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Samantha Dunaway Bryant

Hillsborough, NC
  • 10
  • reviews
  • 20
  • helpful votes
  • 26
  • ratings
  • Educated

  • A Memoir
  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 35,176
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 31,903
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 31,753

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. Her quest for knowledge transformed her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Other Side of Idaho's Mountains

  • By Darwin8u on 03-28-18

Quietly hair-raising

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

Reviewed: 11-11-18

This memoir follows a girl into womanhood in an unusual family: a survivalist Mormon one. Her life's journey was fascinating, and at times harrowing. The narration by Julia Whelan was perfect for the story, understated and calm even when describing difficult moments. #bittersweet #memoir #windows #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

  • Murder on the Orient Express

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Tom Conti, Jane Asher, Ruta Gedmintas, and others
  • Length: 5 hrs and 47 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,240
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,988
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,973

What begins as a routine journey on the luxurious Orient Express soon unfurls into Agatha Christie's most famous murder mystery. This all-star production features lead performances from Tom Conti ( The Dark Knight Rises, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence) as Hercule Poirot, Sophie Okonedo ( After Earth, Hotel Rwanda and Ace Ventura) and Eddie Marsan ( Sherlock Holmes, V for Vendetta and Hancock) plus a full supporting cast.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Classic Mystery, dramatized by Audible

  • By Tracy on 11-06-17

Great interpretation of a classic murder mystery

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

Reviewed: 11-08-17

I read this one in paper when I was a tweenager. When my book club picked it thirty years later, I didn't remember much, other than that I really enjoyed it.

This Audible Original Drama version was a delight. The actors obviously enjoyed their work, and did a wonderful job differentiating all the different characters and accents and nationalities.

Unfortunately, I remembered how it ended a little bit before I got there, so the ending lost some impact for me, but it was a great performance and great fun!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Moby-Dick

  • By: Herman Melville
  • Narrated by: Frank Muller
  • Length: 21 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,128
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,577
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,595

Labeled variously a realistic story of whaling, a romance of unusual adventure and eccentric characters, a symbolic allegory, and a drama of heroic conflict, Moby Dick is first and foremost a great story. It has both the humor and poignancy of a simple sea ballad, as well as the depth and universality of a grand odyssey.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Had No Idea Melville Was So Funny

  • By Dave on 05-09-12

Excellent Narration kept me afloat

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

Reviewed: 08-17-17

This was my second attempt to assail the infamous white whale. The first time I was a mere landlubber of some twenty years. Now I'm seasoned old salt (at least of the literary seas) of two score and six. That alone may have made some difference. I also listened to it as an audio book this time. I'm sure that helped, keeping me focused when my eye might have wandered. In any case, I loved it. This narrator was perfect, neither over nor under dramatic, able to represent all the varied types of chapters well.

What I remembered was that, after an engaging beginning, the book became a slog. And it is assuredly a challenging book. I still found it so. It took me a solid month to read, even on summer vacation when I have much more time to read than life normally affords me.

Not only is it nearly as big a tome as Moby Dick is a whale, it changes tone from chapter to chapter. Sometimes it seems a comedy with a snarky narrator entertaining us with portraits of whalers and their lives. Sometimes it seems an erudite study of the creatures and ways of the sea. Sometimes it seems a philosopher's meanderings through an inner seascape, searching for morality and meaning. Sometimes it seems a Shakespearean tragedy on a rolling seawater soaked stage. I can see why it wasn't an insta-hit when it was new, especially if you'd come to it as a fan of Melville's more straightforward sea adventure stories.

My love might also be because 2017 has been my year for poetry. I was sucked in completely by the language, losing myself in gorgeous descriptive passages, wonderful word play, and compelling metaphors. I wore out my bookmark button marking striking passages. And they weren't all in the "plot" chapters. Beautiful language and deep thoughts abound in the "whaling" chapters, too. At times, I could hear echoes of Whitman, Coleridge, Irving, Poe, Darwin, Hawthorne. It seems Melville's masterwork taps into that romantic flowing zeal of the 1800s that marked so many of the works of the era.

I'm glad I came back to this book and gave it another chance. Sometimes, perhaps, it's not about the book itself, but about whether it's your time for reading it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle

  • By: Shirley Jackson
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,489
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,245
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,249

Six years after four family members died of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The narration changed my interpretation

  • By jaspersu on 10-28-12

Chilling and Thrilling

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

Reviewed: 04-09-17

This is another re-read for me. I read the paper version as a child, and all I could really remember was that I loved it. Wow! What a story. Bernadette Dunne has a very young sounding voice, which was perfect for narrating as Mary Kat, the sociopathic girl at the heart of this story.

What I hadn't remembered was the suspense. The slow reveal of what had happened, and how Shirley Jackson was able to surprise me at so many turns by going a different direction than I expected and still thrilling me.

The genius is in how she can play on your sympathies. The main character is an unreliable narrator and a frightening person, and yet she has my sympathy. I'm on her side.

Wonderful!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  • By: Douglas Adams
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 5 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,804
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 27,976
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,975

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last 15 years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • HHTGH - Lightly Fried

  • By J. Medany on 05-08-05

Just the right voice for this story

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

Reviewed: 04-09-17

I've long been a fan of this series by Douglas Adams and purchased this audiobook to share it with my children on a long road trip. Well, now we've got two more fans. Stephen Fry is a pleasure to listen to . . .I'd probably listen to his grocery list. But, given the excellent deadpan humor of this novel, he gave a genius reading.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Locke & Key

  • By: Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Narrated by: Haley Joel Osment, Tatiana Maslany, Kate Mulgrew, and others
  • Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,719
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6,281
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,265

Based on the best-selling, award-winning graphic novel series Locke & Key - written by acclaimed suspense novelist Joe Hill ( NOS4A2, Horns) and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez - this multicast, fully dramatized audio production brings the images and words to life.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • don't waste your time/money

  • By Kyle Warren on 01-23-19

Missing the visuals

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

Reviewed: 10-15-16

I read the series as graphic novels. I'm glad I did. Because if I had listened to this without having read the graphic novels, there were long sections where I would have no idea what was going on. The actors were sometimes reduced to just making grunting noises. Fight scenes and demon attacks and other things that were portrayed easily with Art in the graphic novels, are really unclear in this format.

That said, the emotions of the story came through very clearly. The characters sounded right. I feel like this production got the heart of the story, it just struggled to transfer some elements into this new medium.

1 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Yiddish Policemen's Union

  • A Novel
  • By: Michael Chabon
  • Narrated by: Peter Riegert
  • Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 654
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 608
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 602

For 60 years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the federal district of Sitka, a temporary safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the district is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story and voice but what's with the music?

  • By Samantha Dunaway Bryant on 09-18-16

Great story and voice but what's with the music?

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

Reviewed: 09-18-16

I love the story and the narrator was perfect. The only thing that struck me as odd the whole time I was listening was the addition of music introducing certain chapters. The music felt out of place for style and was allowed to play under the narration for the first sentence or two of each chapter which was really really strange. Other than that strange stylistic choice, it was great.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Yes Please

  • By: Amy Poehler
  • Narrated by: Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, and others
  • Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46,759
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 40,800
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,617

Amy Poehler is hosting a dinner party and you're invited! Welcome to the audiobook edition of Amy Poehler's Yes Please. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents - Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not Necessarily for Knope Fans

  • By Katie - Audible on 06-04-15

Takes full advantage of the form

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

Reviewed: 06-03-16

Amy Poehler's reading of the book was better than just reading it would've been. In fact this is one of those rare audiobooks where the performers take full of vantage of the form, by including other voices, sound effects, etc. I was left feeling as if I attended a performance with special guests.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Trigger Warning

  • Short Fictions and Disturbances
  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,334
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,081
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,068

In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction--stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013--as well as "Black Dog", a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It Triggered Me to Stay Up Late and Listen

  • By Jan on 02-10-15

Odd chapter breaks

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

Reviewed: 06-03-16

In a collection of short stories, it would make much more sense if each audio track were a single story. It would also make sense if a table of contents actually gave you the names of the stories instead of just a very vague chapter 1, chapter 2, etc.

But those are just cosmetic complaints. Neil Gaiman is an excellent reader, especially of his own work. It is well worth the read and the stories are wonderful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Age Of Innocence

  • By: Edith Wharton
  • Narrated by: Mary Sarah
  • Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 389
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 345
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 334

Wharton’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in upper class New York City. Newland Archer, gentleman lawyer and heir to one of New York City's best families, is happily anticipating a highly desirable marriage to the sheltered and beautiful May Welland. Yet he finds reason to doubt his choice of bride after the appearance of Countess Ellen Olenska, May's exotic, beautiful 30-year-old cousin, who has been living in Europe. This novel won the first ever Pulitzer awarded to a woman.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful Book But Less-than-Beautiful Performance

  • By Janna Wong Healy on 05-17-13

Odd pauses, great reading

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

Reviewed: 06-03-16

A great novel, and a great narrator as well. Good choice of voice for the story. My only complaint was: at the end of each chapter there was such a long pause, that nearly every time I changed chapters, I thought something about my device had malfunctioned.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful