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  • 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 24,363
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,085
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,028

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

Great Characters. No Real Mystery.

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

Reviewed: 02-05-19

The chracterization here is rich and deep, and the realism of these somewhat improbable situations will keep you reading. But there are no thrills and there is no mystery in this mystery-thriller. As soon as the reader meets Poppy, the entire “mystery” becomes clear, and it is only a matter of waiting while Laurel takes pages and pages to figure it out for herself. I cannot express my frustration at knowing the ending around the 1 hr mark and waiting 9 more hours to discover I was correct.

What is disappointing is that the author has a beautiful writing style, and you really do feel the emotions of the characters. My only wish is that her skills in slowly revealing a mystery were better developed. Why this had such high reviews, I cannot say. I would be willing to try another book from this author, but definitely Not a “thriller”.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Man on the Mountaintop

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Susan Trott, Libby Spurrier - adaptor
  • Narrated by: Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Clare Corbett, and others
  • Length: 5 hrs and 45 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,919
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,753
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,720

The Man on the Mountaintop tells the story of Holy Man Joe, an ageing and unassuming man who lives in a hermitage on top of a mountain. During the summer months, thousands of hopefuls line the path leading to his door, seeking his wisdom. From bombastic, wealthy nobles intent on cheating their way to the top to drunkards who gradually build the physical and mental strength they need to quit their addiction, The Man on the Mountaintop is a rousing tale full of humour, wit and life lessons.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simple - which is all you really need

  • By Solunari on 02-01-19

Could Not Finish

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

Reviewed: 01-16-19

If you’re going to give something away for free, please at least let it be good. This was a bad full cast recording where advice such as “When you fear death just be still and take deep breaths” is doled out like the deepest wisdom in the world. Maybe it is “spiritual” to shallow Hollywood types, but I found it mind-numbingly boring, pedantic, and just plain silly.

  • Atomic Marriage

  • By: Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Narrated by: Diane Lane
  • Length: 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 9,573
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8,641
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8,612

All marriages are hard. Many of them fail. Brock Lewis, an evangelical businessman turned self-published author, has the answer. Follow his international bestselling book’s 12-point “Atomic Doctrine” - make eye contact with your spouse? Always! Use the bathroom in front of them? Never! - and you, too, can build a marriage that thrives.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable but lacking any real oomp at the end

  • By Kingsley on 01-04-19

A Cliched Short Story

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

Reviewed: 01-14-19

First, I suppose it is my fault for believing this was a full book. It’s not. It’s a short story and lasts less than an hour.

Beyond that, my issue is that the story had an interesting premise. And in book form, maybe that premise could have been fully explored. Instead, the author squanders the potential of an in-depth character study in favor of flat cliched stereotyped characters.

There is a selfish woman in a marriage that has gone bad because she stopped trying and treats her husband like garbage. And then there is a pastor who has written a book to help people in their marriages... except that of course he is a bigot and a hypocrite because our Very unreliable heroine narrator accuses him of flirting when he (gasp) put sunscreen on her face. Mind you, he never kisses her or even makes a pass but apparently he’s an a-hole for being a kind, charisma

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Couple Next Door

  • A Novel
  • By: Shari Lapena
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13,135
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,856
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11,816

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all - a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Plot twist overload

  • By RueRue on 10-12-16

Wasted Potential

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

Reviewed: 10-30-16

This book started off well. I thought it would compare the beginning to the book Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois. Cartwheel was a fictionalized version of the Amanda Knox story/trial and kept me guessing whether or not the main character had committed the crime.

At the beginning of this book, I thought the author was going for a fictionalized version of the Jon Benet Ramsey murder. Here are two parents, both with a lot of secrets to hide, and suddenly their daughter goes missing and may be dead.

Unfortunately, instead of keeping readers guessing or at least SHOWING us what happened, about an hour or so in the author bluntly TELLS about a major part of the crime. There is no guessing or mystery to solve from that point on. The end is a disappointment as the author again TELLS instead of SHOWS a second and third "twist" that 1. I had guessed hours before and 2. Were rushed through with little explanation or description.

It's a kidnap for ransom story the type of which you can see on NCIS or CSI or Criminal Minds just about any day of the week. I did listen to the whole thing, and as a thriller it's not horrible. But it's not original either, and I was disappointed for what could have been a great tale.

  • Finding Audrey

  • By: Sophie Kinsella
  • Narrated by: Gemma Whelan
  • Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 908
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 822
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 824

An anxiety disorder disrupts 14-year-old Audrey's daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother's gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she's never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I chuckled for six hours straight

  • By GH on 07-27-16

Don't Believe the Hype

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

Reviewed: 10-04-15

I do not know why this was rated so high. I can only guess that some of the lower reviews were suppressed and not posted. I love Sophie Kinsella books, but this book is neither funny nor well-written. The first half doesn't even deal with the title character. So, if you want to listen to a shrewish mother screaming at her sullen teenage son about how he plays too many video games, then this is the book for you. AND if you want to believe that mental illness can be cured by finding a cute boyfriend, then again, this is the book for you.

As someone who has actually dealt with anxiety and depression, I found this book ridiculous and repugnant. If the audience is the young adult crowd, then Kinsella is sending younger girls the message that boys can fix anything! Just find a boyfriend and you'll be cured. You'll like yourself again and you'll be happy, and your anxiety attacks will magically disappear!

However, the book isn't written for young adults. Audrey's mother is more of the main character than Audrey herself, and the unfunny plot is more about Audrey's parents dealing with her brother than with Audrey. Because the bullying incident that precipitated Audrey's anxiety and agoraphobia is never described or explained, you get the idea that her problems are caused by her parents... because they should be blamed for everything, apparently.

Further complicating the listen is that the majority of the book is read by one actress. However, there are occasional breaks featuring Audrey's "film" where other people read. The difficulty is that the film transcript portions don't differ in tone at all from the rest of the first-person narration. In these portions, there are different voices reading, except that the woman doing the primary narration reads the "screen directions," but does not seem to read for Audrey and the brother's voice is deeper than the father's, which is bizarre, since he's supposed to be a younger teen. The film transcript portions are exceedingly annoying. I don't like full cast recordings, typically, and I wish this had been listed because the device does not work.

12 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • The Single Girl’s To-Do List

  • By: Lindsey Kelk
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Harwood
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 170
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 152
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 152

A hilarious and romantic standalone novel from the bestselling author of the I Heart series, Rachel Summers loves a to-do list: Boyfriend – Flat - Great job. NOT on the list: Being dumped - Best friends Emelie and Matthew ride to her rescue with an entirely new kind of list – The Single Girl’s To-Do List.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A fun read

  • By Mistress of Romance on 03-07-18

Fun Story, Boring Narration

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

Reviewed: 08-08-15

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would recommend the book to friends who like chick lit, but the actual written book-- not the audio book. The narrator read the book without any type of energy or flair. I think it could have been a great book if she had not half-slept through the performance.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Single Girl’s To-Do List?

Some of the actual items on the list were fun. It was quite predictable, but the sort of fluff I was looking for.

Would you be willing to try another one of Cassandra Harwood’s performances?

NO. She has a great voice, honestly, but she had no energy. Everything was very flat.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Probably. I think with a few edits and a focus on the actual to-do list instead of the predictable romance, it could make for a funny movie. I think the movie, if edited correctly would be funnier than the book

Any additional comments?

If you're looking for fluff chick lit, pick up the book and skip the audio version.

  • Enna Burning

  • Books of Bayern, Book 2
  • By: Shannon Hale
  • Narrated by: Cynthia Bishop
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 211
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 184
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 184

It’s been two years since Enna was swept up in a heart-pounding court adventure. Now, having returned to her old life in the forests of Bayern, she is growing restless. When a strange force takes possession of her brother, Liefer, she returns to the capital to seek the help of her friend Isi, Bayern’s princess. But Bayern is tottering on the verge of war with neighboring Tira. When endowed with the terrifying gift that destroyed Liefer, Enna takes herself to war - only to embark on an epic journey of discovery and betrayal that will force her to come of age.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not the Same Enna

  • By MC on 06-06-13

Not the Same Enna

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

Reviewed: 06-06-13

Would you consider the audio edition of Enna Burning to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version, but I'm not a huge fan of a "full cast recording," especially when one of the main readers, the boy who plays Finn has a speech impediment. His s is overpronounced and sometimes pronounced with an sh sound so that "yes" comes out "yesh" or "yeth." It was incredibly distracting.

What did you like best about this story?

I don't really know how to answer this. The Goose Girl is based on a fairy-tale and I think that format helps Hale quite a bit. When departing from the fairy-tale, she sometimes becomes lost. This book had a lot of battles and therefore a lot of repetition. Once Enna is captured by the enemy, the story becomes much more personal and interesting. However, I still did not enjoy it as much as the Goose Girl or the Princess Academy series. I don't know whether I'll get the third and fourth books in the Bayern series. I might read them from the library instead since this book was a slight disappointment and only multi-cast recordings are available.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I would rather have listened to a narrator instead of a full-cast recording. A good narrator can create characters. 10-15 people aren't necessary and they're more distracting than anything. I do think this detracted from the story.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

*Contains Spoilers*
The descriptions of the fire calling to Enna to burn. I liked the fact that she saw what happened to her brother and thought she could do the same, but come off unscathed. The author's descriptions were very similar to explaining an addiction.

I also thought the parts with her lover were particularly moving. If anyone has been in a relationship with a manipulative person, or if you've ever read about Stockholm Syndrome, you can relate to what she went through.

Any additional comments?

*Contains Spoilers*
If you read or listened to Goose Girl, you remember Enna as a strong and loyal friend. For most of this book, she's a traitorous wench who hops into bed with the first smooth talking man she comes across. It's disgusting to see these changes, particularly because she completely gets away with it in the end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Girl with Glass Feet

  • By: Ali Shaw
  • Narrated by: Heather O'Neill
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 53
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 47

Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Haudas Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts, a mainlander who has visited the islands only once before. Yet during that one fateful visit the glass transformation began to take hold, and now she has returned in search of a cure.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A little too transparent

  • By Jenny on 05-21-13

Beautiful, but Slow and Hollow

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

Reviewed: 05-13-13

Overall, I did not like this book. The book is beautifully written. However, it is horribly sad. The depressing plot wouldn't have put me off completely, but in the book, not much is explained, and it moves at a snail's pace.

There are two main characters: Ida and Midas. This is their love story. Then, there is a character who used to be in love with Midas' mother and a character who used to be in love with Ida's mother. This characterization seemed redundant.

Nothing is fully explained. Ida is turning to glass. There are tiny bulls with moth wings. There is a creature that turns every being it sees pure white. None of these phenomena are explained. I don't expect things to be fully explained in a fairy tale, but some explanation is necessary, particularly when all the characters are scrambling to stop Ida from turning to glass completely.

Beyond the explanation, there needed to be more plot. The book felt like a short story that the author kept trying to expand. There are just not enough exciting incidents. Instead, what we get is talking and apologizing and explaining and sitting around talking some more. This book had so much potential, and the story basis could have gone in a lot of different directions. Instead, it just went nowhere, leaving me depressed and disappointed.

The Kitchen House audiobook cover art
  • The Kitchen House

  • A Novel
  • By: Kathleen Grissom
  • Narrated by: Orlagh Cassidy, Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,666
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,219
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,212

Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin. Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is a must!

  • By AB on 09-04-10

Depressing

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

Reviewed: 03-17-13

Abuse, drug addiction, insanity, alcoholism, disease, death, rape, incest, pedophilia, and the horrors of slavery. If these topics are up your alley, you will love the Kitchen House. I did not. It is a depressing horrible story. I kept waiting for it to get better, and it got worse at every turn. Between the multiple themes, problems, and tragedies and the one-note flat characters, I will hopefully be able to return this book, which for no apparent reason was one of the "editor's picks" a few weeks back. Save your credits for something a little more uplifting and a little bit more well-written.

  • Smitten

  • By: Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and others
  • Narrated by: Pam Turlow
  • Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 79

Welcome to Smitten, Vermont. With the help of four friends, it's about to become the most romantic town in America. The proposed closing of the lumber mill comes as unwelcome news for the citizens of Smitten. How will the town survive without its main employer? A close-knit group of women think they’ve got just the plan to save Smitten.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great smalltown story.

  • By Linda on 04-05-12

Reads Like a Hallmark Movie

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

Reviewed: 03-16-13

The book has a lot to do with faith and love. I really like Kristin Billerbeck's other books. Also, I got it for a lighter read, and it did not disappoint in that area. However, the reader is too sickly sweet, and that hampered the book for me. (For example, there is a 12 year old who sounds like she's 4 or 5). I enjoyed the stories, but there was a bit too much repetition.

Essentially, you're getting 4 stories where a woman doesn't think she can be with a man because they're "just friends" and then all of the sudden, she has feelings for him. The thing is, these women are 30 not 13. By that age, you get over that idea and just talk to a man honestly. So, in that sense, the book did not ring true, and it was like hearing the same story 4 times.

I would have instead liked to hear just one story-- the third one in the book. It had a lot of potential-- a divorced father and a damaged woman, both now Christians after their mistakes and both looking for love and grace. But, with the constraints of this episodic novel, there just isn't enough time to fully explore their stories, so everything with them feels very rushed. Whereas the second and fourth stories don't have enough going on and feel very drawn out.

Overall, good for a lighter Christian read, but not as well written or narrated as it could have been. I may check out the second book in the series, but not until summer when another lighter read is in order.