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Rachel - Audible

New York, NY
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  • 69
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  • Get Well Soon

  • History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them
  • By: Jennifer Wright
  • Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,991
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,598
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,578

In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Highly informative with a humorous twist

  • By alan on 05-29-17

Snackable History With a Pop Culture Twist

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

Reviewed: 01-11-19

Jennifer Wright is SO completely entertaining and charming on the topic of plagues! She writes with scientific authority but also a strong personality infused with snarky humor and pop culture sensibilities.

There were sections on ice pick lobotomies that had me texting my friends with gross anecdotes that I couldn't possibly keep to myself. The section on Typhoid Mary was gripping and unbelievable. The author had a lot of fun with the buttoned up doctor named John Snow (yes, there were Game of Thrones references) whose discoveries helped stamp out a major cholera outbreak. Parts of the book read like a Sherlock Holmes novel — put on your deductive reasoning hats, kids!

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a romp in non-fiction, especially snackable history with a modern pop-culture twist.

  • Give Me Your Hand

  • By: Megan Abbott
  • Narrated by: Chloe Cannon
  • Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 321
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 296
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 295

Kit Owens harbored only modest ambitions for herself when the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in her high school chemistry class. But Diane's academic brilliance lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship. Until Diane shared a secret that changed everything between them. More than a decade later, Kit thinks she's put Diane behind her forever, and she's begun to fulfill the scientific dreams Diane awakened in her. But the past comes roaring back when she discovers that Diane is her competition for a position both women covet.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Glimpse into the Female Psyche

  • By Horror Reader on 07-21-18

High School Is Weird for Teenage Girls

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

Reviewed: 01-11-19

Look, high school is weird for teenage girls. No one understands the high drama of young women better than Megan Abbott, whose super dark crime stories explore what happens when ambition, jealousy, and competition start to consume female friendships. In the past, Abbott's murderesses have included cheerleaders and elite gymnasts, but this time she's outdone herself with a cutthroat lab of bloodthirsty scientists who will do anything to win a prestigious research grant. Narrator Chloe Cannon perfectly captures the persistent dread of being a young woman. I loved the undercurrent of feminist rage that hums just below the story's surface, almost as much as I loved listening to a murder mystery that doesn't have any dead girls in it.

  • If They Come for Us

  • Poems
  • By: Fatimah Asghar
  • Narrated by: Fatimah Asghar
  • Length: 1 hr and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12

Orphaned as a child, Fatimah Asghar grapples with coming of age and navigating questions of sexuality and race without the guidance of a mother or father. These poems at once bear anguish, joy, vulnerability, and compassion, while also exploring the many facets of violence: how it persists within us, how it is inherited across generations, and how it manifests itself in our relationships. In experimental forms and language both lyrical and raw, Asghar seamlessly braids together marginalized people’s histories with her own understanding of identity, place, and belonging. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Do Believe the Hype

  • By Rachel - Audible on 01-11-19

Do Believe the Hype

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

Reviewed: 01-11-19

Poetry is having a moment, if you believe all the buzz in the book world. I approached this gorgeous collection (just look at that cover!) as a bit of a skeptic, more out of professional curiosity than as someone who actually expected to enjoy it. Fatimah Asghar has totally surprised me by sweeping me off my feet with her exquisite poems about pain, sweetness, and looking for somewhere--anywhere--to belong as a young Pakistani Muslim woman in America. As put by another writer I love, Kiese Laymon, we hardly even deserve poems this good (but we need them). In short: I guess I can get on board with this poetry thing, and and think my new morning ritual includes listening to 10 minutes of poetry on my way to work.

  • The Bus on Thursday

  • A Novel
  • By: Shirley Barrett
  • Narrated by: Katherine Littrell
  • Length: 5 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 23

It wasn’t just the bad breakup that turned Eleanor Mellett’s life upside down. It was the cancer. And all the demons that came with it. Luckily, Eleanor discovers Talbingo, a remote little town looking for a primary-school teacher. Unfortunately, Talbingo is a bit creepy. It’s not just the communion-wine-guzzling friar prone to mad rants. Or the unstable, overly sensitive kids, always going on about Miss Barker, who vanished. It’s living alone in a remote cabin, with no cell or Internet service, wondering why there are so many locks on the door and who is knocking on it late at night.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist

  • By Rachel - Audible on 01-11-19

Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist

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

Reviewed: 01-11-19

This is campy, quirky horror, which isn't my typical jam, but I thought it was really well done. The author is an Australian screenwriter, and I've noticed that I often like novels by screenwriters (Exhibit A: Where'd You Go, Bernadette). The pacing is great, it's not overwritten, and it's genuinely hilarious.

Eleanor is already coming unhinged when she finds out she has breast cancer in her early 30s. After treatment, she ends up in a remote village where things take a turn for the slightly supernatural. As her life continues to unravel, you get the sense that you're reading a dark and strange commentary on the absurdity of cancer. I love that this story doesn't fit into a tidy box -- Eleanor is the textbook definition of unlikable, and the ending is ambiguous af. Not your typical tug-at-the-heartstrings cancer book.

I'm not sure if this book will find a wide audience because it's so damn weird, but it definitely found a fan in me!

  • From the Corner of the Oval

  • A Memoir
  • By: Beck Dorey-Stein
  • Narrated by: Beck Dorey-Stein
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 492
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 452
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 451

In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate DC outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers - young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • West Wing - it's about the work, loves, and life

  • By alaskajazz on 07-12-18

Gossip Girl meets The West Wing

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

Reviewed: 01-11-19

This is Gossip Girl meets The West Wing, and I couldn't put it down. I loved Beck's take on "D.C. Creatures" and the weirdness that ensues when a bunch of attractive, ambitious singles spend so much time together on the road as POTUS's entourage. And her approachable, endearing voice makes it all go down so easily.

I was expecting the gossip about what it's like to be privy to POTUS's inner circle, but I wasn't expecting her story to be so boy crazy. Turns out there's a ton of romance and betrayal and secrets and dramaaaaa, which made for a super fun summer read.

  • Small Fry

  • By: Lisa Brennan-Jobs
  • Narrated by: Eileen Stevens
  • Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 790
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 734
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 729

A frank, smart, and captivating memoir by the daughter of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Small Fry is Lisa Brennan-Jobs' poignant story of a childhood spent between two imperfect but extraordinary homes. Scrappy, wise, and funny, young Lisa is an unforgettable guide through her parents' fascinating and disparate worlds. Part portrait of a complex family, part love letter to California in the '70s and '80s, Small Fry is an enthralling audiobook by an insightful new literary voice. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You feel as though you are there.

  • By Anonymous User on 09-07-18

He loved her, he loved her not

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

Reviewed: 01-11-19

People are going to flock to this memoir for its shocking revelations about Steve Jobs--who was the author's father--and they aren't going to be disappointed. The details are pretty damning: he denied paternity when she was born, lied that he didn't name Apple's Lisa computer after her, and hurled senselessly cruel insults at his child. But in spite of all this, his daughter loved him, and that's what makes her story so compelling. Is there anything more human than loving someone and wanting them to love you back? Lisa Brennan-Jobs brings devastating insight to the task of telling her story, and I found the same pleasures here as I did in two of my other recent favorites--Educated and My Brilliant Friend. I guess my thing must be brutally relentless introspection about complicated childhoods? Yep, sounds about right.

  • The Kiss Quotient

  • A Novel
  • By: Helen Hoang
  • Narrated by: Carly Robins
  • Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,769
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,572
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,567

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases - a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with as well as way less experience in the dating department than the average 30-year-old. It doesn't help that she has Asperger's and that French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. She decides that she needs lots of practice - with a professional - which is why she hires escort Michael Phan.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • It's a lot...

  • By Anonymous User on 08-22-18

When math gets steamy

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

Reviewed: 01-11-19

The romance editors at Audible should be moonlighting as matchmakers, because it took them about two seconds to help me find my very first romance soulmate. I immediately fell in love with leading lady Stella, whose Asperger’s helps her kick ass at her job as an econometrician, but leaves her doubting her abilities in love and sex. So she does what any logical person would do to learn a new skill: she hires a professional tutor, i.e. a male escort named Michael.

The second I got to this point in the story, my eyebrows shot up and my jaw dropped, and I glanced around the plane to see if anyone had noticed. (Yep, that’s right, I listened to my first romance on an airplane.) Then I giggled to myself and settled in for a deliciously entertaining ride.

The Kiss Quotient checks so many of my boxes: it’s progressive, sex-positive, and respectful of both Stella and Michael. And even though he always wears a condom, the sex scenes are suuuper steamy. Which, let’s be honest, enhanced my experience. I also really appreciated the depiction of Stella’s Asperger’s—as someone who’s not neurotypical myself (who even is?!), I love a good story about neurodiversity, and this one feels exceptionally authentic as the author has Asperger’s, too. That #ownvoices magic, guys. Finally, there’s a really cute analogy about economics and underwear and love, and I can’t even with how weird and sweet it is.

I will DEFINITELY be picking up another romance, especially if someone can tell me which ones are EXACTLY LIKE THE KISS QUOTIENT. (I hear Christina Lauren might be a good bet?) #romanceconvert

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Heavy

  • By: Kiese Laymon
  • Narrated by: Kiese Laymon
  • Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 913
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 859
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 856

Kiese Laymon is a fearless writer. In his essays, personal stories combine with piercing intellect to reflect both on the state of American society and on his experiences with abuse, which conjure conflicted feelings of shame, joy, confusion, and humiliation. Laymon invites us to consider the consequences of growing up in a nation wholly obsessed with progress yet wholly disinterested in the messy work of reckoning with where we’ve been. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Be prepared

  • By Amy Bannor on 10-30-18

My love for this one runs deep.

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

Reviewed: 11-01-18

If you like memoirs where the author rips their heart out of their chest and leaves it beating on the floor, great, because we have so much to talk about. Kiese Laymon's new memoir has left me totally speechless, but I'm going to try really hard to make words now so I can tell you how deeply I loved it.

Heavy is about a lot of things, including what happens to the body after trauma. From the time he was just a kid in Mississippi, Kiese Laymon has known exactly how much he weighs at any given moment, yo-yoing between 160 and 320 pounds. When he was depressed in college, he would eat slices of old pizza from the dorm trash at night. Later, as a graduate instructor, he would run 11 miles every day, eat only 800 calories, and pass out in public. Now, looking back, he unpacks all those years of collected trauma with an uncanny knack for saying the things that everyone thinks but no one else has the guts to say. CONSTANT. SHIVERS.

I can't wait for 10 years from now when we'll all look back and remember when we became obsessed with Kiese Laymon.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Changeling

  • A Novel
  • By: Victor LaValle
  • Narrated by: Victor LaValle
  • Length: 14 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,045
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 968
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 965

When Apollo Kagwa's father disappeared, all he left his son were strange recurring dreams and a box of books stamped with the word improbabilia. Now Apollo is a father himself - and as he and his wife, Emma, are settling into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Apollo's old dreams return and Emma begins acting odd.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fractured Fairytale

  • By Diane on 08-07-17

The Weirdest, Most Wonderful Damn Book

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

Reviewed: 12-01-17

The Changeling is by far the book I want to shower all my love on in 2017. I want to hug strangers in the street and whisper in their ears how amazing this audiobook is, that it’s one of the weirdest, most wonderful damn books I’ve listened to in a long time. At the heart of this modern-day fairy tale is Apolla Kagwa, a scrappy book dealer and devoted dad who wears a Baby Bjorn all over New York City and takes his infant to the playground at 4:30 every morning. After a horrific chain of events, Apollo loses his wife and son, and—wrecked with grief—sets out across the 5 boroughs on an epic quest to rescue and redeem them. The path is strewn with witches, monsters, and trolls (both the fairy tale kind and the internet kind), and Kagwa’s New York is both recognizable and completely fantastical. Victor LaValle is one of those unicorn novelists who happens to be a fabulous narrator of his own work, and as he reads you this story, his voice is like magic and butter. Above all, The Changeling is one black man’s ode to fatherhood and the lengths to which he will go to protect his family.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • City of Thieves

  • A Novel
  • By: David Benioff
  • Narrated by: Ron Perlman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,319
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,349
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,343

A writer visits his retired grandparents in Florida to document their experience during the infamous siege of Leningrad. His grandmother won't talk about it, but his grandfather reluctantly consents. The result is the captivating odyssey of two young men trying to survive against desperate odds. Lev Beniov considers himself "built for deprivation." He's small, smart, and insecure, a Jewish virgin too young for the army, who spends his nights working as a volunteer firefighter with friends from his building.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stunning Tale. Great Narration.

  • By Paul on 10-24-09

The Perfect Book Narrated by the Perfect Narrator

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

Reviewed: 10-17-17

If you like Russian humor, eggs, war stories, Hellboy and Game of Thrones, and have never listened to an audiobook before, you should probably lose your audio virginity to The City of Thieves by David Benioff, read by Ron Flipping Perlman.

It’s World War II, and the Nazis have sieged Leningrad. Two young Russian prisoners form an unlikely friendship when a powerful colonel offers them freedom if they can procure a dozen eggs for his daughter’s wedding cake.

It's a perfect book narrated by the perfect reader. Benioff, who is the co-creator of Game of Thrones on HBO, perfects the ratio of pathos, drama, comedy, dialogue and gore. The City of Thieves is a buddy comedy, love story, World War II epic and Russian literary history all rolled up into one. It's meta. It's action-packed. It's poetry. It works on every level. Best yet, it's meant to be performed and Ron Perlman, the man behind Hellboy, is the perfect guy for the job.

You can tell when I really super loved a book, because that's when I get all tongue tied and speechless. So I'm going to shut up about this now. 5,000 stars. The end.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful