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  • Bird Box

  • A Novel
  • By: Josh Malerman
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,191
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,956
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,957

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, Malorie has long dreamed of fleeing to a place where her family might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: 20 miles downriver in a rowboat blindfolded with nothing to rely on but Malorie's wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don't look!

  • By Lesley on 05-22-14

More scary and less horror. AWESOME!

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

Reviewed: 09-30-15

4.5 stars!! So scary and creative.

I had this book on my radar for a while, but was unsure whether to actually read it because it’s mostly shelved as horror. Horror is not my cup of tea. This book was the exception to the rule. It was scary and intense, but not in an overly gory and bloody kind of way. It creeps up on you. It scares you with things you cannot see, unnerving sounds from unknown sources and many other details that go unanswered. There is something out in the world that drives people to kill themselves just upon seeing it. Those who are able to survive do so by covering up windows and keeping themselves blindfolded. This changes the survivors dramatically. Because even though they have learned to not look outside, they still have to keep their sanity in this new world.

What was very unsettling to me was that the main character, Malorie, has to do this with 2 young children. How does she raise children and keep on surviving when she is alone and has to be blindfolded much of the time? Not to mention that the children have to learn to keep their eyes closed when necessary. This book had some intense parts that made me gasp out loud. There were a few plot holes, but I was able to look over that because the story was so mesmerizing. I think what pushed the book over the edge for me into giving it 5 stars was that it had a very satisfying ending. A great finish to a book doesn’t come along too often. I hope this author publishes more books in the future.

I listened to this on audio and felt that the narrator, Cassandra Campbell, did a remarkable job in relaying the fear and emotion of the protagonist.

  • We Are Called to Rise

  • By: Laura McBride
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell, Kirby Heyborne, Madeleine Maby, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 469
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 423
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 427

In the predawn hours, a woman's marriage crumbles with a single confession. Across town, an immigrant family struggles to fit in and get by in the land of opportunity. Three thousand miles away, a soldier wakes up in Walter Reed hospital with the vague feeling that he’s done something awful. In a single moment, these disparate lives intersect. Faced with seemingly insurmountable loss, each person must decide whether to give in to despair, or to find the courage and resilience to rise.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Despair, Disaster & Disappointment Explored

  • By Sara on 06-29-15

Not great, but pretty good.

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

Reviewed: 09-06-15

This book started off so well that I actually thought it was going to better than it was. The first chapter fooled me, it was so juicy and interesting. It was probably the most entertaining start to a book I have read in a while and so I expected more. While the rest of the book was pretty good, maybe more of a 3.5 rounded up, there were parts I found boring. The story is told by 4 narrators: an immigrant boy, a soldier, a housewife and a social worker. I really liked hearing from Avis (housewife) and Bashkim (boy) and I understood the role of Luis (soldier), even though I didn’t enjoy his part as much. Roberta, the social worker, is the narrator I had a problem with. I felt like she wasn’t crucial enough to the story to have her own part. She wasn’t connected enough to any other character and that made me feel like she was an afterthought. Her part could have been relayed through the other characters.

Anyway, the story is about how interconnected we are as human beings. It is also about how being in the right or wrong place at a certain time can drastically change the events of one’s lives and how sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference. This story had sadness, but it also showed the good in people and how one person can make a big difference in another person’s life. I wanted to know more in the end. I wanted to know more about what was going to happen to these people, but the story ended to quickly for me. It had a concrete ending, but just not enough details to make me feel like it was complete. Like other reviewers, I found the setting of Las Vegas to be an interesting choice and enjoyed seeing a different side of Vegas, one where people actually live and get by.

Overall, I thought it was a good read/listen. The audio narration in the book was mostly good. 3 of the 4 narrators were easy to listen to. I didn’t enjoy the voice of Madeleine Maby (Roberta’s part), but she wasn’t terrible either.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 10% Happier

  • How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works
  • By: Dan Harris
  • Narrated by: Dan Harris
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,657
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,911
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,844

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Inspired me to restart my meditation practice

  • By Julie W. Capell on 12-07-16
  • 10% Happier
  • How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works
  • By: Dan Harris
  • Narrated by: Dan Harris

Interesting memoir about finding meditation.

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

Reviewed: 06-16-15

This book is not a self-help book, it is Harris's memoir of how he found mindfulness and meditation. I found the cynical-ness of Harris to be helpful, he isn't spiritual and doesn't conform at all to the image we have of meditators. I have been meditating for 7 months. This book reminded me of why I do it and the blunt nature of Harris was something that I could relate to. I found the first couple of hours to be a bit boring, but it was the background to the reason why he started meditating and so I guess it was important. However, once he started talking about mindfulness, meditating and the "gurus" behind it, he had my interest piqued. I had a few chuckles and a few a-ha moments. When I am adhering to my meditation practice and being more mindful, I too feel 10% happier and more in control of my thoughts aka "monkey mind".

  • California

  • A Novel
  • By: Edan Lepucki
  • Narrated by: Emma Galvin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 380
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 338
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 340

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable despite the isolation and hardships they face. Consumed by fear of the future and mourning for a past they can't reclaim, they seek comfort and solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not Worth the Colbert Bump

  • By Scooter on 07-25-14

Read "The Road" instead.

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

Reviewed: 11-08-14

I really wanted this book to be so good. I think I fell for the pretty cover and the fact that it’s a genre I am known to love. BUT, the book really was lacking in details about the plot and the characters were rough around the edges, not as refined as they could have been. Also, this book had about the worst narrator that I have listened to in over 35 books. When a narrator is good, it enhances the book and when the narrator is bad… well you get the picture. She sounded too young and had terrible inflection. She also paused too much. If you decide to read this book, do just that, read it and don’t listen to it.

The plot had a good premise. I liked the way that L.A. and the rest of the country disintegrated due to weather extremes, energy depletion and sickness. Gas was too expensive for everyday use and medicine and food became hard to get. Frida lost her job and people could not rely on the normal means to stay safe and secure. The rich communities were able to close themselves in and the rest of society had to fend for themselves. Cal and Frida decide to go out into the wilderness and try their luck at surviving. This works… until it doesn’t. They find themselves a shack to live in and later find people nearby to befriend, but their luck soon goes south. Frida becomes pregnant and her and Cal decide to see what’s beyond where they live. They find a community that has more secrets than the secrets that Cal and Frida keep from each other.

Frida’s character was very mousey and both Cal and Frida were emotionally inward. They didn’t communicate with each other. They never seemed to be on the same page. This didn’t seem to work in the community when they were so unsure of their future and whether the community would agree to keep them. There were many details that seemed too quirky for me (i.e. the turkey baster and the color red) and this made the book awkward. There were also many characters that were unlikable and others that weren’t developed enough. The ending was somewhat abrupt and I felt like both Frida and Cal resigned to their fates. I could have used more information here. Maybe 5 more pages to explain what was going on. The ending, even though it was interesting, was kind of a let down in my opinion.

The best part about this book for me was that it got me thinking a lot about what I would do in a scenario of society’s breakdown and what exactly might lead to this.

  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

  • By: Truman Capote
  • Narrated by: Michael C. Hall
  • Length: 2 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,155
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,619
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,617

Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall ( Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "Better to look at the sky than live there"

  • By W Perry Hall on 02-12-14

Great short classic. Superb narration.

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

Reviewed: 09-11-14

I don’t know what I expected from this book, but it was very different than I had imagined it to be. I’ve never seen the movie, so I went into the book knowing the bare bones from the description. It’s a good thing this was on sale or I may not have found myself hypnotized by the narration of Michael C. Hall or the literary genius of Truman Capote. Also, this book is so short that even if you dislike the book, not much time is wasted.

The narrator, Holly’s man neighbor who is a writer, finds himself in a sort of friendship with Holly (the main character). We get to see Holly’s life from the neighbor’s point of view and it is an interesting point of view. She is a socialite, a party girl and the neighbor hears the parties and even gets to attend one. For how young Holly is (18 or 19?), she seems to be very intelligent, albeit shallow, and this comes across in the way she speaks. At times I couldn’t quite picture a young girl like this coming across with so much wisdom at times, but it was easy for me to forgive Capote because the book was written so well. Holly also seems very lost and doesn’t seem to comprehend consequences at times and this was spot on for a girl her age. Holly thinks she knows how to find what she is looking for… thinks she knows how to find that place you call home. The narrator who is sometimes called “Fred” (even though that’s not his real name) is a likable personality and I cared about what happened to him, but mostly I cared about what happened to Holly. There were surprise twists to the story that added drama and I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything for other readers, but this classic is worth a listen in my opinion. I got lost in the story and narration. Michael C. Hall was just that good and I hope he narrates a few more books.

On a side note, I guess Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to be cast as Holly in the movie and I think maybe he was right. The persona of Marilyn seems to fit the character of Holly more than Audrey Hepburn.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Big Little Lies

  • By: Liane Moriarty
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43,580
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39,150
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39,074

Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Oh, Calamity!

  • By L. O. Pardue on 10-07-14

almost as good as "The Husband's Secret"

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

Reviewed: 09-09-14

Liane Moriarty has written another fun and dramatic book following "The Husband’s Secret" that is easy to get sucked into. The thing I have found about Moriarty is that she can write chick-lit that isn’t too light or cheesy and still has thrills in the drama that keeps the reader guessing. She also is really good at creating believable, flawed characters that are endearing. This book reminded me of “The Husband’s Secret” in the sense that their are 3 main characters who are women and big secrets that slowly unfold. The story is told through each of the 3 women’s narratives who are all kindergarten mothers. This book contains mystery as well as secrets because the reader learns in the beginning that the Pirriwee’s school trivia night has ended with one parent dead. (And that’s what I like about these books… is that even though the characters seem believable, something over the top and sometimes ridiculous happens to keep the plot juicy and entertaining.) I was second guessing myself on who I thought was murdered the whole way throughout the story. The murder is a big part of the story, but the secrets and details of the character’s lives also play a huge role in the book. At the end of each chapter there are gossipy tidbits and opinions from the police investigation that come from lesser known characters adding some humor to the book. The narrator, Caroline Lee, is awesome in this book, her accent is great and so is her ability to switch characters voices. I feel like the story combined with the narration drew a variety of emotions from me.

I hope there is another Liane Moriarty book in the works because she is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • 600 Hours of Edward

  • By: Craig Lancaster
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,546
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,301
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,300

A 39-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Edward Stanton lives alone on a rigid schedule in the Montana town where he grew up. His carefully constructed routine includes tracking his most common waking time (7:38 a.m.), refusing to start his therapy sessions even a minute before the appointed hour (10:00 a.m.), and watching one episode of the 1960s cop show Dragnet each night (10:00 p.m.). But when a single mother and her nine-year-old son move in across the street, Edward’s timetable comes undone....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Very Good Book with a Very Difficult Hero

  • By Lulu on 08-27-12

"The Rosie Project" was much more fun.

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

Reviewed: 08-04-14

This book is written in the same vein as the newer, more popular novel, “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion. The main character, Edward Stanton, is 39 with OCD and Asperger’s syndrome. Edward’s personality comes through by way of his routines and the facts that matter to him, like recording the weather, watching re-runs of Dragnet everyday, painting his garage and being a Dallas Cowboy fan. After about 4 hours of this, I have to admit I was kind of bored. Things happen to Edward in this 600 hours that are out of the norm for him. For instance, he tries online dating which was amusing and tries to make friends with his neighbors which is good for him, but also incurs lots of drama that Edward isn’t mentally prepared for. Edward also has to deal with his father, who is less than sensitive to Edward’s plight. These situations added depth to the book, but didn’t save the story for me. The narrator was very robotic sounding which was probably a correct choice for the role, but was tiring to listen to by the end of 7+ hours. If you want to read a funny novel about a 39 year old man with Asperger’s syndrome, I would opt instead for “The Rosie Project” which was much more charming and heartfelt in my opinion.

  • One Plus One

  • A Novel
  • By: Jojo Moyes
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Bower, Ben Elliot, Nicola Stanton, and others
  • Length: 12 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,030
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,324
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,311

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math-whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can't afford to pay for. That's Jess' life in a nutshell - until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess' knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages...maybe ever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sometimes I need a book that is just fun to read.

  • By Kathy on 07-05-14

Fun and Charming Chick Lit

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

Reviewed: 07-29-14

As far as chick lit paired with romance goes, this is one of the better ones I have read/listened to. As other reviewers have said, “this book is fun,” and it is definitely that. I liked how the book brought more characters into the story rather than just focusing on the girl and the guy. For a light read, there was character development to be had for each of the main characters. Jojo Moyes seems to be really good at creating interesting personalities in her books. Maybe it was a bit of an extravagance to have 4 narrators, but I liked listening to them all, especially because the narration switched between 4 points of view anyway. The narrator for the young girl, Tanzie (I’m not sure which female narrator she is), was really good at relaying her unique and quirky disposition and was the most easy on the ears of the 4 readers. It is probably not a good idea to go into this with high expectations. This is not another “Me Before You” or “The Girl You Left Behind”, “One Plus One” doesn’t have the serious dilemmas that those other books deal with. It is much lighter fare that is easy to focus on and is charming to boot. Oh, and it gets bonus points from me for being British, it just makes it so much more fun to listen to.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Beautiful Ruins

  • By: Jess Walter
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 12 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10,851
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,570
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,564

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • My mind wandered

  • By Ella on 11-25-12

bit of a mixed bag

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

Reviewed: 07-09-14

This book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. On one hand I loved the 1962 story set in the Italian cliff side village with Pasquale and Dee Moray and felt that the book could have stood on this story alone. Walter set up the italian atmosphere so beautifully and the narrator was amazing at relaying this. I got a little bored at times with the present day (well 2008) Hollywood story and the story of Pat’s life and I was always waiting for the story to switch back to the Italian cliffside. I kind of felt like the author stuffed too many “important” characters and time periods into an average sized book for it too really be balanced. With those complaints said, I loved the italian story enough to keep listening and did give the book 4 stars. The are many reviewers gushing over Edoardo Ballerini and I agree with them that he was awesome with his italian accent, but thought that he was just average on the “american” parts of the story.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Elizabeth Is Missing

  • By: Emma Healey
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 510
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 462
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 468

In this darkly riveting debut novel - a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging - an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Can't wait to see what she does next!

  • By Bonny on 01-14-15

A contemporary mystery for non-mystery lovers.

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

Reviewed: 07-09-14

This was an interesting mystery. It is interesting because the investigation is pursued by Maud, an 82-year-old British woman suffering from advanced dementia. Poor Maud. She is confused and sometimes she knows why, but mostly she is just confused. Maud insists to her daughter, Helen, and everyone around her that her friend, Elizabeth, is missing. As one could guess, Maud’s search runs her around in circles and involves many written notes to herself. It also finds her in precarious situations that are maybe a bit dangerous for her. At the same time, another story is being told of Maud’s older sister, Sukey, who goes missing when Maud is a girl. The book switches back and forth between Maud searching for Elizabeth and Maud recounting the story of the search for Sukey. There is entertainment and heartbreak to be had in watching Maud untangle the web of Elizabeth’s disappearance and in watching Sukey’s story unfold. It was quite interesting to see the author’s perspective on what may be going on in the mind of one who has severe memory loss. I don’t know if the author got it right, but what she delivered was very believable. As the book progresses, so does Maud’s memory loss and sometimes she was able to glimpse this decline. To me, those were interesting moments. As a reader, I felt the pain and frustration of Helen, Maud’s daughter, in dealing with the physical and emotional care of Maud. Maud could be a bit frustrating at times because she was always repeating herself, but I fell in love with her anyway because of her determination to find Elizabeth and because of her pain in losing Sukey and all those emotions that go along with that. I have to admit that I was more captivated in finding out what happened to Sukey than Elizabeth, but I was also second guessing myself on the “whodunit” and the “what happened” the whole way through the book. This is not a fast paced read. It is entertaining, but not action packed. I know this sounds weird, but I think this is a mystery that non-mystery fans will appreciate more than mystery fans themselves. The narrator was spot on for this role. She related a good young Maud and a good old Maud.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful