First: Juliet Marillier takes her time. She doesn't rush through her world-, character- or story building. If you find that the going is a little slow, be patient and be rewarded :)
Second: You have to like your heroes (and heroines) on the stoic side. Strong and silent types.

I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this story in an audio format, but perhaps only because I had the characters already fleshed out in my mind and could ignore the narrator's annoying interpretation of them. I did enjoy the narrator's accent, but in trying to add drama and feeling to the telling, she overshot by a mile. If Sorcha thinks 'How could this be?' the narrator wails 'Hooow could this beee???!!!' ...that sort of thing. Sorcha, for all her quiet dignity and stoicism, is made to sound unbearably whiny and dramatic all through the book. The narration does the male characters no favours either. With a different narrator I would have given 5 stars on all fronts.

On to the second book, which I personally love even more and which, I was thrilled to discover, has a different narrator.

  • Free the Darkness

  • King's Dark Tidings, Book 1
  • By: Kel Kade
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,566
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11,002
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,973

Raised and trained in seclusion at a secret fortress on the edge of the northern wilds of the Kingdom of Ashai, a young warrior called Rezkin is unexpectedly thrust into the outworld when a terrible battle destroys all that he knows. With no understanding of his life’s purpose and armed with masterful weapons mysteriously bestowed upon him by a dead king, Rezkin must travel across Ashai to find the one man who may hold the clues to his very existence.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • What the heck people?

  • By Mbot on 03-12-17

Literary junkfood

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

Reviewed: 03-14-18

The writing is terrible, the characters are one-dimensional, the hero is absurdly overpowered. I spent half the book rolling my eyes at the author's misuse of the English language, at the horrendous repetitiveness of certain descriptions and phrases, at the ridiculous indulgence with which he glorifies his best-at-everything-in-the-world protagonist. This book is awful, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed it thoroughly :)

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Dunkelsprung

  • Vielleicht kein Märchen
  • By: Leonie Swann
  • Narrated by: Andrea Sawatzki
  • Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

Julius Birdwell, Goldschmiedemeister, Flohdompteur und unfreiwilliger Einbruchkünstler, wünscht sich nichts sehnlicher, als endlich eine ruhige, unbescholtene Existenz führen zu können. Doch als seine Flohartisten einem plötzlichen Nachtfrost zum Opfer fallen und die geheimnisvolle Elizabeth Thorn in sein Leben tritt, überstürzen sich die Ereignisse.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unforgettable

  • By Binia on 11-22-14

Unforgettable

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

Reviewed: 11-22-14

What did you love best about Dunkelsprung?

The best part of this book is Leonie Swann's writing - she has a beautifully fresh, wonderfully descriptive and unique style, which I immediately fell in love with. I enjoyed every minute of this book and of these words... they kept surprising me, delighting me and making me laugh out loud.

What did you like best about this story?

This is an original story unlike anything I have ever read. There are quite a few points of view here, various strange, quirky characters who we get to inhabit, but my absolute favorite experience was slipping into the strong, sleek bodies of Julius' bold and beautiful fleas. Die Floehe wuerden dieses Buch bestimmt als einen "grossen Sprung" bezeichnen :)

What about Andrea Sawatzki’s performance did you like?

The narrator did a really good job of capturing the tone of the book. Her reading definitely brought out subtleties, ironies and humor in the story. She is not by any means a master narrator, didn't really have different voices for different characters or any fancy tricks up her sleeve, but that did not detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. Tiny complaint: this is a German book but it is set in London, so the characters and places have English names. I was slightly irritated by the narrator's heavy German accent every time she said "Julius Birdwell" or any other name.

If you could rename Dunkelsprung, what would you call it?

Dunkelsprung is the perfect name for this book.

Any additional comments?

This one is something special. December is about to commence, so I feel confident in saying that this is and will remain my favorite book this year. You may want to skip this if your German is not very good, but if you are a (near) native speaker I don't see how you could not love this book for the gorgeous language alone.

  • The White Tiger

  • A Novel
  • By: Aravind Adiga
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,935
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,678
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,675

Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life - having nothing but his own wits to help him along. Through Balram's eyes, we see India as we've never seen it before: the cockroaches and the call centers, the prostitutes and the worshippers, the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger.

With a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create morality and money doesn't solve every problem.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great, informative tale

  • By Barry Feinstein on 05-19-09

Transporting

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

Reviewed: 10-19-14

Would you listen to The White Tiger again? Why?

Yes, I'm sure I will listen to this again when the mood strikes me to dip into the Darkness of Balram's India. IMO this book is not the strongest contender in the story/plot department. But! It is a fantastic experience - it swept me up and dumped me in a foul, feral, fascinating, funny, frightening place which I have never seen from this perspective, never with this detail or feeling... never cared about overly much. I do now.
The degree to which this glimpse of that India is haunting and intriguing me makes this one of the best books I have listened to this year.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I would have enjoyed more dedication and depth at the back end. It felt like a bit of a race to the finish line from a certain point onward. Which is fair enough, I guess, but I would have had attention and interest to spare for Balram's present life.

What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Atmosphere! I'm no expert on Indian accents, but to my ears John Lee's performance is absolutely wonderful. He made the story that much richer and more engaging for me.

Any additional comments?

You'll love this if you enjoy a bit of a culture shock, if you like a-peek-at-the-underbelly type stories, if you can handle a dose of darkness. It's funny, too. And definitely worth a credit.

  • The Poisonwood Bible

  • By: Barbara Kingsolver
  • Narrated by: Dean Robertson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,652
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,952
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,991

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them all they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it - from garden seeds to Scripture - is calamitously transformed on African soil.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'd give it ten stars if I could

  • By Johnna on 06-10-11

The beauty of this book far outshines it's flaws

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

Reviewed: 03-12-14

Any additional comments?

The Poisonwood Bible is one of those gems in which absolutely wonderful writing (vivid, poetic, distinctive, but not at all taxing) meets great narration - subtle, understated, but full of feeling and understanding of the characters. As I got to know those same characters it became easy to distinguish between protagonists even if I missed a character switch, by both the writing and the narration.The crowing glory of this book is the author's incredible gift of observation, as well as her ability to translate her observations into such fresh and powerful language. And so the human condition is once again revealed to be utterly tragic and utterly comical. She had me, unexpectedly, in stitches many times, laughing so hard that I had to hit the pause button so as not to miss anything. (Perhaps I found certain things particularly funny because, having lived many years in Africa myself, I recognized so many of her insights as profoundly true and absurdly humorous.) She also had me, not unexpectedly, blinking away tears here and there... and she made me long for things, and appreciate things, and she made me angry and engaged.I learned something, too, some things I did not know about the dire political goings on that made such a mess of the Congo. I recommend this book wholeheartedly for all of the above.The reason I gave 4 stars instead of 5 for performance is that I found it a little confusing and annoying that there was never any space between the end of one POV chapter and the beginning of the next. It was very easy to miss the switches. A production flaw, I think.And the reason I gave the story only 4 stars is because Miss Kingsolver overshot the end of the book by quite a bit. The first 3/4 or so of the book are really wonderful, the rest is, IMHO, utterly superfluous and drags on for no particular reason. Not only does that last part contribute nothing much to the story, it loses the magic, the keen insights, the powerful imagery etc that wowed me, and the characters suddenly become flat and grow no further even though they age in leaps and bounds. It's quite odd, really.BUT never mind the end. The bulk of the book is all good things and completely makes up for any flaws. It will be a credit well spent.

  • She Who Remembers

  • By: Linda Lay Shuler
  • Narrated by: Cris Dukehart
  • Length: 17 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 282
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 244
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 247

In an ancient time of fear and superstition, she stood apart because of her unusual blue eyes. In a land of great stone cities and trackless wilderness, she sought her own unique path. But it was with the clan that accepted her - and in the heart of the magic man who saved her - that she found her ultimate destiny. Her name was Kwani. But legend would call her She Who Remembers.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • She Who Remembers

  • By Sara E Ballew on 07-20-15

So disappointing...

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

Reviewed: 01-23-14

Any additional comments?

I thought I remembered reading this book in my tweens or early teens - the first book that I had to put down for a bit because it made me sob so hard that I couldn't see the letters anymore...lol...wonderful memory. It turns out that the book I read back then was actually "Voice of the Eagle", the second title in this series. Still, I was very pleased when I stumbled on this here, bought it immediately and was prepared to, even expecting to, love it. Which I did not. Because it's awful. The narrator brings out every bit of awfulness and multiplies it exponentially. Maybe it's just me - the narrator's accent really grated on my nerves with her Kuh-wanis and her speeerits and her pointy consonants. The main character struck me as a silly, stroppy, selfish, utterly uninteresting and unlikable cardboard creature. The elements of supposed romance in the story are un-engaging and unbelievable, yet the style of writing, the endlessly looping plot and the author's obsession with Kwani's physical assets would be perfectly at home in a bad romance novel.
I'm so sad. I would love to revisit the story that touched my young reader's heart so much 20 years ago, but I don't think I can bare any more of this tripe - certainly not on audio.

18 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • The Now Method

  • A Cure for Anxiety, Panic Attacks & Depression
  • By: Craig Beck
  • Narrated by: Craig Beck
  • Length: 59 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 132
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 113
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 110

> The Now Method is a system of understanding the causes of anxiety, panic, and depression and at the same time reprogramming the subconscious to retake control from the over endorsed conscious or ego. Designed by a sufferer of the symptoms to cure his own condition, the success of the course is partly attributed to the empathy Craig Beck demonstrates throughout....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Finally Centered

  • By Amazon Customer on 01-19-12

Just read the title

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

Reviewed: 06-09-13

Any additional comments?

Spoiler alert: Don't think about the past; don't worry about the future. That's the Now Method. Feel cured? Yeah, me neither.
(Of course being 'now' is great and extremely important, but I'll bet you know that even without wasting a credit on this book.)

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Pass Through Panic

  • Freeing Yourself From Anxiety and Fear
  • By: Dr. Claire Weekes
  • Narrated by: Dr. Claire Weekes
  • Length: 1 hr and 55 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 287
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 180
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 176

In this eight part radio series, Dr. Weekes speaks with the listener intimately and compassionately about how to overcome anxiety, frustration, phobias, and depression. She coaches the listener on how to pass through panic and reach a place of strength and optimism.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Short and Sweet

  • By Binia on 06-09-13

Short and Sweet

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

Reviewed: 06-09-13

Any additional comments?

I suffered from anxiety and depression a few years back, and it turns out that what Dr. Weekes suggests here as a cure is pretty much exactly what I did back then to get over it. Accept the anxiety -> lose the fear of the anxiety -> lose the anxiety. Since getting pregnant I have had bouts of anxiousness and , occasionally, out of control moodiness that remind me so much of my past anxiety/depression issues that sometimes it has felt like a relapse. So in order to fortify myself against the stress of the impending delivery, the crazy hormones and the sleeplessness ahead, I looked for a little something to help me relax, 'accept my landing', know that even if this is a relapse I can recover again just like I did last time.This "book" is a series of four radio broadcasts from 1967 by Dr. Claire Weekes, in which she speaks in slightly antiquated language about her experience in working with patients that suffer from anxiety disorders. She presents both her views of the underlying problem and the solution to the problem in a very clear, simple and passionate manner, and she is absolutely endearing to listen to :) This recording may be over forty years old, but in my opinion this lady's ideas are still spot on. (Plus - it's quite fun to get a little glimpse of 60s societal norms as a side dish to the still very relevant main material.) I'm so glad I chose this as my 'fortification' book because, strangely, what took me so long to figure out for myself back in the day, what finally let me move on from my extremely frustrating and often debilitating disorder, is right here, in a sweet, neat little 2 hour package. Although I wonder if, had I heard this back then, I might have dismissed it as outdated, way too simple, impossible, not enough. It is none of these things - not if you can get up the guts to truly follow this advise. Good luck!p.s. I recommend listening to the sample to see if you like her manner, diction and accent. Personally, I think they're adorable :)

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • The Bride

  • By: Julie Garwood
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,462
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,491
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,504

By edict of the king, the mighty Scottish laird Alec Kincaid must take an English bride. His choice was Jamie the feisty youngest daughter of Baron Jamison. Alec ached to touch her, to tame her, to possess her forever. But Jamie vowed never to surrender to this highland barbarian. Though his kisses fired her blood, shadowed secrets from Alec's past threatened Jamie's happiness. She brazenly resisted him - until one rapturous moment quelled their clash of wills.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Audible Favorite!

  • By Elizabeth on 07-03-12

Seriously?

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

Reviewed: 07-19-12

What disappointed you about The Bride?

'Disappointed' is not a strong enough word. It actually made me angry how awful this book is. I must have slipped into some alternate universe while listening to this thing - that's the only way to make sense of the fact that so many people seem to have enjoyed this utterly insipid, ridiculous, mind-numbing bit of tripe. Yes, fine, in picking a historical romance I'm not expecting Tolstoy. I'm prepared for something light, hopefully a bit fun and a touch sexy, packaged in a generic but atmospheric historical setting. The Bride did start out that way. I immediately disliked the extremity of the heroine's superwoman characteristics - she is perfect and can do everything and everyone loves her and yet she is ooooh so humble and blablabla. Standard fare with these stories, I guess, so I was willing to get over it. But ugh: "She is as flawed as a clear blue sky" (gimme a break). As if this statement is not bad enough, the author apparently does not trust that her reader has enough brain cells to figure out the irony here, so she has another character ask what the speaker could possibly mean, since a clear blue sky is not flawed at all! "No," says the other, "only to a blind man". Gag.
OK, so we have the utterly perfect heroine (to make her main character 'three-dimensional' Garwood inserts an ever-so-charming flaw: the lovely Jamie has a bad sense of direction), and the gigantic, irresistibly sexy, rough, powerful Scottish laird whom said heroine is forced to marry and who cannot wait to get her in the sack. Sure, I'm with ya, fire away.On the first day of their marriage he seduces her despite her determination to keep him at arm's length unti he loves her, and he promises to never lose his temper with her. And that's it. Really. The rest of the book is about her going "haha, I'm going to make you angry but you can't be angry because you promised. Although I don't mean to be insolent, my lord." Then he is angry, making her wonder if he really cares about her. Then he shags her and tells her how much he cares about her. Then she goes "haha, I'm going to make you angry but you can't be angry because you promised..." On and on, one idiotically contrived altercation, self-pity party and boring sex scene after another, ad nauseum. It's unbelievable, really.

Would you ever listen to anything by Julie Garwood again?

Not voluntarily

Would you be willing to try another one of Rosalyn Landor’s performances?

Sure, the narration was fine.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

11 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • The Hunger Games

  • By: Suzanne Collins
  • Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51,324
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,511
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,946

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great story. Absolutely grating narrator.

  • By tcp100 on 12-27-11

Somehow, it got me...

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-26-11

First the qualifier: I'm 30 yrs old, so not technically the intended audience.
I initially purchased this series for my boyfriend during an Audible series sale, thinking it might be a fun sci-fi/gladiator type of story. That didn't work out, the boyfriend was immediately put off by the narrator and the premise, and completely gave up about an hour in. Not wanting to entirely waste the credits, I tried listening to it myself.
I found Katniss to be a pretty annoying heroine - throughout the series she's increasingly whiny and self-obsessed and rarely has a clue. I rolled my eyes a lot and often wished she would just shut up and let us get on with the story. I guess this is the inescapable teenage element in what is, after all, a YA series.
The narrator is also not my favorite. She gives most of the characters the same incredibly irritating drawl, which tended to make me think that reading these books instead of listening to them would have been more enjoyable.
But enjoy them I did, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. There have even been moments where I found myself misty-eyed and wondering just how the author managed to draw me in despite my reservations about what I perceived as a somewhat flat world/cast/story.
I am now in the middle of the last book. I have no regrets about spending 2 credits on this series. And although I don't think I would recommend this to my friends or family, I do appreciate the secret ingredient, whatever it is, that has kept me listening so far...

2 of 3 people found this review helpful