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Blue Zion

Utah
  • 28
  • reviews
  • 81
  • helpful votes
  • 37
  • ratings
  • Heavy

  • By: Kiese Laymon
  • Narrated by: Kiese Laymon
  • Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,420
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,329
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,326

Kiese Laymon is a fearless writer. In his essays, personal stories combine with piercing intellect to reflect both on the state of American society and on his experiences with abuse, which conjure conflicted feelings of shame, joy, confusion, and humiliation. Laymon invites us to consider the consequences of growing up in a nation wholly obsessed with progress yet wholly disinterested in the messy work of reckoning with where we’ve been. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Heavy

  • By Jessica H. on 10-23-18

Heavy in its honesty - Gorgeous prose

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

Reviewed: 02-06-19

Memoirs are a difficult thing. Telling your story inevitably means telling the stories of others - particularly those who are family. I imagine it is hard to navigate that line between appropriate and crossing - especially if it is your intent to be brutally honest.

This might be the most brutally honest memoir I have ever read. Laymon lays out his faults and scars bare, for the world to see. He explains in beautiful prose how he accumulated those scars, and how society crafted the circumstances that caused them to be. It's impossible to understand what Black people go through in this country, without having lived their experiences, but this book gives us the most intimate glimpse into the reality of generational racism in this country.

The institutionalized racism is the most poisonous. The subtle nuances that keep people of color from thriving, even when they are poised to thrive. Those are difficult things to understand and what we should be talking about the most.

  • Skyward

  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Suzy Jackson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 10,187
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9,655
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 9,640

From Brandon Sanderson, the number one New York Times best-selling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, and the internationally best-selling Mistborn series, comes the first book in an epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war for humanity's future.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • If you like Ender's Game or Sanderson check it out

  • By Kingsley on 11-08-18

Clunky dialog - great ending

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

Reviewed: 01-30-19

Three stars in terms of typical Sanderson storytelling. This book had a very slow start with some pretty clunky dialogue in the first half of the book, but the ending was spectacular and definitely makes me look forward to installment #2.

  • Circe

  • By: Madeline Miller
  • Narrated by: Perdita Weeks
  • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,121
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12,277
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,203

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child - not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring, like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power - the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Refined writing with an intimate performance

  • By Michael - Audible Editor on 04-11-18

10 out of 5 Stars

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

Reviewed: 01-20-19

I fell pretty hard into this book. I was completely pulled into Miller's world of old Greek Mythology, and sad when it all ended. I'm still decompressing.

This is a gorgeous addition to the pantheon of Greek Gods with the reimagined story of a lesser God, Circe. She is just the heroine we all need in the resurgence of misogyny and threats against women's rights. She's a badass Tital from ancient times. She's a witch for us all.

This was the perfect story with the perfect ending, and gorgeous prose. Miller is a word goddess in her own right.

I listened to this book on Audible, and the narrator, Perdita Weeks, was just magical. She brought Madeline Miller's words to life, definitely adding to the experience of all the magic.

  • Manhattan Beach

  • A Novel
  • By: Jennifer Egan
  • Narrated by: Norbert Leo Butz, Heather Lind, Vincent Piazza
  • Length: 15 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,881
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,556
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,551

Anna Kerrigan, nearly 12 years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Anna observes the uniformed servants, the lavishing of toys on the children, and some secret pact between her father and Dexter Styles. Years later her father has disappeared, and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Narrative of a Girl Diver

  • By WillowGirl313 on 10-30-17

An almost story

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

Reviewed: 12-27-18

The prose in this book is lovely, but the story was extremely fractured, alienating you from every character in the book. It's like you almost get to know them but never really understand motive. This feels like a passion piece - or a particular era that Egan has always wanted to write about, but could never quite get all the right pieces. Is it a book about feminism, the mob? Who knows. I'd skip this one.

  • Sapiens

  • A Brief History of Humankind
  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,285
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16,129
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,040

Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Take the Negative Reviews w/ a Grain of Salt

  • By Gabriel on 08-29-18

Should be required reading

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

Reviewed: 12-22-18

Part science, part pontification, purely thought provoking. This book may not make you change your life, but it will certainly impact the way you think about your life. I'm not an anthropology wonk, so learning about the evolution of Sapiens was educational for me, and I enjoyed that it was infused with humor to humanize it a bit. The book is also infused with a lot of Harari's own biases on religion, veganism, consumerism - and so forth. I loved this about the book - others might find it irritating.

There is a very long chapter on how our consumerism has been absolutely devastating to the animals we share the planet with. It was difficult to read, and not because it isn't true, but because it made me feel like shit. I don't know that I'll go full on vegan, but I recognize my impact and I am committed to cutting my meat consumption significantly.

The ending is pretty bleak, but we have also innovated our way into a pretty scary crossroads. Which road will we take? Moving on to Homo Deus. This is one of the those books that should be required reading for everyone. I'm going to recommend it to all of my friends. All two of them.

74 of 79 people found this review helpful

  • The Witch Elm

  • A Novel
  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Paul Nugent
  • Length: 22 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,513
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,209
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 4,194

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who's dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life - he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden - and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Yes, the Main Character Comes Off Poorly, But...

  • By Marina on 10-19-18

Slow burn, long explanation

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

Reviewed: 10-30-18

Tana French is the queen of the long belabored explanation of the how and why behind her mysteries, and her wrap ups are always too convoluted. Witch Elm is no exception. I might keep coming back to her books, because her writing is gorgeous and her character development is always so careful and real.

The narrator was incredible. I might have never made it through this slow burn drudgery if he had not done such an amazing job pulling me in.

  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

  • A Novel
  • By: Gail Honeyman
  • Narrated by: Cathleen McCarron
  • Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,838
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 28,550
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,448

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Close To Perfection--A Definite Thumbs Up!

  • By Kathy on 08-07-17

Gorgeous surprise

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

Reviewed: 07-30-18

I loved this book so much. I don't want to give anything away about the quirky Eleanor, but the journey of learning about her past and her heart as she did was fantastic. The book is funny, painfully sad and triumphant. Kudos to the narrator who did a wonderful job of bringing Eleanor to life.

  • A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea

  • One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival
  • By: Melissa Fleming
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 99
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84

Doaa Al Zamel was once an average Syrian girl growing up in a crowded house in a bustling city near the Jordanian border. But in 2011 her life was upended. Inspired by the events of the Arab Spring, Syrians began to stand up against their own oppressive regime. When the army was sent to take control of Doaa's hometown, strict curfews, power outages, water shortages, air raids, and violence disrupted everyday life.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I Normally Like Robin Miles...

  • By Daryl on 03-25-18

An important look into the Syrian crisis

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

Reviewed: 06-13-18

While I very much enjoyed learning more about the Syrian crisis, and getting a humanizing glimpse at real people who have endured real suffering, something was missing. I admire Melissa Fleming's courage to bring this story to the world stage, but I felt like the writing might have been more compelling and resonant in more capable hands. I wanted to actually get to know Dooa, and better understand her motivations - but I always felt like we were never allowed below the surface. Perhaps a lot was lost in translation. While it was conveyed that Doaa was magnetic and charismatic, those were just words. I wanted to FEEL as much. I truly hope she and her family are prospering and feel safe with their new life in Sweden.

  • Born a Crime

  • Stories from a South African Childhood
  • By: Trevor Noah
  • Narrated by: Trevor Noah
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 109,238
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 101,183
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 100,700

One of the comedy world's fastest-rising stars tells his wild coming of age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. Noah provides something deeper than traditional memoirists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • On and On and On and On

  • By Amazon Customer on 08-15-17

Can I give this book 10 stars?

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

Reviewed: 06-13-18

I have only watched snippets of Trevor Noah's show, and am therefore not super familiar with his work. That is about to change. Noah is a craftsman at telling the story of his youth growing up in South Africa. Ultimately, this book is a love story to his mother. What a fantastic tribute to an incredible woman who raised an equally incredible and accomplished son. Trevor's narration is fun, emotional, and deeply moving.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Kick Ass with Mel Robbins

  • Life-Changing Advice from the Author of “The 5 Second Rule”
  • By: Mel Robbins
  • Narrated by: Mel Robbins
  • Length: 6 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,706
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,948
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,908

Want more out of life? You're not alone. And best-selling author Mel Robbins is here to help with no-bullshit life and business advice that you won't get anywhere else. This follow-up to The 5-Second Rule - available only in audio - takes the classic talk-show format and elevates it to a premium audio experience. Listen to private, one-on-one coaching sessions between the celebrated motivational speaker and people like you - people who want better relationships, to be healthier and more productive, to get unstuck from destructive habits.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A $26 Podcast

  • By Sam Cochrane on 06-01-18

Meh-ish

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

Reviewed: 06-13-18

I was unfamiliar with Mel Robbins when I purchased this book, and was definitely lured by the ratings. I think this series might have been better as a podcast. The advice sessions were more suited to that medium. The first session was interesting, funny and the advice insightful. After that initial story, the book started to feel like Sally Jesse Raphael, and other shows of that ilk. So many of the people were just unlikable and I was often concerned about what felt like a jump to conclusions and hoped that it was just a result of creative editing.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful