LISTENER

NMwritergal

Albuquerque, NM
  • 206
  • reviews
  • 1,478
  • helpful votes
  • 951
  • ratings
  • Blue Dreams

  • By: Lauren Slater
  • Narrated by: Betsy Foldes Meiman
  • Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 123
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 111
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 112

Blue Dreams offers the explosive story of the discovery, invention, people, and science behind our licensed narcotics, as told by a riveting writer and psychologist who shares her own intimate experience with the highs and lows of psychiatry's drugs. Lauren Slater's account ranges from the earliest, Thorazine and lithium, up through Prozac and other antidepressants, as well as Ecstasy, "magic mushrooms", the most cutting-edge memory drugs, and even neural implants. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sobering

  • By Laura J on 06-01-18

If it were fiction she'd be an unreliable narrator

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

Reviewed: 11-11-18

The author has been on pysch meds for 40 years and says they've destroyed her health, yet she keeps piling them on and trying new ones. But the most disturbing part is when she's interviewing a man who's conducting one of the only legal studies on MDMA (Ecstasy) if he'd give her two pills so she and her husband can take them together to save their marriage. Wow. Bad judgment and boundaries. She's asking this man to risk his career and really? One dose is going to save their marriage? He says no because she's taking an SSRI (bet that easy out was a relief). But she goes to a therapist and tries to convince her to give her Ecstasy. The therapist won't. Yet the author won't get it from the street? Seriously? She's taking/has taken everything under the sun. She's worried about illegal Ecstasy? So she doesn't get any and remains convinced that even though she and her husband are now divorced that one day they'll take it together and hopefully get back together.

The author's writing was excellent and it seems like her research at least seemed sound, but I had a hard time trusting what she said. I'm just not sure someone who worships at the alter of any available drug is someone I can trust.

  • Things Left Unsaid

  • By: Courtney Walsh
  • Narrated by: Jess Nahikian
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best - and worst - memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Christian fiction NOT contemporary fiction

  • By NMwritergal on 10-31-18

Christian fiction NOT contemporary fiction

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

Reviewed: 10-31-18

My pet peeve is miscategorizing books. Most notably calling romance or Christian fiction "contemporary fiction," two categories I can't stand.

I think the only thing the author does well is wait a few chapters before laying on the Christian stuff. Alas, 3 pastors (one the head of a mega church with 25,000 members), a "bad boy" who goes to church and is a member of a "worship team" (no idea what that is, and it's not explained), and a THERAPIST who has "lost her faith" but used to tell her clients to read the bible and pray, qualifies as Christian fiction. It also qualifies the author as...clueless. I guess you don't need a Masters degree to be a therapist. I guess you can just impose your religious views on others. Sure, great idea.

I ended up "hate reading" (or "hate listening") this book, though after the first few hours I dozed through about half of this interminable story of people who hate themselves for their perceived wrongs. All the internal dialogue and thoughts of self-loathing were a bit much. And everyone seemed to have the mental maturity of teenagers, which added to the one-note quality of the story.

Just as bad: the audio narrator. While she had a very nice voice and performed the two 28-yr-old women's voices well, the other voices (especially the male voices) we about as atrocious as I've ever heard, and this narrator will go on my "never again" list. It could also be used as an example of what not to do as an audio performer.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Steelheart

  • The Reckoners, Book 1
  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,129
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,010
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,054

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • He got the idea from a near traffic accident

  • By Don Gilbert on 09-26-13

All action and little character development

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

Reviewed: 10-20-18

Interesting premise but an annoying main character (18-yr-old BOY--very immature) who is obsessed with another female character a couple of years older to the point of silliness. They are constantly in danger of being killed and he's staring at her breasts, thinking about her hair, etc. Also It's just one action scene after another.

  • Never Stop Walking

  • A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World
  • By: Christina Rickardsson, Tara F. Chace - translator
  • Narrated by: Siiri Scott
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 87

Christiana Mara Coelho was born into extreme poverty in Brazil. After spending the first seven years of her life with her loving mother in the forest caves outside São Paulo and then on the city streets, where they begged for food, she and her younger brother were suddenly put up for adoption. When one door closed on the only life Christiana had ever known, a new one opened. As Christina Rickardsson, she’s raised by caring adoptive parents in Sweden, far from the despairing favelas of her childhood. Accomplished and outwardly “normal”, Christina is also filled with rage over what she’s lost....

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A Vent

  • By Susan on 06-30-18

Interesting story but the writing (or translation)

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

Reviewed: 10-18-18

...doesn't even rise to the level of "adequate."

I don't like to read books in translation because you never know if the translation improved the writing or made it worse. The writing in Rickardsson's book is so very basic I'm not sure how it got published. There's lots of telling (and very little showing), not an unusual sentence in sight, no interesting metaphors, similes, description, etc. The audio narrator valiantly tried to enhance the story by infusing some emotion into it but alas...

I'm not sure why I kept listening other than the fact that I lived in São Paulo for six months while the author was a child on the streets there--and it was free with KU. So I listened to most of it with half an ear.

  • Boom Town

  • The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, its Chaotic Founding... its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis
  • By: Sam Anderson
  • Narrated by: Sam Anderson
  • Length: 14 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 115
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 106
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 106

Oklahoma City was born from chaos. It was founded in a bizarre but momentous "Land Run" in 1889, when thousands of people lined up along the borders of Oklahoma Territory and rushed in at noon to stake their claims. Since then, it has been a city torn between the wild energy that drives its outsize ambitions and the forces of order that seek sustainable progress.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • OKC’s Past & Present Weaved Together

  • By dan on 09-09-18
  • Boom Town
  • The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, its Chaotic Founding... its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis
  • By: Sam Anderson
  • Narrated by: Sam Anderson

What? This is listed under Sports > Basketball??

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

Reviewed: 09-23-18

If I had actually seen how this was listed, I never in a million years would have listened to it. I heard the author on NPR and it sounded interesting, so I got it. Yes, there is basketball (surprisingly interesting), but there's so much more. Anderson is not only an excellent (and very creative) writer, but his narration was equally good.

It was quite a feat to weave all of these threads from the founding of OKC to the present day. Sometimes I did find myself wanting to stay with a particular timeline or story, but nope--we were blown ever onward like the relentless Oklahoma wind. The structure mirrors the story. In the end, I felt satisfied with how each story line with each "character" wraps up.

And now I'm going to see if Anderson has anything else on audio...

  • Hotel Sacher

  • A Novel
  • By: Rodica Doehnert, Alison Layland - translation
  • Narrated by: Siiri Scott
  • Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 42

Vienna, 1892. Against all odds, at the height of Belle Époque splendor, Anna Sacher has taken possession of her late husband’s hotel, across the street from the famous opera house. At a time when controlling such a business was an opportunity afforded only to men, Anna is as vigilant as she is relentless. Now, under her ownership, the Hotel Sacher thrives amid the tumult of a changing continent, even as intrigue follows in the shadows. 

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Gave up after 2 hours

  • By NMwritergal on 09-23-18

Gave up after 2 hours

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

Reviewed: 09-23-18

I rarely read books in translation because you never really know if you loved or hated it because of the translator. This one started off well enough but got progressively more ridiculous and fractured. There were far too many story lines (some absurd) and after a couple of hours I didn't feel like I knew any of the characters at all. They were all completely one dimensional and said and did things that were just...off. So was this a badly written book made worse by the translation? Who can say? But I did not care one iota what happened to any of these cardboard characters.

  • The Personality Brokers

  • The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing
  • By: Merve Emre
  • Narrated by: Ellen Archer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 31

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most popular personality test in the world. It is used regularly by Fortune 500 companies, universities, hospitals, churches, and the military. Its language of personality types - extraversion and introversion, sensing and intuiting, thinking and feeling, judging and perceiving - has inspired television shows, Online dating platforms, and Buzzfeed quizzes. Yet despite the test's widespread adoption, experts in the field of psychometric testing, a $2 billion industry, have struggled to validate its results - no less account for its success.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved Myers-Briggs Already - Wonderful Backstory

  • By My Best Life Ever on 09-15-18

INTJ says...

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

Reviewed: 09-19-18

Oh, how sad to know that the Meyers-Briggs was invented by a religious nut case and her equally crazy daughter.

When I took the test when I was 17, it changed my life. I wasn't a circus freak! It's just that I was one percent of the population. It described me so well. And it hasn't changed over all these decades.

I'm not sure what to make of test now, considering all I learned in this book, which was really quite interesting and detailed.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Nell and Lady

  • A Novel
  • By: Ashley Farley
  • Narrated by: Shannon McManus
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81

In her grand home in Charleston, Willa Bellemore raised two girls during the tumultuous 1970s. One was her daughter, Lady. The other was Lady’s best friend, Nell - adopted after the sudden, heartbreaking death of her mother, the Bellemores’ beloved maid. Willa showered Nell with love and support, all the while ignoring the disdainful whispers of her neighbors. After all, they were family. Nell and Lady were sisters at heart - sisters who vowed to never let anything come between them. Then, on the night of Lady’s sixteenth birthday, something went terribly wrong.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Good premise poorly executed

  • By NMwritergal on 09-19-18

Good premise poorly executed

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

Reviewed: 09-19-18

1. Bad dialogue--very stilted or unnatural.
2. Black woman hates all white people because of one terrible thing that happened when she was a teenager. Hmmm. Nothing else contributed to her feelings? When she tells her teenaged son about this incident he responds pompously that he doesn't see color/race (or something to that effect). Really? Is there a minority group alive (race, religion, sex, body type, disability) that hasn't experienced some kind of discrimination, micro aggression, bullying, nasty comments, etc.? So this boy growing up in the south lectures his mom about her racism because he has never experience ANY? And I didn't buy the one bad experience makes her hate all white people. And it's a white woman writing this, which made me rather uncomfortable.
3. Bad boundaries: Your kid is not your contemporary and you shouldn't be telling your kid some things that the mother tells her kid. But this isn't even presented as bad boundaries.

I'm sure a different author could have made the premise of this book work, but not this one. This goes in the return category.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Masterpiece

  • A Novel
  • By: Fiona Davis
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 210
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 196
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 196

For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different. For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future. It is 1928, and 25-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public's disdain for a "woman artist". Nearly 50 years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay's life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If you want a novel that has everything...

  • By Debra Jo on 09-10-18

Excellent historical details!

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

Reviewed: 08-19-18

I keep listening to Davis' books as they come out on audio, despite my "it's ok, 2-star ratings" because of the detailed history of these various landmark buildings, which she writes about so very well. The storyline is always interesting, and I keep listening. I'm not sure why I always land on two stars. I suppose for some reason I never quite emotionally connect with the main characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Girl's Guide to Missiles

  • Growing Up in America's Secret Desert
  • By: Karen Piper
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

The China Lake missile range is located in a huge stretch of the Mojave Desert, about the size of the state of Delaware. It was created during the Second World War, and has always been shrouded in secrecy. But people who make missiles and other weapons are regular working people, with domestic routines and everyday dilemmas, and four of them were Karen Piper's parents, her sister, and - when she needed summer jobs - herself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It's about more than China Lake!

  • By gary shumway on 08-19-18

DNF on chapter 10 when Piper is 10

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

Reviewed: 08-15-18

The synopsis is misleading. I only made it to chapter 10 because the memoir can basically be characterized as yet another well-written novel about a women raised by crazy Christians. Of course she believes it too and seems to be even more out there than her parents. At age 10 she decides to go to a religious school and her parents and sister go along because she is the "baby boss" of the house. I found the author rather unlikable in the first place and the "baby boss" bit was sort of the final straw in a pretty boring narrative. I guess I'm tired of reading about religious fanatics. Their nonsensical beliefs used to fascinate me in that "looking at a car crash" kind of way, but in the world we live in today, I suppose I don't want to be reminded about how deluded people can be and what damage the delusional can wreak on others.

I have to guess she regains her sanity at some point since she wrote the book and the historical bits were interesting, but I just couldn't hang in there.

9 of 16 people found this review helpful