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Michael

Texas
  • 68
  • reviews
  • 15
  • helpful votes
  • 95
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  • The House with a Clock in Its Walls

  • By: John Bellairs
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 4 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,727
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,579
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,577

When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan, comes to stay with his Uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbor, Mrs. Zimmermann, are both witches! Lewis is thrilled. At first, watching magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Serenna Izard. It seems that Serenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls - a clock that could obliterate humankind. And only the Barnavelts can stop it!

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Before Harry Potter, there was Lewis Barnavelt

  • By Richard S. Swol on 08-26-18

Scary Story for Middle Grade Kids

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

Reviewed: 01-10-19

I'm not sure how I missed this book when I was a kid. Maybe the cover picture was too scary. The release of the new movie made me curious though, so I decided to listen to it. This is a good story for middle grade or older elementary kids. Just scary enough. It wouldn't be suitable for younger children though because it does deal with bringing at least one dead person back to life, and that might be a bit much for younger readers to process or deal with. But as an adult, a quick, easy, enjoyable listen. Enough to convince me that I'll watch the movie, but I won't take my 7-year-old grand-daughter :)

  • Heaven Adjacent

  • By: Catherine Ryan Hyde
  • Narrated by: Laural Merlington
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,061
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 931
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 929

Roseanna Chaldecott spent her life as a high-powered lawyer in Manhattan. But when her best friend and law partner dies suddenly, something snaps. Unsure of her future, Roseanna heads upstate on one tank of gas and with no plans to return. In the foothills of the Adirondacks, Roseanna discovers the perfect hideout in a ramshackle farm. Its seventy-six acres are rich with possibilities and full of surprises, including a mother and daughter squatting on the property. Although company is the last thing Roseanna wants, she reluctantly lets them stay.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just the best!!

  • By kthompson1004 on 07-25-18

The Consequences of Solitude

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

Reviewed: 01-07-19

This is the story of a mature, professional woman walking away from her life to something more simple and quiet. It is something we probably all think about doing often. This story also includes the fallout and consequences of such a decision. This is the third book of Catherine Ryan Hyde that I have read or listened to, and as in the others, the characters are well developed and easy to associate with.

  • Yellow Crocus

  • By: Laila Ibrahim
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,466
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,682
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,665

Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful southern historical fiction

  • By MissSusie66 on 02-27-15

Excellent Narration

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

Reviewed: 01-07-19

This was an enjoyable listen and the characters were interesting. I'm not sure it was entirely believable, but I did like the book.

Yellow Crocus is the story of a wet nurse/slave and the child that she cares for.

  • Christmas Eve, 1914

  • By: Charles Olivier
  • Narrated by: Cameron Daddo, Xander Berkeley, Cody Fern, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 13 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,985
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,079
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,041

In 1914, the war which was to have been wrapped up by Christmas had - in reality - only just begun, as all sides entrenched themselves deeper into the Great War. Christmas Eve, 1914 follows one company of British officers as they rotate forward to spend their Christmas on the front lines, a mere 80 yards from the German guns. Upper- and working-class men and boys are thrown together into one trench and struggle to survive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully "illustrated"

  • By anonymous on 12-25-14

Overly Dramatic

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

Reviewed: 12-19-18

The characters were stereotypes and almost "caricatures" of extremely bad, or extremely good men, etc. The drama within the ranks was unnecessary, unbelievable and an injustice to the soldiers and officers who were actually a part of this event. It took away from the story, which was loosely based on an event that really happened. It was a free listen, and short enough to endure the "drama". But if you would like to read up on what really happened, here is a good place to start: https://www.history.com/news/world-war-is-christmas-truce-100-years-ago.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Impossible Fortress

  • By: Jason Rekulak
  • Narrated by: Griffin Newman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 830
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 776
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 773

The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine. The year is 1987, and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys - Billy, Alf, and Clark - who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Touching story

  • By solomon d. on 05-31-17

Great Narration

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

Reviewed: 12-18-18

This is definitely a "young adult" book, and would probably best be enjoyed by teenagers. I found it nostalgic due to all of the 80s references. It takes place in 1987, and the main character is 14 (the exact age my little brother was in 1987). In fact, the main character, Billy, reminded me a lot of my little brother BJ (short for Billy Justin). He also had an old commodore 64, and sometimes he would ask me to help him type out lines of code. I had no idea what I was plucking away at, but it made sense to him. So that one aspect of this book was like a time machine, and I enjoyed that. I also enjoyed seeing the angst of teen-ager-dom through the eyes of a teenage boy. Definitely a more interesting perspective than from that of a teenage girl. I liked the pace of the book and the adventure, although ill planned a poorly judged. But since when have teenage boys made well thoughout plans or endeavors? The narration was really good. Very believable as a teenage boy, but the voicing of other characters was great too.

  • The Life We Bury

  • By: Allen Eskens
  • Narrated by: Zach Villa
  • Length: 8 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41,762
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38,193
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38,115

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran-and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good listen!

  • By Lori on 12-14-15

Fast Paced, Action Packed, Heart Warming

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

Reviewed: 12-13-18

Joe is a young man working his way through college as a bouncer. He has a younger autistic brother whom he feels great love for and responsibility towards. His mother is a bi-polar, alcoholic negligent parent. So, Joe has a lot on his plate.

For one of his classes, he must interview someone and write a short biography of that person's life. Not having anyone close to him that he could interview, he visits a nursing home and inquires if there is someone there who might be willing. This is when he meets Carl Iverson, a Viet Nam Veteran who is also a convicted murderer/rapist. What unfolds is a suspenseful murder mystery. This book is action packed from the beginning. The characters are very well developed and the reader will definitely feel empathy toward many of them. This is one of the better books I've read or listened to this year and I highly recommend it. Zach Villa was perfect for the narration and really added a lot to the story.

  • The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

  • By: Phaedra Patrick
  • Narrated by: James Langton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,574
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,395
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,387

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater-vest; waters his fern, Frederica; and heads out to his garden. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam's possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he's never seen before.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • sweet, predictable novel of widower's quest

  • By Mark on 01-05-18

Feel Good Story

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

Reviewed: 12-06-18

One year after the death of his wife of forty years, Arthur is sorting through her things and stumbles onto a charm bracelet that he never recalls seeing her wear. A phone number is etched into one of them, so he calls it, and his journey begins. He tracks down the origin of each charm and the story behind them. In doing so, he discovers the untold story of his wife's life before him, and he discovers things about himself.

Sure, it's a little far-fetched and a definite stretch of the imagination, but it's a good stretch. It was a story I liked listening to. It made me feel good about my 31 year-old marriage, and my ever aging mind and body. It’s sad to think that Arthur was married to his wife for forty years and they never discussed anything about the past. He didn’t even know his mother-in-law’s name for certain. But I think there probably are marriages out there that are like that. Ultimately, I guess the past really doesn’t matter anyway when you’re with the one that holds all your todays and tomorrows.

Narration of this book was really great. The narrator did a nice job with the various characters, ages, and accents. Very enjoyable to listen to.

  • The Lathe of Heaven

  • By: Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 969
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 876
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 876

In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George's dreams for his own purposes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing!

  • By Adrienne R. on 11-23-18

Loved This Book!!

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

Reviewed: 11-30-18

George Orr sometimes has intense "effective" dreams that alter and change reality. In essence, his dreams come true. No one else realizes the change has happened. To them, the new reality has always been their reality. But George remembers. The new realities that his dreams create are more likely than not, a horrible reality. This is too much for George to bear, so he turns to drugs in hopes of suppressing and avoiding dreaming. Once he is caught using other people's pharm-cards, he is forced to attend therapy.

Thus enters Dr. William Haber. Through hypnosis and the use of his dream augmenter machine, he is able to manipulate George's dreams, allowing him to sleep without fear. Upon George's awakening from each session, we are gradually introduced to the new world and reality of Dr. Haber's creation. We see all different variations of worlds and societies....from world war to world peace, from smog and rain, to clear skies and mountains, from race wars to one race, from hostile aliens to friendly aliens, and everything in between. We witness the metamorphosis of Dr. Haber and realize that he is manipulating George's dreams to benefit him specifically.

That is all I will give away about this story. I intend to read this several times more. From the minute I started this book, I was completely captivated and found it very hard to believe I had never even heard of this book or this author. While it is science fiction, Le Guin doesn't overwhelm the reader with massive amounts of dry, technical terminology or phrases. She makes it very easy for any reader to understand and relate to. She does this also without "dumbing it down". While she demonstrates several different types of societies, she doesn't come across as biased to any of them...it doesn't feel like she's trying to sway the reader. This book is thought provoking and lingers with you for days after you put it down. It is easily the best sci-fi book I personally have read (although my sci-fi list is admittedly short) and I do intend to read more from Ursula K. Le Guin. I highly recommend this book.

The narrator for this book was perfect. I will listen again, but I will also read the book in print. I feel like there are a lot of little details that I might pick up by reading it.

  • A Dog's Purpose

  • By: W. Bruce Cameron
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,534
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,985
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,982

A Dog's Purpose - which spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list – is heading to the big screen! Based on the beloved best-selling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog's Purpose shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Dogs Purpose

  • By sara on 02-16-17

Re-Read and Will Likely Re-Read Again

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

Reviewed: 11-26-18

I first listened to this book February of 2017, and again this past week after the death of one of my elderly dogs. It then occured to me that I didn't write a review the first time around. Clearly, it's an amazing book for me to have listened to it twice (and I honestly will probably read or listen to it again). The basis of the story is the belief that dogs have a purpose in life. If they don't fulfill their purpose in their first life, they return until the purpose is fulfilled. The dog in this story starts as a stray, is reborn and becomes a family dog bonding with a boy named Ethan. In his next life he is a female working dog that helps find missing persons or bodies. In his fourth life, he is a puppy mill dog and again a stray for a bit. (Actually, I think the second life began at a puppy mill, and the fourth life was more of a reputable breeder-not sure). He remembers bits and pieces of his previous lives and builds on things he has learned. I probably should not give away any more than that.

I don't think that I really fully believe this concept, but I want to, and it's comforting because it hurts so bad when you lose a dog. My dogs all seem to live long, long lives. So when they go, it's like losing a family member or very close friend. The pain is so great that at this point, I don't know that I could go through it again. I have one dog at the moment who is two and a half years old. I decided that if he seems lonely, that I would consider getting another dog; but so far, he is handling the death of his companion well enough. Which has nothing to do with this book, or this review...I just want to convey that I knew reading this book again would be therapeutic for me and I want to recommend it for that reason. But it is also an outstanding book even if you've never had a dog.

I do want to comment on the narration. I had forgotten this from the first time I listened (because it is such a great book, narration can be overlooked), but the narration really leaves something to be desired. He reads as if a group of kindergartners are his audience, and his chapter announcements border on creepy ("Chapter 11" sticks out in my mind). He does get a little better by the time he gets to Ellie's story, but it was really hard to get through the first half of the book. I also watched the movie after listening the first time around. It was okay, but left out a few important sections. I was disappointed. I would have to say that in my opinion, the best way to experience this story is to actually read the book rather than listen to it or watch the movie.

  • Then She Was Gone

  • A Novel
  • By: Lisa Jewell
  • Narrated by: Helen Duff
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,237
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,451
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,404

Fifteen-year-old Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenage golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her. And then she was gone. Now her mother, Laurel Mack, is trying to put her life back together.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • SO GOOD

  • By Anonymous User on 05-24-18

Pretty Good

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

Reviewed: 11-26-18

What was going to happen was a little bit predictable, but the story still held my interest because I needed to find out HOW it was going to happen. A lot of it was entirely unfathomable, but much of it certainly plausible. Overall, I enjoyed it and found it hard to put down. Great psychological thriller with interesting characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful