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Shauna

Pasadena, CA, United States
  • 35
  • reviews
  • 264
  • helpful votes
  • 862
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  • The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell

  • A Novel
  • By: Robert Dugoni
  • Narrated by: Robert Dugoni
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,765
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,286
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,274

Sam Hill always saw the world through different eyes. Born with red pupils, he was called “Devil Boy” or Sam “Hell” by his classmates; “God’s will” is what his mother called his ocular albinism. Her words were of little comfort, but Sam persevered. Sam believed it was God who sent Ernie Cantwell, the only African American kid in his class, to be the friend he so desperately needed. And that it was God’s idea for Mickie Kennedy to storm into Our Lady of Mercy like a tornado, uprooting every rule Sam had been taught about boys and girls. Forty years later, Sam, a small-town eye doctor, is no longer certain anything was by design.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow..allow yourself to be submerged in this book

  • By Donna Smith McG on 05-18-18

Enriching story, highly recommended

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

Reviewed: 09-17-18

Sam Hell is about the life of Sam Hill from elementary school through his early forties. Sam was born with ocular albinism and as a result, has red eyes. Sam has two other worries: a dangerous bully named David Bateman, and the principal of his parish church who prevented his enrollment in a Catholic school because he is called Devil Boy. This prejudice is counterbalanced by Sam's friendship with Micki and Ernie and his love for his parents but, even as an adult, Sam's actions are influenced by his eye color.

The book is both heart-wrenching and heart-warming. The characters are engrossing.I thought about the story when I wasn't listening. The narrator was not from California where the story takes place. Some familiar words were mispronounced. Beyond that, he did a good job.

If you like "coming of age" stories, you will love The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.

  • Bring Me Back

  • A Novel
  • By: B. A. Paris
  • Narrated by: Kevin Hely, Cathleen McCarron
  • Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,602
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,498
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,495

Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone - never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Is something happening here?

  • By Cassandra on 06-27-18

Bring Me Back

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

Reviewed: 07-06-18

Bring Me Back is about a man who experiences the disappearance of his girlfriend but, years later, is lined up to marry again. Once the wedding is announced, the couple is subjected to some strange occurrences that pull the protagonist into his past.

The storyline has some ups and downs. In places, it was predictable. I stayed with the book because I liked the protagonist and wanted to see what would come of him. B A Paris excels at connecting the reader with the main characters. She kept the characters to a minimum in this book, making it very easy to follow. Because I was able to predict some behaviors, the book was less suspenseful than her other two.

I would put this book in the category of "light entertainment".

  • Still Me

  • A Novel
  • By: Jojo Moyes
  • Narrated by: Anna Acton
  • Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,479
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,088
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,071

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the super-rich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • better than 2, not quite as good as 1

  • By Dr. Mary Young on 02-02-18

Still Me Narrator Ruined it for me

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

Reviewed: 02-07-18

This is my third Jojo Moyes audiobook. I love the character Louisa, both for the way she is written and the way the narrator voices her. Unfortunately, Still Me is almost ruined by the narrator's other performances..

This book mixes people from London, New York, Krakow, and other cities. The narrator, Anna Acton, did a good job with all the accents except for the New York/US accents, especially the males. The way she portrayed them was grating, cringeworthy.

In other cases when I have been bothered by the narrator, I just hung in, eventually getting past it. As much as I like Jojo Moyes and the story, there was no hanging-in this time.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • IQ

  • By: Joe Ide
  • Narrated by: Sullivan Jones
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,429
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,071
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,052

A resident of one of LA's toughest neighborhoods uses his blistering intellect to solve the crimes the LAPD ignores. East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the neighborhood's high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, lost children unrecovered. But someone from the neighborhood has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the police can't or won't touch. They call him IQ. He's a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • IQ way better than OK

  • By green ice cream garden on 12-21-16

A New World -- Right Next Door to Me -- IQ

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

Reviewed: 11-16-17

Writers will tell you that creating a world and putting your reader in that world is what makes a book successful. IQ by Joe Ide did that for me. Thank you, Michael Connelly for recommending it. I've lived in Southern California all my life, just a few miles from where this book takes place, yet I was transported to another culture by the argot of Joe Ide. Joe Ide must have lived in SoCal, perhaps Compton, south central LA, or thereabouts to have captured that scene so well.

IQ is about a homeboy detective, Isaiah Quintabe, who evolved into the role out of grief and necessity. Of course, he is brilliant and strategic, sort of a Sherlock Holmes, but rather than in London, he lives inside the world of rap music and the beat of the neighborhoods that spawned it. IQ and every other character in this book come alive through Ide's pen. This is much more than a thriller. This book was so good it made me want to go back and adjust some of the five-star reviews I have given to other books.

Some people should not read IQ, especially if offended by street slang and four-letter words. For example, the N-word is used many times in this book, but I believe it is within the context of the story. The narrator is amazing and also handles the language well.

I am giving IQ five+ stars because of the brilliant writing of Joe Ide.

  • Shoe Dog

  • A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
  • By: Phil Knight
  • Narrated by: Norbert Leo Butz, Phil Knight - introduction
  • Length: 13 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 28,130
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 25,306
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 25,296

In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company's early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world's most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A must listen to book- It's the perfect biz memoir

  • By Brock on 06-02-16

Phil Knight and Shoe Dog

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

Reviewed: 10-31-17

This book is about the birth and nurturing of Nike into one of the world's most familiar brands. Phil Knight, Nike founder, is the author.

In the early 70's Phil Knight gathered a motley crew of employees and then, more or less, let them do their jobs. Building the Nike brand was not easy. The company started out as an importer of shoes called Tigers manufactured in Japan. Phil called his distribution company Blue Ribbon; The Japanese factory owner took advantage of Blue Ribbon, forcing Phil Knight and crew to go in another direction, hence the birth of Nike.

Phil Knight is a master storyteller. Shoe Dog reads like a thriller, with many plot twists. I don't recommend this book as a how-to on starting a company because Nike hung by a thread for the first several years of its existence. I do recommend this book for its life lessons. Phil lays out his mistakes and what he learned from them. He is an amazing man. I loved the book.

  • Behind Her Eyes

  • A Novel
  • By: Sarah Pinborough
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck, Josie Dunn, Bea Holland, and others
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,725
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,680
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12,683

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar, and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she's thrilled she finally connected with someone. When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar...who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can't keep his eyes off Louise.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • What the heck...

  • By Allyssa R. on 06-16-17

Mystery or fantasy?

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

Reviewed: 04-09-17

Behind her Eyes is well written and plausible to a point but the writer uses an unusual construct to advance the plot. I found that offputting.

The protagonist is an unassuming woman who goes to work as an assistant in a law firm. Just prior to starting this job she has an encounter with a man who she later discovers is her new boss. The boss is an enigma--warm enough to suck her into a relationship and then abandoning her. He's married to a very beautiful woman who befriends the new assistant. The story gets complicated from there as the love triangle plays out. A plot twist reveals that wife is omniscient thus allowing her to manipulate the assistant. That's when the plot broke down for me.

If you are good at suspending disbelief and you want a mystery with an element of fantasy, then go for it!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Adnan's Story

  • The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial
  • By: Rabia Chaudry
  • Narrated by: Rabia Chaudry
  • Length: 14 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5,262
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,814
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4,792

In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to life for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland. Syed has maintained his innocence, and Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, has always believed him. By 2013, contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life. In 2014, Koenig's investigation turned into Serial, a Peabody Award-winning podcast with more than 500 million international listeners. But Serial did not tell the whole story.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating. Heartbreaking. Informative.

  • By Angela on 08-11-16

Broadened my view of the criminal justice system

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

Reviewed: 01-01-17

Most of you know that Adnan was a 17 year old who was convicted and sentenced to life + 30 for the murder of former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. In 2017, Adnan will have lived 1/2 of his life behind bars.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is very well structured considering the writer, Rabia Chaudry, is not an author by profession. Rabia tells Adnan's story through his letters and her personal experiences as one of the few who stood by Adnan from the outset. Rabia also does a very good job as narrator.

The first part of the book is about Adnan's and Hae's life as high school students and lovers. It lays out the state's case against Adnan leading to his conviction, his first ten years in prison and the exhaustion of Adnan's appeals and retrial requests. .

Adnan's conviction is sealed and he is nearly forgotten until Sarah Koenig's NPR podcast Serial creates a tsunami of interest in the case. Here Adnan's Story takes a turn when Rabia and a few among the Serial crowd, work together to debunk the "evidence" against Adnan, most of which depends upon eyewitness testimony and corroborating cell phone data. That takes us to the present.

In the last part of the book, Rabia reveals what she sees as a conspiracy by a few Baltimore police detectives and the prosecutors who defeated Adnan. She presents an argument and data so compelling that you should not read this book if you want to believe the criminal justice system is usually fair and impartial. It certainly changed how I would analyze evidence if I were selected as a juror in a criminal trial.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • So You've Been Publicly Shamed

  • By: Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,480
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,029
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,999

From the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame. 'It's about the terror, isn't it?' 'The terror of what?' I said. 'The terror of being found out.' For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thank You To All Who Recommended This!

  • By Gretchen SLP on 08-26-16

Who's been shamed?

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

Reviewed: 08-22-15

This book was not what I expected it to be. I mistakenly believed that the title represented the contents, but no so!

I wanted to find out what to do if an average (and innocent) person was shamed via social media. By "you" I thought Mr. Ronson was referring to the readers. In fact, it was as much about people that Mr. Ronson had shamed as anything else.

It didn't make me understand why people have resumed the shaming culture. In fact, it made it sound like public shaming was justified.

After previously falling for the title "The History of Rock n Roll in Ten Songs" I guess I should have known better. Shame on me.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Gray Mountain

  • A Novel
  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Catherine Taber
  • Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,760
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6,014
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,022

The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer's career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track - until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the "lucky" associates. She's offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she'd get her old job back. In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Painful to listen to

  • By Toni on 10-24-14

About a woman, not a coal mine

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

Reviewed: 07-25-15

As compared to other Grisham novels, Gray Mountain didn't receive the highest reviews from readers. I believe that is because this book is a departure. The putative course of this novel would be a David v. Goliath struggle between the protagonist, an unpaid intern working in a poverty law center, and a major coal mining conglomerate. That's not it. This is a book about an ambivalent 29 year old woman, Samantha Kofer, who must conquer her own soul.

Gray Mountain is a place where strip mining has destroyed a natural landmark owned by the family of two of the leading characters: Dominick and Jeff. These two have devoted their lives to fighting "big coal". Samantha comes into the picture as the missing piece of the team that could win a big payoff for readers. She is torn between staying in Appalachia and returning to safe harbor in New York. The book is about Samantha's struggle.

If you want to read a book about the kinds of choices that lawyers make, this is a good book. If you want a typical Grisham, this is not your book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Gun Street Girl

  • Detective Sean Duffy, Book 4
  • By: Adrian McKinty
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,948
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,779
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,762

Belfast, 1985. Amid the Troubles, Detective Sean Duffy, a Catholic cop in the Protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary, struggles with burnout as he investigates a brutal double murder and suicide. Did Michael Kelly really shoot his parents at point-blank range and then jump off a nearby cliff? A suicide note points to this conclusion, but Duffy suspects even more sinister circumstances.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another McKinty Gem

  • By Top of Mind on 03-07-15

Gun Street Girl

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

Reviewed: 04-06-15

This is another great book in the Sean Duffy series by Adrian McKinty. Sean gets involved with a murder investigation of a prominent family of Northern Ireland. Sean, a Catholic, is in the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) which is predominantly Protestant. As in the previous books, the underlying story is about The Troubles between the Protestants and IRA during the 80s.

To understand the back story, it helps to have read the other Sean Duffy books. If you haven't, then become familiar with the RUC, the IRA, Sinn Fein, the Fenians, and other "tribes" of Northern Ireland. That way the back story will make more sense.

Adrian McKinty brings forth many insights about The Troubles and international politics in this book. He helped me understand Margaret Thatcher's attempts to back out of Northern Ireland without conceding any losses. He made me think more about Sinn Fein which ironically was a featured story on 60 Minutes on April 5, 2015, wherein Gerry Adams, who is referenced in Gun Street Girl, is now under investigation for murder.

Sean Duffy is a human and vulnerable character whom I believe most readers will relate to. He is bright and witty, but not the perfect protagonist as he delves into drugs and other excesses. Nevertheless, he is portrayed as a superior problem solver and strategist. I think readers will find in impressive and worth following.

I gave the narrator only 3 stars because his American accents grated on me. Perhaps it's because the Irish accents are so lovely in comparison. Simply, I am tired of hearing all Americans in these books sound as if they are from Boston. Not every American sound like JFK.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful