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  • Allegiant

  • Divergent Trilogy, Book 3
  • By: Veronica Roth
  • Narrated by: Emma Galvin, Aaron Stanford
  • Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18,433
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,576
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 16,688

What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation - like a single choice - changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected? The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times best-selling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of listeners in Divergent and Insurgent.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • What a let down!

  • By Judy on 11-05-13

Deciding How I Feel About the Ending

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

Reviewed: 02-21-19

As must stories do, the problems have been resolved. Our heroine makes a final brave act of selflessness, family members heal broken relationships, & the ultimate "bad" has been stopped & good wins again. Victory has come at a very steep cost in that <spoiler> Tris ultimately takes her brother Caleb's place & gives her life to blow down the door to the weapons room & stop the "reset" from happening. Four contemplates giving up on life altogether, but the surviving friends help remind him that the person he's become thanks to Tris' influence is one that their new world needs now more than ever.<spoiler> Healing among every city & people group is now able to begin their new normal. The ending scene with the friends getting together & trying something together gives us hope that those that remain will not let the sacrifices of others be in vain. Life will go on, & they will do their part to make sure that life is healthier & happier than it was before.

I can't say that I HATE the ending like so many have stated, but I will admit that it made my decision between Divergent & Hunger Games much easier. I chose Hunger Games. Hey, I'll admit it. <spoiler> Having the love interest stay together & build a life together helps the mind & heart begin to heal a bit after reading about so much devastation. Killing off the heroine & leaving her love interest high & dry...not so good.<spoiler> I don't feel the need for every difficult book to have a perfect, happy ending. But this one might was just a bit more than I was prepared to handle.

Age recommendation: 14 & up (violence, war, death, sensual scenes)

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 8.

  • Insurgent

  • Divergent, Book 2
  • By: Veronica Roth
  • Narrated by: Emma Galvin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,465
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,985
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20,113

One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Decent but not as interesting as Divergent

  • By Lore on 03-08-14

Parent/Child Relationships

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

Reviewed: 02-21-19

The story of Tris, Four, & their gang continues. The story continues to unfold about who Tris' & Four's parents REALLY were & why they made the choices they did along the way. We get to know Tris' brother Caleb more in this book. And like many YA drama books, this one is not without it's teenage love drama as Tris & Four dig deeper into what their relationship is & where it is going. The problems in the world, or at least what they believe to be their world, continue to prove more in depth & more difficult than the good guys thought originally. A few more loved characters are lost to the cause, & even a not-so-beloved character exits stage left.

I said in my review of "Divergent" that I hadn't yet made up my mind about whether I preferred the Divergent or Hunger Games series. I am beginning to lean toward Hunger Games, but I still can't make a definitive decision just yet. I am not a big "love story" kind of person, so I don't care as much for the love story plot, but it does help to even out the anxiety of the war that is beginning to rage. On to the 3rd & final book to see how it all plays out.

Age recommendation: 14 & up (violence, death, sensual scenes)

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 8.

  • Divergent

  • By: Veronica Roth
  • Narrated by: Emma Galvin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31,813
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,412
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,611

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It's not for me. Loved it anyway.

  • By Grant on 05-24-12

Similar to "Hunger Games", but Different

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

Reviewed: 02-12-19

Beatrice is now at the age when it will be determined what faction, or organized group, she will join. After taking a special test, the results point you in the direction you should choose based on your personality, skills, tendencies, etc. For a rare group of people, the test results are inconclusive - they don't fit perfectly in to any one group. They are called divergent. We follow the choice of one such person, Beatrice, or Trice as she will be know going forward. Following her inconclusive test results, she chooses Dauntless, a group of well-trained warriors. Toward the end of the initiation period, she discovers that something is going on - something that will change the course of their civilization as they know it. And she is the target. Why? What is so special about her? By the end of this book, she only begins to realize the path that is laid before her & that the lives of all around her depend on her.

Many people told me I should read this series since I loved the Hunger Games series so much. They were right to recommend this. The 2 series are very similar in many ways. I've only finished book 1 of 3 of the Divergent series, but if you were to ask me now which series I prefer, I can honestly say I don't know yet. There are different things that I like about each of the series. And even though the core of these dystopian series are very, very similar, there is still just enough differences that I need to wait until I'm further into the Divergent series to make a decision.

Age recommendation: 14 & up (death, brutality, intense scenes)

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 10!

  • Jingle Bell Pop

  • By: John Seabrook
  • Narrated by: Erin Moon
  • Length: 1 hr and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,192
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,900
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,897

On Christmas Eve, 1818, in a small Austrian village, a local Catholic priest and a church organist composed a Christmas carol that changed the course of holiday music forever. Exactly two hundred years later, it’s not the holiday season until you’ve heard “Silent Night” in the car, at the store and on TV – all in the same day. 

In Jingle Bell Pop, John Seabrook, acclaimed author of The Song Machine, takes us deep inside the holiday music business. We go behind the scenes to meet some of the producers, songwriters and recording artists responsible for the timeless tunes we hear on repeat between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Making of a Christmas Hit

  • By Kingsley on 12-07-18

Overlooked Too Many of the REAL Classics

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

Reviewed: 01-23-19

A deeper look into the making of some of the world's most recognizable Christmas songs. I had high hopes for what this book might offer. There are so many wonderful Christmas songs that have lasted through centuries. This book did pick one of the oldies, "Silent Night", but many of the songs that it featured were from the mid-late 20th century. I felt that by overlooking so many songs that have been around much longer, much history & emotion was also left untouched. I was hoping for something much stronger, much deeper.

Age recommendation: 10 & up

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 5.

  • 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 12,467
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,448
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,403

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

True Representation of "Goodwill toward Men"

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

Reviewed: 01-23-19

Maybe you saw the Sainsbury's ad online that featured a video depicting the ceasefire order given during WWI on December 24, 1914. If you haven't seen it, look it up & watch it. It was this video that made me stop when I saw this title come up as one of the choices for my free Audible pick in December. Having loved the video so much, of course I wanted to learn more about the details behind this epic event. I'll admit that I was tempted to turn the book off & possibly not return to finish it because of how slow the story started out. However, I'm glad I stuck it out. It helped that it was a short book, so I kept telling myself "There's not much left. Keep going." It was the final 15-20 minutes of the story that formed my highly positive opinion of the entire book. Everything came full circle, & the details given throughout the story made sense. This is a story of Peace On Earth that today's society could certainly meditate on & learn a thing or two.

Age recommendation: 12 & up (wartime violence, death)

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 8.

  • Destiny of the Republic

  • A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
  • By: Candice Millard
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael
  • Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,450
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,985
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,978

James A. Garfield may have been the most extraordinary man ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Marvelous, Magnificent, Millard

  • By Mel on 02-08-12

The Life & Death of Our 20th President

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

Reviewed: 01-23-19

James Garfield, like many accomplished Americans, overcame multiple hurdles before reaching the achievement that would put him in the history books. He grew up the youngest child in humble home. His mother & older brother both saw the direction that James was headed, in the same underachieving way of his family. But James was proving to be quite the intellectual. His family would sacrifice much of their accumulated wealth to finance young Garfield's way into a prestigious school. His excellence in education as well as leadership quickly became apparent to those that would help to set him upon his path to greatest & the Presidency. Garfield did not seem to have an trouble wooing all those he came in contact with....perhaps not ALL. Charles Guiteau had lofty dreams of being a "somebody" in the modern-day political scene. He made connections with as many high society members as possible in order to rocket himself to political greatness. When when Garfield wouldn't meet with him or take his recommendations on his next steps in the office of the President, Guiteau "heard a revalation from God" --- to kill the President to make way for Chester Arthur to take his position. After some time of planning out the perfect assassination, Guiteau made his move & shot President Garfield while he was walking through a train station. Garfield stayed strong, & thanks to some of the greatest medical minds of the time, he rallied & lived for another couple of months. Despite the valiant efforts of all of those involved in the President's case, he would eventually pass away due to infection from the bullet wound. Guiteau would be tried for murder, found guilty, & hanged in public for all to witness. Even with the death of American's most hated man of the day, it did not seem as though justice had truly been served for the untimely passing of their beloved President.

I read a graphic novel (aka comic strip novel) based on the assassination of President Garfield. Admittedly I didn't know much about President Garfield prior to reading the above mentioned book, but the author laid out the events of the story in such a fascinating way that I knew I needed to read more on the subject. While discussing my thoughts on the graphic novel with a dear friend of mine, she was quick to recommend a book that she thought might satisfy my new-found curiosity on President Garfield & his assassination. As usual, her recommend was spot-on. Author Candice Millard offered ample insight into the event that rocked the nation in the late 19th century, & once again, the book led me into an even deeper desire to read more on the subject.

Age recommendation: 14 & up (graphic description of medical procedures, attempted murder)

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 8.

  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes

  • Outlander, Book 6
  • By: Diana Gabaldon
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 57 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 13,678
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12,296
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 12,253

A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the saga of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century, time-traveling wife, Claire. The year is 1772, and the rift between Britain and its American colonies has put a frightening word into the minds of all concerned: revolution. In the backwoods of North Carolina, violence has already reared its ugly head, as cabins have been burned to the ground. To preserve the colony for King George III, the governor pleads with Jamie to bring the people together and restore peace. But Jamie has the burden of knowing that war cannot be avoided.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unabridged!

  • By JerryT on 05-20-11

Life Continues in the American Colonies

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

Reviewed: 01-23-19

Another installment of Jaime & Claire's life & work in the American Colonies with Roger, Brianna, Jemmy, & others by their side. Stephen Bonnet reenters the scene for a final time, Roger finds his calling, trouble continues to brew in the colonies as the American Revolution gains force, & the new bun in the over gives concern enough to send a few family members to another time. So many changes, yet so much normal day-to-day life happening in book #6.

I thoroughly enjoyed those books that were set in Scotland. I long to see one day the beautiful scenery that was painted in mind as I read these books. I also liked the brief stop in the Caribbean with it's magic, mystery, chance visits with old friends, & discovery that one of those friends was really not a friend at all. Bringing the characters to America was a bit disappointing for me since that meant for the time being there would be no more Scotland imagery. However, as the story of their life in the colonies continues to unfold, I am finding that I am possibly more in love with this marriage of beloved characters making my beloved home their home & the portrayal of one of my favorite events in history, the American Revolution.

Age recommendation: 18 & up (rape, kidnapping, polygamy, execution, sexual situations)

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 10!

  • In Cold Blood

  • By: Truman Capote
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 14 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,055
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,200
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,198

Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s a story that most people know, told here in an unforgettable way – an audio masterpiece that rivals the best thrillers, thanks to Capote genre-defining words and Brick’s subtle but powerful characterizations. On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Still the Best

  • By Lisa on 01-10-06

Infamous Kansas Murders

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

Reviewed: 12-07-18

Dick Hickcock & Perry Smith. For the current residents of Kansas, these names may or may not be easily recognizable. If they lived in Kansas between the years of 1959-1965, however, they are not only recognizable, but they likely bring up vivid memories of a dark, sad time in Kansas history. As a lifetime Kansas resident myself, I can't say that I knew these names for several years, but I sure knew of the story that is attached to them. You see, Kansas doesn't have many claims-to-fame, so when there is a event that catches national news & attention that took place in Kansas, it's going down in the history books & will never be forgotten. Such is the case with the Clutter family murders. Again, if you simply mention the name Clutter, the person may or may not be able to tell you what you are looking for. But I don't know a single Kansas person that wouldn't know what you're talking about if you said "In Cold Blood". It was in Holcomb, Kansas that this story terrible event took place. Herbert Clutter & his wife & 2 youngest children were senselessly murdered in their home by Dick Hickcock & Perry Smith. Hickcock & Smith were looking for a safe that they were led to believe contained a large amount of cash. When their treasure-seeking efforts were turning up fruitless, they killed the family as to leave no witnesses as they had agreed upon. When some friends of Nancy, the 16-yr old daughter, came to see why she & her family hadn't picked them up for church on the morning of November 15, 1959, they would discover the body of their friend lying lifeless in her bed. This began an investigation that would send the townspeople into a state of fear for the next several weeks. Even after the mystery was solved & the killers were identified, the shock of the event would not leave this small town for years to come. Truman Capote captured the details of the event & specifically the the killers & their lives from childhood to execution in amazing detail in this book.

I remember hearing the story that I only knew as "In Cold Blood" as a child growing up in Kansas. I remember watching the original 1967 movie adaption of the book as well as the 1996 TV mini-series adaption. But it wasn't until today that I finished the book. Wow. I'm glad I waiting until I was an adult to read the book. The amount of detail & additional stories of similar killings that are contained in the story add to the interest for me, but the entire thing would've given me nightmares in my youth. There is also something to be said about having grown up in a similar small, farming town to the one in which the story happened. I'm not sure I could've slept for weeks thinking of all of the similarities between the 2 communities & thought of all of the "what ifs" that could've taken place. In addition to this, his most notable, book, I have also read Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's". He is a top-notch writer, & I will be seeking out more of his stories to read soon.

Age recommendation: 16 & up (details of murder, execution)

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 8.

  • Frankenstein

  • By: Mary Shelley
  • Narrated by: Dan Stevens
  • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,344
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,000
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,989

Narrator Dan Stevens ( Downton Abbey) presents an uncanny performance of Mary Shelley's timeless gothic novel, an epic battle between man and monster at its greatest literary pitch. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor to the very brink of madness. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship, scientific hubris, and horror.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Modern Prometheus

  • By Anon on 07-23-18

My Heart is for the Monster

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

Reviewed: 10-19-18

Learned something---Frankenstein is not the name of the monster but the scientist! Ok, moving on. REALLY liked the story (& the writing).....very sad though. I'm torn between feeling sorry for the monster & being angry with him. Definitely didn't care for Frankenstein. What a jerk. However, I couldn't stop reading/listening. You kinda knew what was coming, & yet you kept going, hoping you would be proved wrong.

Age recommendation: 14 & up

On a scale of 1 - 10 stars, I give it 9.

  • Because of Mr. Terupt

  • By: Rob Buyea
  • Narrated by: Arielle DeLisle, Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 4 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 469
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 401
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 402

It's the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There's Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who's having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school. Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Top notch YA book

  • By Nothing really matters on 01-08-16

Ode to Teachers that Touch the Souls of Students

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

Reviewed: 09-29-18

Mr Terupt is one of those teachers that knows just how to get to the heart of each of his students. And just like every class, there are those select few that need a little extra patience, love, & attention. This year's 5th grade class is no exception. Peter, Jeffrey, Luke, Anna, Jessica, Danielle, & Alexia are each very different from one another, but through a chain of events, they each begin to find common ground that will bind them together as special friends. And it all started with one special teacher ..... Mr Terupt. But will Mr Terupt be around to witness the fruits of his labor? Only God knows.

This book is written for a 5th/6th grade audience, but it was an excellent story for readers of all ages. It's a good reminder that we should go out of our way to be kind to all people. We just may find that through all of our differences, there may be some important things that make us similar. Our hero, Mr Terupt, is that person in our life that saw through each of our hard, outer shells & saw the part of us that needed love the most. And it was that "Mr Terupt" in our life that stopped at nothing to help us see that person inside ourselves. Although I was reading a story about these 7 children & their teacher, I was picturing myself, my childhood friends, & those special teachers that poured into us to make us the people that we have become. Now that I've finished the book, I think it's time to go write a few "thank you" notes to let those teachers know just what an impact they had in my life.

Age recommendation: 10 & up (broken family dynamics, constant changes in narrator)

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 8.