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Clara

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  • 28
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The Lake House audiobook cover art

Lovely

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

Reviewed: 12-22-15

I am a big fan of Kate Morton, I love how her stories always interweave women's lives from different times and generations. Her books are richly romantic without involving cheesy romances. They ring true in a way which suggests a huge amount of historical research. Besides enjoying the actual books, they always make me reflect on the women of my own family, what I think I know from hearing the passed down stories and seeing photos, versus what it was like to be there. This was beautifully told, and although the end was too convenient, it can be forgiven because it makes the characters so happy, and thus the reader too.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

The Aesthetic Brain audiobook cover art

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 12-22-15

I am a potter and I often listen to audiobooks while I work in the studio. I was interested in this book because I listed to a very short podcast on this subject which described how people all over the world preferred an image of particular landscape regardless of where they lived. I found that fascinating and hoped this book would tell me more along those lines.
The description looked so great, I neglected to listen to the sample before purchase- my mistake. The narration is of the old fashioned type that always reminds me of WWII news clips or 1960's nature shows. I was only able to get an hour in. I heard nothing I hadn't heard before about why certain people are more attractive to the opposite sex- facial symmetry, pointy chins, etc. I was really annoyed as I thought the book was going to be about art and neuroscience. I do not care which Hollywood actress the author is attracted to. That's not interesting to me and the objectification of women embedded in that discussion is not something I want to spend my time on. Between the narration, familiar information (to me anyway), and the way the book is written, I thought maybe I had bought a book published a long time ago (actually just 2013). When I realized I didn't like either the narrator or the book, I turned it off and went to find something else. I'm sorry I spent money on this one.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

Shadow of a Dead Star audiobook cover art

Sad male fantasy.

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

Reviewed: 08-15-14

I found this book to not really hold my interest, but I kept going hoping it would get better. Eventually we get a female character who sounds like she is a middle aged waitress in an interstate cafe, but she's a totally hot "well endowed with slender frame" high tech hacker. After another while, main character and she get in a sexual relationship where he does stuff like holds his hand over her mouth, chokes her etc. I was still thinking that maybe the story could outweigh this objectionable part, but in short order, main character starts bossing around girlfriend like she is a bad child and she gets "turned on" by it. Yuck, grow up boys. This is not the way to get girlfriends, believe me. Returning book.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

Pastwatch audiobook cover art

Warning: Christian conversion of Indigenous people

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

Reviewed: 12-03-13

This is a hard book for me to rate. I know Orson Scott Card is a mormon and normally I won't buy his books as I do not wish to financially support mormons in any way. But this was on sale and I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for time travel, so I bit.

The reason Pastwatch is hard for me to rate is because Orson Scott Card is a really good writer. The story is interesting and while the future characters might be a bit skimpy compared to the historical characters, for the most part they are all well written. The premise - future people going back from a ruined planet to deliberately change human history for the better- is thought provoking. The historical segments are interesting and believable. Over all, this is one of the better Audible books I have listened to in a while, as far as the quality goes.

But here's where the trouble is for me (and it's a bit of a spoiler alert, so if you're okay with christians converting Indigenous people then buy the book and read no further). The basis of this story is the idea that if only christianity had been introduced to the New World in a nicer way, everything would have been okay- races would respect each other, the planets resources would not have been over extended, we would live in a kinder, gentler world etc, etc. This is just fatally flawed to me. I don't think religious missions are ever good, and I don't think native people should have been converted to christianity (and I live in the Navajo Nation, so I get to see the painful fall out from this every day). Mostly, I resent religious proselytizing mixed in with my time travel. This left a bad taste in my mouth and the wish that I had stuck to my no-supporting-mormons rule, sale or no sale.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

The Passage audiobook cover art

If you like Stephen King you'll like this

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

Reviewed: 12-03-13

I am not a Stephen King fan. I don't like when you have a story based on a fictional science premise (in this case a genetically engineered virus), and then you mix in magic. It was unnecessary and seemed like the author just trying to make the book more creepy with a cheap plot device. I am also not a fan of the horror genre, but I do like post apocalyptic stories of survival and that's why I bought this book. Unfortunately for me, the horror out weighs anything else in this story. The idea that in 100 years, there would still be left over food to eat and clothes and vehicles that are serviceable was just not believable. There is a lovable dog and a bunch of other predictable fluff that should have been edited out.

But ultimately what grated on me most about this book was the narrator's weird intonation. Like someone reading schmaltsy poetry and trying to infuse it with meaning. I need to remember to heed the advice when other reviewers mention the narrator is annoying. I would have returned this book, but I had already returned something else this month, so I slogged through to get my money's worth. I really can't recommend you do the same.

1 of 7 people found this review helpful

Steelheart audiobook cover art

video game plot with lots of guns

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

Reviewed: 10-08-13

This book sets up an interesting world, but then doesn't do much with it. Essentially it's a revenge fantasy book with the entire focus being on killing the big bad guy. The bad guy is 100% evil so you can hardly blame David the main character, but you could blame the author. It is disturbing to me that this is supposed to be YA fiction. There is a very strong gun worshiping theme here. The main bad guy has a square jaw, the side kick bad guy is asian. The love interest girl has long blond hair and mysterious bad moods. Sigh.
I don't play video games, but this book seems like a really violent video game to me. The simplification of good and evil and the wish to destroy the other with big weapons is basically what's wrong with our culture today. Is this how we want to encourage young adults to think? The only thing that marginally saved this book is the narrator. He made David sound young and earnest and likable. But honestly, I can't think of anyone, teen or adult, that I would recommend this book to.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

The Forgotten Garden audiobook cover art

One of the best on Audible

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

Reviewed: 05-22-13

Although the listener will solve the mystery long before the characters, this book was a truly wonderful read. It’s a sentimental story, and while it does follow the romance novel rules that the protagonist must be shiningly beautiful, the characters are tough and not given to sentimentality. Strong female characters and their relationships drive this story. And while it’s nostalgic in some ways, it does not white wash the brutality of the past, for the poor or the rich. This attention to detail made the book both realistic and interesting to me. It will make you want to learn more about your own grandmother and great grandmothers’ real lives, while revealing that we can only research and reconstruct a partial picture of the past.

I found the narrator to be excellent. Her American accent is way off though, so her English accents may be as well, I can’t tell. This is only a small part in the book and was just humorous to me, not distracting- do we really sound like that?

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

World Made by Hand audiobook cover art

Male fantasy makes for a poor/unrealistic story

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

Reviewed: 05-22-13

As some reviewers have pointed out, this book is not particularly well written, but as a story, not great literature, it would be passable. However, you will have to pretend that it was written in the 50’s like Alas Babylon, for it to be an okay listen and even then it sounds like a pathetic kind of male wishful thinking.

Women are not going to “drop” feminism and revert to being stereotypically deferential and secondary to men because we lose technology. Every major player in this book is male and that effectively eroded any plausibility of this story for me. Two minor characters are female. One is manipulative and emotionally unstable, the other (young and attractive) picks a man older than her father for shelter and wants to sleep with him in exchange for protection although being the protagonist, he doesn't pressure her. Oh, and there is also a mysteriously powerful woman at the heart of the religious cult who is described as obese, nauseating and completely disgusting.

Even in times past, in a small town, women would be extremely important to the fabric of the community, not just shadows. Sorry Mr. Kunstler. For better or worse, women today are even the largest new market for guns. While you obviously long for more “simple” times, there are just too many female doctors, dentists, mayors, police chiefs, land holders, CEOs and even ministers for the future to play out this way. That reality completely blows your story -- and exposes your misogyny.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

Extremes audiobook cover art

Not as good as the first one

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

Reviewed: 11-27-12

The first book made me really happy to have found the series, it had great character development, nasty aliens and an interesting universe to be introduced to with lots of potential. I could hardly wait to down load the second. This second book really doesn't make use of that potential. It relies on the first book for character development which is not expanded here. Rusch's alien species are not part of this plot which was disappointing. I would probably be willing to try one more book into the series except that this narrator's various character voices are just too irritating. His regular reading voice is smooth and rich, but all the other characters are grating and seem wrong, especially the female detective whose voice is too nasal and sharp and her new side kick who sounds like a surfing teenager- others are exaggeratedly too low, slow or gruff, they are all "off" and distracting. Sorry Audible, I'll be going with paper books if I continue with this series.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter audiobook cover art

Extremely Violent Scenes

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

Reviewed: 08-30-12

While I appreciate the craft the author used to intertwine the vampire slayer story with a historical setting and events, the brutality often described in this book just seemed over the top and unnecessary. While the over all plot was okay, these scenes made me want to skip ahead or stop the book, they were graphic and disturbing. This book is not a "fun" vampire story and was definitely written for a movie audience. I don't like horror movies, but my husband does. We listened to it together on a long trip and he agreed with me- the violence was gratuitous, so be warned. This is one of those credits I wish I had spent on something else.