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  • Girls with Sharp Sticks

  • Girls with Sharp Sticks, Book 1
  • By: Suzanne Young
  • Narrated by: Caitlin Davies
  • Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

The girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved - it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their guardian, they receive a well-rounded education that promises to make them better. Obedient girls, free from arrogance or defiance. Free from troublesome opinions or individual interests. But the girls’ carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears. As Mena and her friends uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there - and who they really are - the girls of Innovations Academy will learn to fight back.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Already Sharpening My Stick!

  • By LL on 03-23-19

Already Sharpening My Stick!

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

Reviewed: 03-23-19

I had this book on pre-order the minute it was announced because I really love Suzanne Young's writing. Girls with Sharp Sticks starts a new series with a very scary premise: young girls are being trained to be "better girls"--obedient, charming, beautiful and vapid...that is until one girl sets off a chain of events that changes everything. At its core, GwSS is a good dystopian story and I got into it immediately. If you are really paying attention, you will discover many parallels to the world of today and the here and now. Hearing one of the characters tell the girls to "be best" gave me an uncomfortable little giggle. BTW, the book is the beginning of a new series and made me want to find out what happens next.

I won't compare this book to other works because of spoilers. Let me just say that I am "waving my hands in a jazzy hooray" (one of my favorite lines) and feeling like a powerful woman this night. My favorite Suzanne Young book to date.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Amal Unbound

  • By: Aisha Saeed
  • Narrated by: Priya Ayyar
  • Length: 4 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 118
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal's Pakistani village, but she has no complaints, and besides, she's busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when - as the eldest daughter - she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn't lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens - after an accidental run-in with the son of her village's corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family's servant to pay off her own family's debt.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Global Read Aloud 2018

  • By JMC on 08-06-18

A Story for All Ages

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

Reviewed: 05-21-18

I heard Aisha Saeed speak about her first book Written in the Stars years ago at a bookstore event. Since then I have followed her on Twitter. When she announced Amal Unbound, she explained that it was a book about a girl but for all genders and was geared towards middle grades but a story for all ages. I took a chance and was not disappointed. The story is just as lush and hopeful as the gorgeous cover and Priya Ayyar's narration was perfect.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Complication

  • Program, Book 6
  • By: Suzanne Young
  • Narrated by: Rebekkah Ross
  • Length: 11 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

Every cure has a cost. Tatum Masterson learned this after years of being monitored by The Program. She witnessed it when her boyfriend, Wes, came back changed, erased. And now, even the newest “cure” has a heavy cost - one she and Wes paid. The Adjustment came into Tatum’s life just when she thought she needed it most, a promise for Wes to get back his forgotten memories. But when the procedure went wrong, a revelation shattered everything Tatum thought she knew. Now, with no one left to trust, Tatum must find out what really happened last summer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Satisfying Conclusion--no spoilers

  • By LL on 05-04-18

A Satisfying Conclusion--no spoilers

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

Reviewed: 05-04-18

I first discovered Suzanne Young's book THE PROGRAM several years ago. It touched a nerve for very personal reasons and made me want more of the story. THE COMPLICATION is the 6th and final book in the series. When I rate a book, I rate it based on a few things and these are the reasons I have give the book 5 stars.

The first thing I look for is whether or not the story is a good one--did it keep me interested?, did it keep me wanting to find out more?, was I invested in the characters? Yes on all of these. Because I have read the other 5 books in the series, the world of The Program was very familiar and this book in particular brought back many of the characters I have grown to love and some that I have loved to hate. The characters are flawed and filled with self doubt but are also badass.

Another thing I look for is whether or not the book makes me think. There were so many times in this book that I thought about the choices that a character had made. What would I have done? Some of the choices were unethical and yet as a parent I really had to think about how I would have reacted in the same situation.

This is a YA title and I am not the target audience but I am a huge YA fan--I would have loved to have a series like this to read as a teen. It is exciting, thought provoking, and has a great if somewhat dark sense of humor.

THE COMPLICATION is the perfect end to the series in that it tied up all the loose ends and gave each character closure (in one way or another).

A word for parents: YA is a great way to talk to your kids. My daughter and I read the original PROGRAM book together years ago and it opened up a continuing dialog about suicide and other difficult subjects.

  • The Adjustment

  • Program, Book 3
  • By: Suzanne Young
  • Narrated by: Rebekkah Ross
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48

Tatum Masterson never went through The Program. She never had her memory stripped, never had to fight to remain herself. But when Weston, her longtime boyfriend and love of her life, was taken by handlers, she hoped he'd remember her somehow - that their love would be strong enough. It wasn't.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • When All You Have Left Are Feelings

  • By LL on 05-04-17

When All You Have Left Are Feelings

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

Reviewed: 05-04-17

Let me start of by saying that I started loving Suzanne Young's work with The Program . Because of that I am now fully invested in this series and think Suzanne Young is simply a wonderful storyteller. I look forward to each additional book in the series because the entire premise is so intriguing. I liked some of the books better than others but love the way they are all interwoven with each other.

I have rated the story a 5 simply because it is a good story and like the other books in the series The Adjustment challenged me to think. How much do your memories shape your world? How can you be sure that what you are remembering is true? Can those memories be corrupted? Does that change who you are? Who can you trust? In The Adjustment, Tatum and her former boyfriend Weston have to face those questions in a very real way.

The performance was only a 3 for me. Nothing really wrong with it, but I am not really a Rebekkah Ross fan. I prefer a stronger narrator such as Julia Whelan, Kate Rudd or Joy Osmanski.

It was my daughter who first urged me to read The Program--the original book in the series. That book encouraged us to have many conversations about situations the characters faced and to talk about what we would do in similar situations. I got into YA because it gives my daughter and me great insights into each other. As an adult reader of YA, the other thing I look for in a YA book is what would have appealed to me at the target age. I can't remember reading anything like this series when I was young and imagine I would have fallen head first into the world of The Program.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • All in Pieces

  • By: Suzanne Young
  • Narrated by: Arden Hammersmith
  • Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

"Anger-management issues." That's how they classified Savannah Sutton after she stuck a pencil in her ex-boyfriend's hand because he mocked her little brother, Evan, for being disabled. That's why they sent her to Brooks Academy - an alternative high school that's used as a temporary detention center. The days at Brooks are miserable, but at home, life is far more bleak. Savvy's struggling to take care of her brother since her mom left years ago, and her alcoholic dad can't be bothered.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic

  • By Ramblings From This Chick Blog on 04-22-17

Multi Layered and Beautifully Written

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

Reviewed: 12-15-16

I was already a fan of Suzanne Young's work based on The Program series so I had great hopes for All in Pieces. This one is very different from that series in that the story is contemporary and a true slice of life. The simple description is that it is the story of a girl with "anger management issues" who is sent to a special school after stabbing someone with a pencil. We think know right away why she did it but part of the appeal of Suzanne Young's writing is that the story is multi layered--there is so much depth to this story and the reasons are not as simple as they initially seem. I am an adult and confess that this book brought up some strong emotions. The characters are all flawed, just like in real life. I hate the YA trend of having characters that are so perfect that they don't resemble anyone in real life. This story felt authentic. Well worth the credit!

  • Confessions of a Scary Mommy

  • An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood - The Good, The Bad, and the Scary
  • By: Jill Smokler
  • Narrated by: Jill Smokler
  • Length: 4 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 518
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 461
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 460

In a culture that idealizes motherhood, it’s scary to confess that, in your house, being a mother is beautiful and dirty and joyful and frustrating all at once. Admitting that it’s not easy doesn’t make you a bad mom; at least, it shouldn’t. When Jill Smokler was first home with her small children, she thought her blog would be something to keep friends and family updated. To her surprise, she hit a chord in the hearts of mothers everywhere. As other women shared their stories, Jill realized she wasn’t alone in her feelings of exhaustion and imperfection.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cracked Me Up!

  • By kisa on 04-23-13

Couldn't Even Finish It

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

Reviewed: 05-31-16

I bought this book on sale but gave up mid way through. Perfect TV moms don't exist anywhere but on TV, I get it. This mother appeared to hate motherhood so much that it was hard to listen to

  • Troublemaker

  • Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
  • By: Leah Remini
  • Narrated by: Leah Remini
  • Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 15,036
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13,820
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 13,765

The outspoken actress, talk show host, and reality television star offers up a no-holds-barred memoir, including an eye-opening insider account of her tumultuous and heart-wrenching 30-year-plus association with the Church of Scientology.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ✫✫ 5 Stars ✫✫

  • By Cyndi on 07-10-18

I was curious

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

Reviewed: 11-09-15

I actually had no opinion of Leah Remini prior to the announcement of this book. The draw was simple curiosity and I am so glad I listened and could make up my own mind because the book was unexpectedly hilarious.

The narration was fantastic. Some readers of their own material have trouble making it sound conversational and like they aren't reading. This book felt like hearing someone tell me a story and not read me a story.

The media would have you believe that this book is all about Tom Cruise and while he figures in in a huge way, he is more of a catalyst. Leah is now known as an outspoken ex-Scientologist but she became outspoken due to her concerns that TC was misrepresenting the church. The Scientology spin control has slammed Leah in the press as being a terrible person, etc. I loved that instead of excuses she owns all of her mistakes and personality flaws. It made me wonder if the Scientology spin control had actually read the book.

  • Hotel Ruby

  • By: Suzanne Young
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 57
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 50

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she's grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother's death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gloriously Spooky

  • By LL on 11-08-15

Gloriously Spooky

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

Reviewed: 11-08-15

I eagerly awaited the release of Hotel Ruby with a pre-order and was not disappointed. Although it is a YA book, it certainly appeals to an adult audience as well. The star of the story is the Hotel Ruby herself and she outshines everyone with her grand style. The characters are well drawn and of course there are layers of spooky secrets that needed to be uncovered before the end of the book. The ending was satisfying but no spoilers here!

A special mention for Julia Whelan who once again did a wonderful narration.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Remedy

  • By: Suzanne Young
  • Narrated by: Rebekkah Ross
  • Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 112
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 95
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 96

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill - she can become anyone.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Book hangover!

  • By Friendlyvelociraptor on 02-24-16

Fans of The Program Won't be Disappointed!

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

Reviewed: 06-01-15

I bought this prequel to The Program series on a pre-sale and anxiously awaited its release. What is always hard with a new book in a series is comparing it to other well loved books which is somewhat unfair. At first I wasn't sure I was going to like it. As the author has said, this book is the "same world" as The Program but a different story. It was new and different with a very intriguing plot that stands alone nicely. The author really understands the teenaged voice without alienating an adult audience. There were many nods towards the future story, so I spent a lot of time thinking, "OH! So that is why..." which was lots of fun. The most fun was the patented Suzanne Young "turn everything you think you know on its head" twist. Delicious!

The hard part now is waiting for the next book in the series. Write faster, Suzanne Young!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Not My Father's Son: A Memoir

  • By: Alan Cumming
  • Narrated by: Alan Cumming
  • Length: 6 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,427
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,883
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,845

With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as the celebrated actor of film, television, and stage. At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always incredibly brave and honest, Not My Father's Son is a powerful story of embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Best Part of Saturday

  • By George Knight on 12-16-14

Beautfiul!

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

Reviewed: 04-15-15

I like Alan Cumming well enough but wasn't too sure I wanted to delve into a book about his horrific childhood. When the book went on sale I took a leap of faith and bought it. I am so glad I did! Yes, his childhood was horrific in many ways but the book is not depressing or sad. It is filled with gladness, tenderness and hope. I laughed out loud and teared up several times but came away feeling a sense of joy. Alan's narration was perfect as well. Not all authors should read but he is talented enough to do both perfectly.