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  • When Never Comes

  • By: Barbara Davis
  • Narrated by: Shannon McManus
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 754
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 635
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 632

 As a teenage runaway and child of an addict, Christy-Lynn learned the hard way that no address was permanent, and no promise sacred. For a while, she found a safe haven in her marriage to bestselling crime novelist Stephen Ludlow - until his car skidded into Echo Bay. But Stephen’s wasn’t the only body pulled from the icy waters that night. When details about a mysterious violet-eyed blonde become public, a media circus ensues, and Christy-Lynn runs again. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it!

  • By K. A on 06-25-18

Somewhat predictable and cliche but a nice story

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

Reviewed: 07-22-18

The thing I like most about this book is the title. At first I thought that "when" was the subject.. Like saying when never comes like happiness never comes. But the story deals more with what we tell ourselves and therefore what we believe to be true. I will never be or do this. So we give up. But by doing that, we rob ourselves of opportunities that can bring us joy, simply by claiming that word, never.

This is a story of hope and forgiveness and the "never" that finally does come through Christy-Lynn's wrestling of her own demons of her past and the forgiveness she needs to offer herself.

The audio version started off slow, but I gave it time and the story was worth listening to. It's a clean read with some sad stories within but there is redemption, forgiveness, completion, and joy in the end.

  • The Truthful Story

  • By: Helen Stine
  • Narrated by: Jenna Lamia
  • Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 105
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 97

When 10-year-old Genevieve Donovan's Nannie dies mysteriously in the Lowcountry river she's loved and lived near all her life, Genny and her family are heartbroken. In 1960s South Carolina, new industry is encroaching on old country, and Genny fears her grandmother may have gotten in the way of so-called progress. Even Daduh, Nannie's dearest friend and longtime housekeeper, doesn't know what to make of Nannie's death. Was it an accident, or did the drunkard son of a local businessman play a role?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow!

  • By Chris on 10-24-16

Narration better than the story

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

Reviewed: 06-16-18

One of the most difficult things for an author of a coming-of-age story to do is to write the story in adult voice-as one looking back-so that it doesn't sound like a middle grade or young adult book. Most of the first part of A Truthful Story sounded like the latter. If not for Jenna Lammia, I wouldn't have finished the book. If I had read the book instead of choosing the audio version, I know I wouldn't have finished. There were too many back stories within the story, and I found myself getting confused. Lots of telling and describing and I just wanted the story to happen and it dragged. Too many characters that didn't seem to move the story forward and and anticlimactic ending caused me to give the story two stars. I was hoping for more of a mystery revolving around Nanny's death, but it was solved too soon. I felt that was the climax, but the book went on and on.

That said, there were some nice stories within the story, and overall, the book was well written, but nothing really happened. Just some nice stories.

Jenna Lammia makes every book come alive, and with her narration, I kept going, enjoying some of the memories of growing up in the 60s, and hearing stories about the low country.

Overall, I was entertained, but a little disappointed.

  • The Home for Unwanted Girls

  • By: Joanna Goodman
  • Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 320
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 288
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285

In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility - much like Maggie Hughes' parents. Maggie's English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don't include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie's heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at 15, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption and get her life "back on track".

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sad story

  • By Claudia D. Nichol on 05-01-18

Great Narration, Predictable Story

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

Reviewed: 05-16-18

Well written. Well narrated. Well researched, I imagine. But it was just mediocre. At times I felt it dragged, especially in the beginning. Other times I felt too many years were skipped. I was disappointed that the author didn't allow Elodie to find the boy who went off to Vietnam (don't want to spoil anything). But then again, maybe she was fine not knowing...

All in all, the story wasn't bad---a nice story about forgiveness and redemption.

  • Educated

  • A Memoir
  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 15,250
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13,915
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 13,845

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exceptional

  • By Haley on 05-27-18

Stunningly raw and authentic

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

Reviewed: 04-06-18

I can't say I "enjoyed" listening to Educated because at times it was extremely difficult to hear. So many scenes were filled with memories of abuse and raw emotion that I often grimaced, gasped, and found myself shaking my head in disbelief. I'm not sure I've ever reacted to a book in this manner. I felt like I was there with her, this little lost girl who was powerless to save herself. I wanted to jump in and say, "Stop!" Or I kept expecting someone to change their minds and rescue her, as in a novel. But this is not a work of fiction. However, like any good fiction, there is a heroine and she does overcome.

The story of Tara Westover's upbringing in a fundamentalist Mormon home that didn't value education is a chilling one. At 17, Tara goes to college and on to receive her Ph.D. Sounds nice and neat, but her story is anything but. She is honest and open and vulnerable as she recounts the story of how she got to that point, and how her leaving and getting an education was looked at as a betrayal to her own family.

Her story is one of abuse and triumph, sadness and joy, wellness and mental illness, betrayal and devotion. Through it all, this young woman still desires to make it right with her family. To fix it. And when she can't, she decides to pursue the path that is healthy for her.

This is one of the best memoirs I've ever read (listened to). The narration was great, other than all the male voices sounding the same. But it's hard for a woman to get that right without sounding like she's acting, which would draw the attention away from the story...so I'll give her that one. Julia Whelan has a pleasant voice that draws you right into the story.

Highly, HIGHLY recommend!

  • The Dog Who Was There

  • By: Ron Marasco
  • Narrated by: Ron Marasco
  • Length: 5 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 76

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first-century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley's eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we've never experienced before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A story of love, forgiveness and hope beautifully told

  • By Jocelyn Chandler on 06-19-17

Sappy and childish

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

Reviewed: 01-11-18

I hate to write poor reviews, but I have to be honest. I listened for a few chapters and had to quit. I felt like I was listening to a children's book. Told from a puppy's point of view just didn't work for me, as an adult. I think it would be best if it was marketed to a younger audience. Writing from an animal's POV is difficult, but from a puppy POV is even harder.It's like writing a coming-of-age book from the adult POV, but keeping it believable as a child. It's tricky, and I don't think Marasco quite pulled it off. At least, not in the beginning, which is where the hook is necessary. And the beginning dragged, so I lost interest. I'm surprised at and disappointed in Thomas Nelson, the biggest Christian book publisher out there.

Also, sometimes the author should just remain the author. While his narration wasn't bad, it wasn't great. A professional narrator might have been able to give it a better life.

I'm sure Ron Marasco is an excellent writer, but this book was a waste of my money.

  • The Missing

  • By: Caroline Eriksson, Tiina Nunnally - translator
  • Narrated by: Tanya Eby
  • Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 146
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 129

An ordinary outing takes Greta, Alex, and four-year-old Smilla across Sweden's mythical Lake Malice to a tiny, isolated island. While father and daughter tramp into the trees, Greta stays behind in the boat, lulled into a reverie by the misty, moody lake...only later to discover that the two haven't returned. Her frantic search proves futile. They've disappeared without a trace.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • B o r I n g

  • By Virginia Drake on 01-02-17

Tedious

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

Reviewed: 10-10-17

As a writer, I hate to give poor reviews. However, I feel I have to be honest. This book sounded like a great story of suspense. I gave it an hour, hoping it would get better, but I found myself becoming annoyed at the lack of dialogue, description and general stupidity of the main character...the only character, really. It wasn't believable--no mother would just leave and then go back to the cabin and answer a call from her mother who she apparently hates, and not even tell the caller about her dilemma. As a mother, I'd be frantic, screaming, asking anyone for help. And the name of the lake--Lake Malice? Who'd go there for vacation?

I read/listen to books to relax and become immersed in another world, but this was one world I was glad I could escape. No dialogue was introduced until chapter 5 (?)-almost an hour in. Greta (whose name we don't even know until she has a flashback of meeting her husband--and that dialogue was about 2 lines) is in her head the whole time. Never says anything out loud. Never cries out the daughter's name (which, by the way, I couldn't get past it sounded like Smell--it's Smilla). I kept shouting at my car radio, "Why don't you call the police?"

I wish I'd read the reviews before I spent my time and money on something that could have been more polished. A rewrite with a good editor may redeem the novel. Sorry, I wouldn't recommend.

  • Wish Me Home

  • By: Kay Bratt
  • Narrated by: Kate Rudd
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 958
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 840
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 834

A hungry, stray dog is the last thing Cara Butter needs. Stranded in Georgia with only her backpack and a few dwindling dollars, she already has too much baggage. Like her twin sister, Hana, who has broken Cara's heart one too many times. After a lifetime of family troubles, and bouncing from one foster home to another, Cara decides to leave it all behind and strike out alone - on foot.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'm so thankful for a good, positive, clean story.

  • By Christi on 06-18-17

Too long

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

Reviewed: 09-22-17

The premise of the story intrigued me... A girl walks to Key West with a dog. At first, the story moved along well. But I wanted her to stay in each place she stopped. Some great characters were introduced only to be abandoned just when they were developing. Then, when she finally got to Key West, it was as if another story took over. It was like two separate stories. At times, I wondered how old Cara was. I learned late in the book that she was nearly 30, but she seemed younger and the book read like a YA novel. I think weaving social issues into a novel is a great idea, but it was a little too much at times. I found that I just wanted it to be over, and ended up speeding up the narration. I wasn't thrilled with the narrator. She enunciated too much so that at times she sounded almost robotic, especially on her "to" and "and."

  • The Pecan Man

  • By: Cassie Dandridge Selleck
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,233
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,071
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,073

In the summer of 1976, recently widowed and childless, Ora Lee Beckworth hires a homeless old black man to mow her lawn. The neighborhood children call him the Pee-can Man; their mothers call them inside whenever he appears. When the police chief's son is found stabbed to death near his camp, the man Ora knows as Eddie is arrested and charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, Ora sets out to tell the truth about the Pecan Man.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Still Thinking About this Book

  • By L. O. Pardue on 08-01-16

Stunning and surprising!

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

Reviewed: 03-10-17

I don't usually give five-star reviews because I always find some flaw with a book. This book, however, captivated me from the start. While the narration was a bit slow-paced, it was in keeping with Ora Lee's character-an old Southern woman. The characters were rich and deep and the story engaging, with a good mix of dialogue and description. I honestly can't say that the story got bogged down anywhere. I listen to a lot of audio books, and almost every one loses me at some point. Not so with The Pecan Man.

This book was described as To Kill a Mockingbird meets The Help. I can't agree more, but I'd also throw in a bit of a more serious Miss Julia, by Ann B. Ross. Suzanne Toren was a superb narrator, moving easily between the voices, and keeping my attention throughout. Her accent was almost flawless, and the voices believable.

My only complaint was that I thought the author was wrapping things up when there was still an hour left in the audio version (don't know in the print version where that would be). It sounded like she was reading an epilogue, but then it continued. However, as a fellow writer, I know that's often necessary to move from one time frame to another.

And that's where the shoe dropped! WHAT A SURPRISE ENDING! I never saw it coming. Cassie Dandridge Selleck did a phenomenal job with the use of secrets. She gave the reader some that the characters had (that we knew), some that other characters didn't know (that we knew), but she kept some from us as well. The one at the end was one that shocked me, but when I thought about it, realized that some clues were dropped early on.

I don't know if this is the author's first book, but if it is, I'm impressed. I'd read another in a heartbeat. The Pecan Man was one of the best books I've read/heard in a long time, and one that I'll have to allow to digest before I can move on to the next.

  • Black-Eyed Susans

  • A Novel of Suspense
  • By: Julia Heaberlin
  • Narrated by: Whitney Dykhouse, Eric G. Dove, Karen Peakes
  • Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,773
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,339
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,333

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving "Black-Eyed Susan," the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa's testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Dark and compelling - Gillian Flynn readalike

  • By Donna on 08-27-15

Slow-moving and confusing

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

Reviewed: 01-27-17

I always find audible versions of books to be vastly different from text versions, so maybe this is one of those books that is better read than listened to.The narrator was good, with the exception that there was not a big distinction with male voices.

That said, I was confused with the names Tessie and Tessa right off the bat. I kept thinking, "I'm sure the author has a good reason for this...that the editor and publisher agree on, but why would you name two characters the same with only a minute difference?" Then, the chapter titles of "Tessie" and "Tessa" abruptly stopped and I was even more confused. I'm not sure that whole close name thing was necessary. It didn't work for me.

I read many reviews that claimed the book was suspenseful, but I found it boring. The only reason I hung in there was to find out who the "monster" was. Because it was an audio book, I couldn't skim the pages and flip to the end. I wound up turning the narration speed up just to get through the last three hours. Too tedious. I thought the ending was a bit contrived and too neatly packaged.

Lastly, I was irritated with the constant use of continuous verb tenses--He is grinning, she is talking...vs. the active--He grins, she talks. By the last few chapters, they became nails on a chalkboard to me.

All in all, I was disappointed.

  • Ordinary Grace

  • By: William Kent Krueger
  • Narrated by: Rich Orlow
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,641
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,141

Award-winning author William Kent Krueger has gained an immense fan base for his Cork O’Connor series. In Ordinary Grace, Krueger looks back to 1961 to tell the story of Frank Drum, a boy on the cusp of manhood. A typical 13-year-old with a strong, loving family, Frank is devastated when a tragedy forces him to face the unthinkable - and to take on a maturity beyond his years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Wonderful - In Every Way

  • By tooonce72 on 03-29-13

An Extra-Ordinary Story

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

Reviewed: 01-04-17

I don't usually give five star reviews unless I can't find a flaw. Truly, this book is worthy of five stars across the board. The narration was superb. Just enough of a vocal inflection to change the character, but not over the top. Orlow even captured a deaf persons speech beautifully.

The book seemed to drag a little for me in the beginning, but most audio books do, because I am still learning about the characters, setting, and plot. So I gave it some more time and I'm glad I did. I was captivated by the small town life in the 1960s and the relationships between the characters. And curious how a thirteen year old boy was going to figure out what to do with each twist and turn. Krueger obviously knows his craft, as he executed each one like a pro, making the story not only believable, but enriching the plot.

A writer myself, I admit that I was attracted to the book because of the similar genre and time (Coming of age in the 1960s). I'm always looking to read/listen to books that can help me hone my craft and voice. At times, I was so drawn into the story that I forgot to pay attention to how the author got there and how he resolved the conflict, and other times, I was so taken by the his rich writing that I forgot to listen to the story. A win-win.

I recommend this book to those who enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird, or Angela's Ashes, as well as anyone who just wants to read a good book!