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  • The Bear and the Nightingale

  • A Novel
  • By: Katherine Arden
  • Narrated by: Kathleen Gati
  • Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,120
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,927
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,923

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year, and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind - she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I was swept away

  • By Crystal Midkiff on 02-04-17

Standard Fantasy Fare

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

Reviewed: 11-13-17

Standard fantasy trope of someone being born with special powers that no one else possesses. Thankfully, she wasn't destined to save the world (just her village).

I confess that I had difficulty keeping track of some of the characters because of their Russian names. I think this difficulty was particular to the audiobook format and would have been easier on the written page. Despite this, the narrator did a wonderful job with them and her performance added a lot of authenticity to the tale.

The story took awhile to get started. This is a two-book series, and much like a Marvel movie, it had a couple of tangents that had nothing to do with the main story, which I suspect will be taken up in the next book. For example, the book introduces a brother who wants to become a monk early in the book. That decision is made and is never again relevant to the story. I don't like stories told in this way (just wait until these danging plots become relevant with future book purchases).

I also didn't care for what has become a standard trope in modern story-telling, which is to make Christian priests the bad guys. The church is bad. The priest is the real evil-doer. Did I just blow your mind? I suspect not. I've seen it a thousand times before and it's tedious and at odds with reality.

The bad guy seems to gain strength because of the people's unbelief in the old ways, or fear, or something. It's not clear. And it's not clear how our heroine's actions at the end were sufficient to beat back the rising unbelief or fear, or whatever. The resolution wasn't related to the cause. So, it wasn't very satisfying.

In all, it had some interesting concepts. The heroine was sympathetic and interesting, but the story seemed a little jumbled and cluttered with some storytelling elements that detracted from the tale. I'd pass.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • The Elements of Eloquence

  • Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase
  • By: Mark Forsyth
  • Narrated by: Don Hagen
  • Length: 5 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,344
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,220
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,198

In his inimitably entertaining and wonderfully witty style, he takes apart famous phrases and shows how you too can write like Shakespeare or quip like Oscar Wilde. Whether you’re aiming to achieve literary immortality or just hoping to deliver the perfect one-liner, The Elements of Eloquence proves that you don’t need to have anything important to say - you simply need to say it well.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Who knew rhetoric could be so much fun?

  • By Philo on 10-30-14

Eloquent? Probably not, but read it anyway.

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

Reviewed: 08-30-16

Most of this book seemed better suited to writing rather than speaking. Further, it didn't seem like it was as much instruction as it was description. But I loved it. I loved it.

This book literally made me laugh out loud numerous times. It did. It's wonder

  • Furiously Happy

  • A Funny Book About Horrible Things
  • By: Jenny Lawson
  • Narrated by: Jenny Lawson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,451
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,709
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,685

Audie Award, Humor, 2016. In Furiously Happy, number-one New York Times best-selling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Small doses.

  • By Shawna on 10-18-15

Not really a treatment on depression and mental illness

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

Reviewed: 03-31-16

This books is amusing. Lawson describes a bunch of quirky things that she does and how she thinks. Occasionally, she mentions that she's mentally ill and what that looks like, but the two don't seem to go hand-in-hand. I didn't get the impression that her weird, funny, world view was the result of her mental illness (it can't be or the mentally ill would be much more fun to hang around with), rather it was just peppered in here and there with encouraging "you're a good person, you have value" types of platitudes. The real difficulties she faces are put forth so we know she struggles, then on to another funny story.

All of this is fine, but Lawson seems to think that she's writing to us about mental illness--how to cope and what normal people should understand those facing it. She does address these topics, but it's about 5 percent of the book. The rest is just her funny stories, which are fine, but there's nothing profound here. And when she talks about how sharing her stories has literally saved lives, it's very clear that Lawson believes that this work is of greater importance than it is. If you're buying this book for deep insights into depression and mental illness, look elsewhere. Otherwise, it's a pretty amusing, if forgettable, read.

  • Fear the Survivors

  • The Fear Saga, Book 2
  • By: Stephen Moss
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 17 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,575
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,145
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,115

The Earth lies shaken in the aftermath of a conspiracy. Some of the smartest minds on the planet have striven for and died in an effort to scour the skies of four vast alien satellites, but their success has brought a terrible vengeance down upon us. While alien agents stalk the Earth, a team of exhausted scientists and military outcasts struggle to fight them among a planet on the brink - the brink of plague, the brink of war, and the brink of an invasion larger than they can possibly imagine. But they have allies.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome!

  • By Terra on 01-29-16

Good story but characters need to be fleshed out

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

Reviewed: 03-13-16

I like the story about mankind's struggle to survive but all of the individual characters and not developed so if they are in danger or die, it's difficult to care. This makes the overall journey less compelling than it could be. Plot is still interesting despite having no particular protagonist to root for.

  • The Black Prism

  • By: Brent Weeks
  • Narrated by: Cristofer Jean
  • Length: 22 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,429
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2,120
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,128

Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals. But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Big fan of Brent Weeks but...

  • By Lee on 04-20-11

Dude . . .

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-19-11

The narrator sounds like a surfer dude. Like the most stereotyped surfer dude that you can think of.

The book is pretty good, but the narration distracts from it. I would not recommend that audiobook to anyone. The narration spoils it. The book is pretty good. Weeks is very imaginative, but not great with dialog. He often insert modern-day colloquialisms in the text, which pulls me out of the story. Still, he's pretty good.

50 of 52 people found this review helpful