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Amiesbookreviews

Ontario, Canada
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  • 84
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  • 151
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  • Pachinko

  • By: Min Jin Lee
  • Narrated by: Allison Hiroto
  • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,450
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,043
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,035

Profoundly moving and gracefully told, Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • And this was nominated for awards because...?

  • By NMwritergal on 04-05-18

Fascinating look at one Korean family throug time

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

Reviewed: 12-10-18

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. Narrator Allison Hiroto does an amazing job of pronouncing both the Korean and Japanese words included in this tale.

I rate this Audiobook as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend it to all adults who are interested in other cultures.

Columbine audiobook cover art
  • Columbine

  • By: Dave Cullen
  • Narrated by: Don Leslie
  • Length: 14 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,374
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,241
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,247

Over the course of this gripping narrative, Dave Cullen approaches his subjects with unrivaled care and insight. What emerges are shattering portraits of the killers, the victims, and the community that suffered one of the greatest - and most socially and historically important - shooting tragedies of the 20th century.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I feel like I've been hit by a freight train

  • By Dave on 06-23-09

A fascinating look at the first school shooters

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

Reviewed: 11-18-18

COLUMBINE by Dave Cullen examines the very first instance of "School Shootings."
I listened to the unabridged audiobook version of this title and I have to say that the narrator did a terrific job. His voice was clear and his accent was nonexistent which means that he was easily understood. The narrator also had perfect pacing and inflection.
I highly recommend that anyone who has a child of high school age, or who will eventually be high school aged, to read or listen to this book.
It provides insights into some of the behaviors to watch out for.
I rate this Audiobook as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • The Witch Elm

  • A Novel
  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Paul Nugent
  • Length: 22 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,906
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,722
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2,715

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who's dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life - he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden - and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Yes, the Main Character Comes Off Poorly, But...

  • By Marina on 10-19-18

Phenomenal. Intriguing. Riveting. A must listen.

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

Reviewed: 11-12-18

Phenomenal. Intriguing. Unconventional. Thrilling. Astonishing.

All these words and more apply to Tana French's novel, THE WITCH ELM. 

At it's core, this book is a modern day whodunit, a thriller of epic proportions, but it is also so much more.

This book is a character study, a tale of teen angst, the story of a family rallying together in the midst of a horrific medical diagnosis. It is the story of a romance. This is a book about siblings, cousins, friends and how relationships can change over time and how they stay the same. It is also a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

This is truly a book that has everything. I enjoyed listening to it immensely. The story takes place in Ireland and having a narrator with an Irish accent gave this book a sense of place and added authenticity to the audiobook.

The story has plenty twists and turns, some which were expected and many that were not.

Tana French has created characters so realistic that you almost expect to run into one of them on the street.

At just over 22 hours of listening time, this is not a short audiobook and you would think that 22 hours would be too long, however, you would be wrong. In fact, I didn't want this story to end. I had become invested in the character's futures.

My favorite character was Uncle Hugo. On the surface he seems like a giant bore. But as you learn more about him, you start to realize that he is like an onion with many layers, some quite shocking. He has a passion for genealogy research and was able to parlay that into a career as a Genealogist. The author is somehow able to make this career choice seem interesting to listeners and Hugo's research into his client's history is an interesting side storyline.

I rate THE WITCH ELM as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I also give a 5 STAR rating to the narrator whose Irish accent offers listeners authenticity as well as a sense of place. His pacing is sheer perfection. Listeners are able to easily distinguish between character voices which is a huge plus in my opinion.

All in all, I highly recommend this audiobook to readers and listeners from the ages of 16 and up.

Tana French was new to me before experiencing "The Witch Elm" audiobook, but I will be on the lookout for more books from this author in the future.

  • Lights Out!

  • The Murder of L. S. LaPrade
  • By: Dewey Edwards
  • Narrated by: Mike Scott
  • Length: 1 hr and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

In 1880, Leonidas S. LaPrade disappeared from his rural Robertson County, Tennessee, home near Adams. The search lasted for several days, and when the body was found concealed in a sinkhole, it was obvious he had been hideously tortured and murdered. Based on a true event, this murder and the subsequent search, arrest, trial, and lynching of the alleged perpetrators made headlines the world over.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lights Out, Great Book!

  • By Dale Groves on 11-10-18

A fascinating true crime tale from the 1880s

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

Reviewed: 11-02-18

This story is one I had never heard of before and it is a fascinating look at a shocking true crime from 1880.

  • Stray Magic

  • By: Jackie Bouchard
  • Narrated by: Aisling Gray
  • Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36

Cara Snow is newly divorced, stuck working for a jerky boss at a pet boutique, and dreading her soon-to-be-empty nest with only her beloved corgi for company. Worse still, her ex just got engaged. Doesn’t she deserve some romance, too? Or, at least a date for the Fur Ball. She’s always enjoyed the annual pet rescue gala, but this year her ex will be there with his fiancée. Meanwhile, Cara hasn’t met anyone — other than the irresistible dogs at the boutique’s adoption events. Cara is shocked when her wish to fall for a man as easily as she does for those mutts summons Vincent. His velour track suit, paunchy belly, and tough-guy accent don't exactly fit her childhood image of a fairy godfather. Not exactly on top of his game, he admits to being twenty-five years late.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very practical and sweet modern fairy tale.

  • By Staci D Black on 04-13-18

A light-hearted read filled with warmth and magic

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

Reviewed: 10-13-18

This story says it is loosely based on "Cinderella," and I agree that it is VERY LOOSELY based on the classic fairytale. I enjoyed this book much more than I did the fairytale version.

Why? Well, let's start with the main character, Cara. She is not a doe-eyed innocent. Cara is a grown woman, with a grown daughter who is about to go off to college. To top it off, she has also just gone through a divorce which hit her self-esteem pretty hard. But, like many women, she did not allow herself to wallow in despair, she just moved on with her life the best she could. Sometimes it takes an exceptional amount of courage just to put one foot in front of the other.

Cara may not think of herself as courageous, but that is how I saw her right from the beginning. As the story progresses, her actions, her attitudes and even her angst all solidified my belief in her courageous spirit.

The introduction of a magical fairy godfather was hilarious. The author nailed this character. From his physical appearance to the clothes he chooses to wear, Cara's Fairy Godfather is a hoot. And of course, Cara, like any other sane person,  reacts to his appearance and his pronouncement of his Fairy Godfather status by thinking he must be an escapee from an insane asylum.

Cara works in a pet store and has a beagle as well who plays a prominent role in the story. Then of course there's the hunky guy from Cara's past.

There are lots of laughs in this audiobook as well as lots of tender moments. In fact, this book will constantly put a smile on the listeners face. What more could you want?

I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I love dogs as much as the protagonist does, I am also around her age, and my kids have left home to go to college as well. So, suffice it to say that I very much relate to the book's central character.

This book is a great read, but I have to say that I firmly believe that narrator Aisling Gray's performance is so perfect that it makes listening to the audiobook preferable over reading the paperback or eBook version of "Stray Magic." I rate the narration as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I also rate the story as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I highly recommend this Audiobook to anyone who is in the mood for a light-hearted listening experience. I also recommend this audiobook to anyone and everyone who loves dogs.

*Thank you to Aisling Gray for providing me with a free copy of this audiobook. The fact that I received this audiobook free of charge has in no way impacted my review. I only review books and audiobooks 100% honestly and anyone sending me a book or audiobook agrees that my honest opinion will be posted - sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

To read more of my reviews, to enter giveaways and to find more great books and audiobooks, visit my blog at Amiesbookreviews dot WordPress dot com and follow me on Instagram at Amiesbookreviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Mourning Dove

  • By: Claire Fullerton
  • Narrated by: Claire Fullerton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

The heart has a home when it has an ally. If Millie Crossan doesn't know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, 18 months her senior, becomes Millie's guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie's 10th birthday. Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother's upbringing and vastly different from anything they've ever known. Here they are the outsiders. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Profoundly moving

  • By Hugh Sinclair on 07-31-18

Coming-of-age Historical Southern Fiction

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

Reviewed: 09-18-18

MOURNING DOVE is a work of Historical Fiction set in the American South. The version I read was an Audiobook narrated by the author.

Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton is a family saga. The book starts in the 1960s and follows the lives of Posey and her two children, Millie and Finley.

Posey grew up in Memphis, but left the South and lived in Minnesota. Returning to her childhood home is easy for Posey. She grew up immersed in the strange (at least it is strange if you did not grow up there) customs and lingo of Memphis. For her, it is like putting on a favorite dress that is pure comfort.

However, Millie and Finley do not fit in immediately. They find all the obscure social customs and rules bewildering at first. The children learn by watching their mother, but never really feel at home.

MOURNING DOVE draws the reader (or listener in my case) into a world of old, moneyed families during a time in American history when those things were considered of upmost importance to the elite of Memphis society.

The descriptions are exceedingly well written and readers are able to picture the time and place easily in their minds.

The author shows that no matter how much money or social status a family has, it will not insulate them completely from tragedy and misfortune.

I particularly liked the fact that the author did not shy away from the truth of the racism that was so abundant during the timeframe of this story.

This book is a coming-of-age story not only for the characters, but also for the nation. Anyone interested in Historic and/or Southern Fiction will enjoy this audiobook.

The narrator has the perfect accent for this audiobook and I give her full credit for increasing my enjoyment of this novel.

I rate MOURNING DOVE as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Claire Fullerton. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Mind Machines

  • Human++, Book 1
  • By: Dima Zales
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 118
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 110

At 35, Mike Cohen lives the American dream. With billions in the bank and his own venture capital firm, he's succeeded beyond his Russian immigrant mother's wildest hopes. The only problem? A car accident that leaves Mike's mother with memory problems. Brainocytes, a new technology developed by one of Mike's portfolio companies, may be the answer to his mother's injury - and offer applications that push the limits of the human mind. Only Mike isn't the only one who sees its potential.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An exciting book, filled in

  • By Amiesbookreviews on 04-13-18

An exciting book, filled in

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

Reviewed: 04-13-18

MIND MACHINES obviously used to be called something else. It was called something like "People Plus Plus" which is a terrible name. I much prefer the new title; Mind Machines."

The technology talked about in this book is already in development and I hope it becomes widely available in my lifetime.

Imagine
... Being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. You know it is a death sentence. BUT, HOLD ON, you just heard that the hospital closest to you has started using brainocites. Amazing. One injection and they go to work inside your brain, not only eliminating the tumor, but also boosting your intelligence and your energy levels.

Wouldn't that be amazing? No more people would need to die of cancer or other diseases, no more losing the person you love to the confusion of Alzheimer's Disease, no more people dying on the surgical table. There is NO DOUBT that these tiny robots are a modern miracle.

The problem is humans and humanity, or the lack thereof. New inventions often get appropriated by either the US Government, or by foreign powers who want to twist the miracle and to use it for nefarious purposes.

I loved this audiobook. The narrator had a great voice and was easily understandable. The pacing was as close to perfect as a person can get.

I rate this audiobook as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*"I received a free copy of this Audiobook from the Narrator.*

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Real Life Evil

  • A True Crime Quickie, Book 1
  • By: Kim Cresswell
  • Narrated by: Jason Fella
  • Length: 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12

Real Life Evil is the first book in a compelling series of true-crime short stories for listeners who don't have time for a full-length novel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Will we learn the lessons?

  • By Erryn Barratt on 08-20-18

Listeners will be fascinated and apalled equally.

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

Reviewed: 04-09-18

The details are in the subtitle. This is a True Crime Quickie. This Audiobook is only 52 minutes long and can easily be listened to during a person's commute to work or even on your lunch hour. Well...maybe not during your lunch hour since you might just lose your appetite.

There are two stories about serial killers contained in this audiobook, one I had never heard of before and one that I had.

The first story details the crimes of Jack Unterweger whose crimes took place in Europe during the time that everyone in North America was fixated on the OJ murder trial. This man, Jack Unterweger was a true sicko and listeners will be shocked at the failure of the justice system in his case. It is actually fascinating and well written.

The second serial killer highlighted in this audiobook is possibly scarier than the first one. Why? He (or she - but statistically probably a he) has never been caught. This is about the Gilgo Beach Murders, also known as the "Long Island Killer."

This audiobook will both fascinate and apal reads in equal measure. Be forewarned that this book is not for the faint of heart.

I rate this audiobook as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐. The book itself deserves a 5 Star rating, however, the reason I did not give this a five star rating has to do with the narration. It was good, but I believe it could have been better. When detailing the deaths of the women involved, the narrator's voice was flat. It did not seem to radiate the empathy one would expect to hear.

With that said, I do recommend this book to anyone interested in true crime and in serial killers in general.

*Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy of this Audiobook.*

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Blue Bell

  • By: Roma Gray
  • Narrated by: Terry F. Self
  • Length: 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 17

Jasper is having a very, very bad day. However, after he meets an unusual clown by the name of Blue Bell, he soon realizes his day is about to do something he never imagined possible - it’s about to get worse.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Starts of like Pulp Fiction and ends as Annabelle!

  • By Ray Johnson on 02-17-18

Creepy and completely absorbing. I loved it.

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

Reviewed: 04-01-18

This short audiobook only lasts for 23 minutes, yet those few minutes are enough to hook any listener.

Firstly, the clown, Bluebell, on the cover of this audiobook is enough to have potential readers freaked out even before the story begins.

Readers are introduced to Jasper, a regular guy. Someone normal. With normal problems. Out of desperation to help his ailing father, he does something he normally never would.

This leads (somehow) to him discovering a clown doll named BlueBell. This doll will change his life...forever.

It is a difficult task to create characters and a storyline that will
grab and hold a reader's attention in only 23 minutes, yet author Roma Gray accomplishes this with ease.

I did not want this story to end and am thrilled that the story continues with her full length novel HAUNTED HOUSE HARBOR.

Bluebell is narrated by Terry F. Self whose enunciation and pacing are perfect for this creepy tale.

I rate BLUEBELL as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Waiting for Aegina

  • The Gift Saga, Book 2
  • By: Effie Kammenou
  • Narrated by: Emily Lawrence
  • Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8

In 1961, five little girls moved into a suburban neighborhood and became inseparable, lifelong friends. They called themselves the Honey Hill Girls, named after the street on which they lived. As teenagers, they shared one another’s ambitions and dreams, secrets and heartaches. Now, more than 30 years later, they remain devoted and loyal, supporting each other through triumphs and sorrows. In Waiting for Aegina, the saga continues from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The story continues!

  • By Susan C-K on 03-06-18

A terrific story with perfect narration

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

Reviewed: 03-26-18

This book is the second in a series, however, it can easily be read as a standalone novel (which is exactly what I did.)

The author, Effie Kammenou, has created a story that is compelling, believable, and entertaining.

The character building is terrific and the storyline will hold a reader’s attention with ease.

Narrator Emily Lawrence proves that she is a professional Narrator with her flawless voice and her impeccable timing.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Audiobook and I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

**I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Effie Kammenou. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.**