LISTENER

Emily - Audible

NJ, United States
  • 45
  • reviews
  • 2,076
  • helpful votes
  • 225
  • ratings
  • How to Stop Time

  • By: Matt Haig
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 646
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 607
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 606

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history - performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life. So Tom moves back his to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher - the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city's history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I really wanted to like this

  • By Shauna on 02-20-18

Immortality is a bummer

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

Reviewed: 02-09-18

One of my favorite YA trilogies (I won't tell you which) is awesome until the very end when the heroine beats the bad guy by acquiring immortality. While my colleague Katie loved this ending, it always majorly disturbed me, and How to Stop Time is the perfect illustration of why. Immortality is a bummer, guys. Matt Haig's protagonist, Tom, though not technically immortal—just looking forward to a 900+ years—is depressed. Everyone he's ever dared to love is dead, and he can't really settle into a home for more than a decade or so without raising serious—and dangerous—suspicions. In his current identity he's based in London and teaching (of course) history, and this is why, despite Tom's glumness, I just LOVED this book. I may not wish for immortality, but I do wish I could travel back in time. Tom's narration whisks you back to the Tudor period, the Jazz Age, the Gold Rush, and there's something truly remarkable about looking at history from a bird's eye view: Tom has our (and by "our" I mean "we mere humans") number, and we aren't the smartest of beasts. We are quite literally repeating ourselves. And While Tom may be exasperated and even a bit bored by our antics, this is the least boring book I've devoured in quite some time. 

35 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • The Music Shop

  • A Novel
  • By: Rachel Joyce
  • Narrated by: Steven Hartley
  • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 732
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 687
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 686

It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop's owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another thing of beauty from Rachel Joyce

  • By Emily - Audible on 01-11-18

Another thing of beauty from Rachel Joyce

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

Reviewed: 01-11-18

How I love Rachel Joyce. In The Music Shop we meet Frank, an eternal optimist who knows about almost nothing except music, and who believes his vinyl record shop—which is struggling to remain relevant amidst the rise of CDs in 1980's Britain—is his venue by which to help the world. He has the intuitive ability to know what records people need to hear, and has even saved a marriage or two through his almost magical curation skills. Music geeks will eat this up (who doesn't want to hear Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata described as "punk"), but as in all of Joyce's stories, the true elegance comes from her identification of the turning points in a person's life. What are those micro-traumas that set a child on their seemingly accidental path; what was that moment of (in)decision that changed everything? As a parent, Joyce's prescience terrifies me, but I also can't look away. As a bonus track (pun!) Steven Hartley's narration—Google him, you know this guy—is masterful: in turns obsessively enthusiastic and heartbreaking, especially amazing given that it’s his first turn behind the mic.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Refugee

  • By: Alan Gratz
  • Narrated by: Michael Goldstrom, Kyla Garcia, Assaf Cohen
  • Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 641
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 583
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 582

This timely and powerful novel tells the story of three different children seeking refuge. Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world. Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America. Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intended for 5-8th graders, but it is good for adults too

  • By Lisa on 12-21-17

A Kids'-Eye View of Fleeing Home

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

Reviewed: 08-16-17

This heart-wrencher of a tale chronicles three separate journeys of children experiencing what none should have to: fleeing a home that is no longer safe. We meet Josef, a Jewish boy leaving Germany in 1939 as he boards the ill-fated ocean liner St. Louis; Isabelle, who, along with her family, flees Cuba as a 1994 rafter; and Mahmoud, who departs Aleppo in 2015, bound for (bringing us full circle) Germany. The stories, unfolding in alternating points of view, are benchmarked at the start of each chapter with a subhead: xx days from home, demonstrating that from a kids' vantage point, home - or lack of - is the only landmark that really matters.

The three accounts really took me into the heart of these historical moments in a way that news reports rarely do, each depicting a unique version of desperation, tragedy, and longing. But while I was on the edge-of-my-seat throughout, the ultimate conclusion is one of hope - that the sins of our collective past do in fact have the power to positively impact the choices we make in the future.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Northanger Abbey

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Jane Austen, Anna Lea - adaptation
  • Narrated by: Emma Thompson, Douglas Booth, Eleanor Tomlinson, and others
  • Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,766
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,619
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,614

A coming-of-age tale for the young and naïve 17-year-old Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey takes a decidedly comical look at themes of class, family, love and literature. Revelling in the sensationalist - and extremely popular - Gothic fiction of her day, the story follows Catherine out of Bath to the lofty manor of the Tilneys, where her overactive imagination gets to work constructing an absurd and melodramatic explanation for the death of Mrs Tilney, which threatens to jeopardise her newly forged friendships.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Treasure

  • By Emily - Audible on 07-21-17

A Treasure

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

Reviewed: 07-21-17

Northanger Abbey has always been one of my favorite Austen stories (along with Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and… oh). Anyway—it ranks WAY higher than Mansfield Park, at least. But I’ve always loved that it’s Austen’s most obvious play at satire, demonstrating, perhaps ironically (or maybe, given Austen’s own life, not at all) what kind of trouble a wild imagination can get a young woman into. So it lends itself beautifully to this new high-spirited, and very funny, dramatization. It even seems that Austen has herself been cast as the omniscient and wise narrator (and who else more fully embodies those qualities than the brilliant Emma Thompson?). If you love a good comedy of manners, don’t miss this delightful audio-only treasure.

64 of 67 people found this review helpful

  • Behind Her Eyes

  • A Novel
  • By: Sarah Pinborough
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck, Josie Dunn, Bea Holland, and others
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,546
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,586
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11,590

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar, and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she's thrilled she finally connected with someone. When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar...who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can't keep his eyes off Louise.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • What the heck...

  • By Allyssa R. on 06-16-17

#WTFthatending indeed.

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

Reviewed: 07-10-17

The publicists for Sarah Pinbourough's breakout novel love to point to a hashtag that arose from early reads of the book, #WTFthatending. It's a great hook: "this book has such a batsh*t insane denouement that people took to twitter to OMG about it!" So of course I was intrigued, but I generally assumed that this was more PR gimmick than anything… But as it turns out, "WTF" is pretty much how I've been feeling since I finished listening last month. In fact I'm only writing this review because I need to bleach my brain and I'm hoping this will be the catharsis I'm looking for.

After the initial five minutes (performed from the vantage point of a never-to-be-heard-from-again narrator) left me appropriately baffled, I was quickly sucked in and found firm footing within the dual-narration of the two main characters and their disparate personalities. We meet Adele, the naïve (but obviously not really), mistreated weakling of a wife, and Louise, the single mom who is both Adele's new insta-BFF and the woman sleeping with Adele's husband. The web of lies among the two, as well as the man in the middle, gets more and more tangled before it unravels, and you are never quite sure who's pulling which strings. Fair warning: there is an element within the premise of the story that you stumble upon about midway through that's admittedly a little farfetched, but by then you're so engrossed that you just go with it. Without revealing too much, I'll just say that as someone who loves a good multicast performance, I was fully aware that there was a fourth narrator in that casting line-up, and I felt - rightfully so it turns out - an immense amount of dread as I waited for them to show up.

Despite how insane this book made me feel, I still wouldn’t trade in the experience (though I'll let you know how I'm feeling in another month). If you're in the mood for a book that will haunt you this might be a good candidate, just be prepared to need a prompt mental palate cleanser. Can I recommend Her Royal Spyness, perhaps?

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • The Call

  • By: Peadar O'Guilin
  • Narrated by: Amy Shiels
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 815
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 770
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 772

Fourteen-year-old Nessa lives in a world where every teen will be "Called". It could come in the middle of the day, it could come deep in the night. But one instant she will be here, and the next she will wake up naked and alone in the Sidhe land. She will be spotted, hunted down, and brutally murdered. And she will be sent back in pieces by the Sidhe to the human world...unless she joins the rare few who survive for 24 hours and escape unscathed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Haunting, Harrowing, and Fantastic

  • By Amy on 09-03-16

A Brutal and Chilling Surprise

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

Reviewed: 05-12-17

I had this one sitting in my app for a while until I picked it up on a whim. Whoa. This book is not meant for stumbling into. Or maybe it is, and that accounts for the addictive freefall feeling it gave me. I was irretrievably sucked in within the first few minutes, when a teenage boy on a bus vanishes, returning three minutes later, dead, with miniature antlers sprouting from the back of his head. You come to learn that while he left the human world only briefly, he actually was hunted for 24 hours by the bloodthirsty and beautiful Sidhe, an ancient race of creatures taking their revenge for being cast out of Ireland millennia ago. Every teenager will at some point be called, and they are all furiously training for a slim chance at survival. The whole premise may seem ludicrous (The Call has been described by critics as The Hunger Games with faeries), but Paedar O'Guilin draws deep on mythology, pulling at the haunting threads of childhood ghost stories. Even if Irish folklore isn't in your personal cultural backlog, O'Guilin, along with the immersive, many-layered, Gaelic voice of narrator Amy Shiels, unearths a primal dread in the listener. For me it led to some sleepless nights but the nightmares were worth it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Lincoln in the Bardo

  • A Novel
  • By: George Saunders
  • Narrated by: Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and others
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,963
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,534
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,501

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A Mixed Bag

  • By Thomas More on 02-24-17

Otherworldly Brilliance

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

Reviewed: 02-14-17

Lincoln in the Bardo is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever listened to - and make no mistake - this one is meant to be listened to. 166 individual narrators (led by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, author George Saunders, and the incomparably sweet Kirby Heyborne as Willie) came together to voice this wildly surreal audiobook. And while that might sound like a production stunt, the breadth of voices is necessary to create the immersive cacophony effect (almost a Greek chorus of Americana) - because Saunders' first full-length novel, a hugely ambitious work that delivers a devastatingly accurate portrait of grief, is entirely voiced by ghosts.

The listener finds himself in a Georgetown Cemetary where young Willie Lincoln has just been laid to rest. The Civil War has only just begun, and Willie's grieving father (the president) returns to the graveyard in a state of stumbling and stricken shambles to look at and hold the body of his boy. This unorthodox behavior from a visitor triggers shocked confusion among the self-unaware dead who wonder what it means for their own fates. In rounding out his tale, Saunders depicts the real events of the time (those things happening outside of the graveyard) entirely through historical snippets and citations, and you eventually come to realize that these are also the impressions of the dead. The effect is such that the listener feels like he's spying in on a world completely outside of time, and defined only by the shifting perceptions of ethereal spirits. It's quite literally otherworldly, but the concerns of the voices feel recognizable, real, and at times contemporary, as every stratum of society is represented among the cast. Without a doubt this is one of the strangest books in our store - but please do not be discouraged by its oddity. There's some serious genius here.

141 of 172 people found this review helpful

  • Anna and the Swallow Man

  • By: Gavriel Savit
  • Narrated by: Allan Corduner
  • Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 809
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 739
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 745

Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She's alone. And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Maybe I'm not smart enough...

  • By Cheryl on 06-10-16

Quiet, lovely, and fiercely intelligent

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

Reviewed: 12-03-16

When Anna’s father (a linguistics professor in Krakow) is taken by the Nazis, Anna is left to fend for herself. Forming a sort of partnership with a man who like her also speaks innumerable languages, Anna and "the Swallow Man" take to the woods, trying to stay under the radar while the world self-destructs. Comparisons have naturally been made to The Book Thief, and with Allan Corduner at the narrative helm it hits many of the same notes, but Gavriel Savit’s gorgeous debut is perhaps a more finely formed thing. Unlike Zusak’s Liesel, Anna is on the run. While most young girls are trying to find themselves, Anna has learned from the Swallow Man that "to be found is to be gone forever". While a stunningly profound meditation on language as both identity and disguise during wartime, Anna and the Swallow Man also perfectly captures the simple poignancy of a child’s vantage point. This is one of my favorite books.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Secret Garden

  • By: Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Narrated by: Josephine Bailey
  • Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,305
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,984
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,987

When Mary Lennox's parents die from cholera in India, the spoiled orphan is transplanted to her uncle's 600-year-old gloomy and secretive estate in England. She is certain that she is destined for misery at Misselthwaite Manor. However, she soon discovers an arched doorway into an overgrown garden, locked shut since the death of her aunt 10 years earlier.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A magical getaway

  • By Catherine on 10-20-07

Reminded me of the total joy of childhood secrets

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

Reviewed: 06-28-16

I recently watched the film of The Secret Garden with my young daughter, and found myself as completely absorbed by the story as she was. A young orphan shipped off to live in a 100 room castle, surrounded by walled gardens and endless moorland? This is the perfect fertile ground for any adventure. Wanting more I decided to pick up this well-rated book and was drawn in immediately - and though I knew the story already I found it to be remarkably suspenseful. So while my book lover's heart is mildly ashamed that it was the movie that brought me to this one, I'm so glad it did. You don't have to be a child to enjoy this - or a parent for this matter. If you've ever yourself been a child who harbored an all-consuming secret, you will find yourself swept up in this tale. I can't imagine anyone not liking this book!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Sleeping Giants

  • By: Sylvain Neuvel
  • Narrated by: full cast
  • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,895
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,616
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,607

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Pretty good.

  • By Fluffy on 06-05-17

The multicast made it for me

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

Reviewed: 05-31-16

"Sometimes the perfect multicast can really make a book, as is the case with Neuvel's debut. The voices here forged in me a fierce sense of loyalty for the characters I came to care about, and utter hatred for one that was truly evil (who I don't think I would have hated nearly enough if it was the voice in my own head narrating) - and you will loathe her - she is the absolute worst. The unnamed central narrator evolved from someone who was initially off-putting to someone I was desperate to hear speak; he became a reassuring fatherly presence. Overall, the production quality elevated this one from a simple story (which I really shouldn't call "simple" since Sleeping Giants is a geo-political mystery/thriller epistolary novel with alien technology) to an immersive experience that made it feel, above all else, very personal. I was in the trenches with these guys. I can't wait for the next in the series."

15 of 22 people found this review helpful