Category: Audible



Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American PoliticsPlaying with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics by Lawrence O’Donnell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like Lawrence O’Donnell. He’s not my favorite. But I relate to him in that he is about Southern California where others are all in New York. I relate to him because he’s close in age to me. He seems to see things the way I do, most of the time. Not always. So when I had another credit on Audible I decided to grab his book.

It makes me a little embarrassed to admit that this was tough to get through. Not because it was a difficult read or that Mr. O’Donnell is boring. It is just… well… I lived through this history.

1968 is the year I graduated. The draft and Viet Nam were in the news and alive in our school. The boys who graduated the year before us were drafted. By 1968 we lost so many guys that were friends. So this history is painful. Oh, and if we didn’t lose the guys to death they went to Canada and we never saw them again. Or they killed themselves. It was a hard time to be a teen. In our high school, the spirit of our class was depressed. We lost most of the games. The year before and the year after the spirit was normal. But I really feel that that depression that lived in our souls was due to everyone knowing we might not see each other again. So I entered this read with that heavy weight.

Not only was this hard to listen to because of the death of friends, but we’d also lived through Kennedy being assassinated and the disharmonious political life was on the news every day. Listening to the political upheaval again did give me a little understanding as to what happened but it also hurt like reliving it all. As my bedtime book it brought dreams back I never wanted to see again.

On the other hand, if you didn’t graduate that year, especially if you are younger, this is an important look at that history. Lawrence reads and tells this history with reverence and his research was deep. Even if you aren’t his fan, this may give a bit of history to your political understanding. I know I am nowhere near politically adept, I like seeing how others perceived that time. Just like now, our families, friends, churches, and personal experiences color how we see our moment in time. It wasn’t quite such a divided world as it is now, and yet it was. Walter Cronkite helped us get through some of it but I can remember family members arguing about all of it. A Catholic President? Unheard of! The Pope will be running the show. Yep, I heard that said. People who were marching were unAmerican? Really? What about the Tea Party? Anyway, if you get the chance, read or listen to this and see what you can remember way back then.

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Wives and DaughtersWives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I just wrote on the Kindle version on GoodReads, I found the text-to-speech didn’t work for me. I had an Audible credit sitting there when my friend recommended this book so I pick this up. The Kindle and the Audible didn’t synch up so I gave up trying to read while listening and just listened.

The story didn’t grab me as much as the narrator’s voice and her ability to characterize the whole story. It took me a longer time than books usually take but I felt I needed to soak Nadia May’s storytelling in. She was fantastic. I could see the story as if I were watching it in a movie. It might make a fun movie.

Since this was the Victorian British Isles, the history of women shows. It shows how far we’ve come and yet how far we need to go until there would be real equality. Even the title represents the ownership of fathers and husbands. Yet it is a good example that young women today should read and take their time to soak in why many modern women are still not happy with our positions in life.

Still, just as a story it is fun. Often I would get bored with it and then Nadia May’s voice and excitement would pull me back in. I’m glad I read it. Give it a try.

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Any Man: A NovelAny Man: A Novel by Amber Tamblyn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am still torn as to what to say about this book. I finished listening a couple of days ago. Yes, this was an Audible version. It was narrated by Glenn Davis, Robin Miles, Therese Plummer, Dan Bittner, James Fouhey, Michael Crouch, Ben Foster, Marc Maron. Very well acted out. Kept me awake even after I closed the Kindle and crawled under the covers. For that reason, I give the trigger warnings. Rape is the topic. The only difference is it is a man that is raped. Somehow it reads the same regardless of who is the victim. So pain and torture are somewhat spelled out. It doesn’t matter the perp’s gender either.

This could easily help those in the right frame of mind. It seems a therapy of sorts for the author. I do suggest if you get the chance and feel up to it to listen to the Audible version. Meanwhile, it is read at your own discretion. I love Amber Tamblyn. I saw her on a talk show and loved what she has to say about the #MeToo movement and feminism. I’m glad that men showed their support by acting out this story.

I hope this book gets a lot of readers. I think it can help many people. Just be warned.

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The Host (The Host, #1)The Host by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It has been weeks since I finished ‘reading’ this book. I couldn’t decide how I felt about it. I think it is somewhere between hating it and being okay with it.

Kate Reading was the narrator. I nearly returned the Audible version. The voice seemed all wrong for the alien. And all wrong for the strong host.

The story did start to get interesting about halfway in. We finally meet the human tribe hiding from the aliens. I liked some of them. But the narrator’s voice seemed wrong for these characters, too. It amazes me that I stuck with this book in spite of how I felt listening to it every night.

The ending was a surprise for me and satisfying. I know a lot of people loved this story. The writing was good. But it didn’t do much for me.

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The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This audiobook (CD) was in the put-away-bag at the library and I couldn’t resist. I knew it was a fairly recent movie so I couldn’t wait to try it out.

Ah, but I wasn’t crazy for it. You would think it would do it for me. I used to take the train to work every day. I know how that imagination can take you places the train doesn’t. In fact, riding the train was how I wrote my first book. So that part of the first character grabbed me. That she had stories in her head about the people she saw in the homes she passed made her an interesting character to me. But somehow I mostly didn’t like her.

It was when the next character voice came in that I perked up my ears. Her voice reminded me of Gilly, Sam’s crush on Game of Thrones. I guess it is just her accent but having that familiar voice had me listening more closely. And I did like this character.

About the time I got into the story my CD player gave up. I ended up using my credit on Audible to get the audio onto my Kindle. That worked out better.

It has been over a week since I finished this book. Lots of life has happened since. So my memories are eroding. Still, I remember how I stayed up until 3 the last part of the book. It was well written and kept me interested.

The narrators: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher were fantastic and different enough to keep me from getting the characters confused.

As the librarian had warned me, don’t read the last bit at night before sleep it is a thriller and it will keep you awake. Still, it was a good read. I’m glad I read it.

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The Blessing Way (Navajo Mysteries, #1)The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Narrated by George Guidall, I nearly gave this book back to Audible. He was a very boring narrator. But I got used to him and near the end, he started using some expression in his voice. I had the Kindle version but wanted to be busy with my hands while listening. I didn’t want to follow the text. So I stuck with it.

Two things against this book before I even got started so take this with that grain of salt. First, it doesn’t fit with my goal of reading women authors/women main characters. Second, I’m not much on mysteries. Most mysteries are murders. You know, I think better mysteries are those we live with every day. ‘Where’d I leave my keys or glasses?’

Since my friend gave me the CD of the next in the series I wanted to read the first book before diving in. I had ordered this from the library but Amazon told me I already had the book, so I canceled the loan.

I know this is a popular series and the plus is how well this author presents the Navajo people. Take a look. You might love it.

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A Different BlueA Different Blue by Amy Harmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am sad to finish this book. I was lucky to listen to the Audible version. Tavia Gilbert’s narration brought all the characters to life. There is no time that I thought I was hearing all one voice. Each character stood out on their own.

Whoever recommended this book to me, thank you. It was a book that I relished every minute. The main character had that spit fire attitude that I always enjoy. Think Max in Maximum Ride, only maybe even more so.

Though this is called a romance by other reviewers, it isn’t sappy and full of angst like other YA books. In fact, the romance is on the back burner as Blue tries to find her identity.

I even loved the secondary characters. I don’t know if they read as individualistic as the narrator made them sound but they were all lovable.

I almost gave the book four stars as there was a moment I nearly quit reading. It seemed to take Blue into a Jesus saves moment. Not that that is a bad thing in itself. It just didn’t fit with the rest of the story and I thought it was going to stay religious preaching rather than be a story of a person growing. Luckily the author didn’t stay with that theme and allowed Blue to continue life trying to be a good person. Never in a preachy way, just living as life came to her. It almost gave a realness to the story rather than distract. That could happen.

There were points where the book could have ended but the author remembered to cover all the loose thread and tidied up the ending so nicely.

One thing that bothered me is something that always bothers me. Why did Blue stop being herself? Just because a guy finally accepts and love abounds doesn’t mean a woman should become all sweet and pliable. It became too close to the common story of happily ever after and I don’t think that is acceptable now. There should be a part two where Blue realized what all brides need to learn–we have to stay ourselves to make a whole not lose ourselves and become the other person.

I highly recommend this book. Let me know what you think

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Blackbird HouseBlackbird House by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let’s suppose there was a plot of land that was the main character of a book. I would have done better had I known that simple fact. For some reason, the Kindle version did not download properly so I just listened to the Audible version.

I could have done without the first narrator. Oh, goodness what a bombastic voice! The rest of the narrators were great. In fact, it was fun that each chapter, which was each new inhabitant of the property got a new voice many of them were fantastic!

When I finally got my Kindle to download, I did much better as I could read along with the Audible. In fact, it synched perfectly.

Alice Hoffman has become one of my favorite authors. Remember she is the one who wrote Practical Magic. So I had to grab this when it was on special. This one read similarly to the Red Garden. She refers to witches and red shoes and other symbolism that would be fun to discuss in a book group.

I may have to read this again someday as I know there was a lot more there than I absorbed. One of my issues with the book was I wanted more of each resident. I always felt each story too short. Maybe I wanted a series?

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Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White HouseFire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I heard this book was being banned by the president, I knew I had to read it The surest way to get me to read something is forbid it. The way to get me to avoid a book is to assign it.

We picked up the Kindle and the Audible but it wasn’t WhisperSynched. So I gave up trying to get them to work together and chose to listen to the author read his book. He did very well. And his writing kept the reader engaged.

As for the information, it is all the stories we have seen acted out since last January. It often felt like reruns but just when you felt that, you would see newer information as to why those things might have happened. Not from the author’s eye but his eyewitnesses who gave testimonies of what they had seen/lived in the White House.

I’m not going to tell you to read it. You will or you won’t. I found it interesting and am glad I read it. You judge for yourself.

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American GodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if you mix a radio show, comparative religion, with a road trip? This is it!

Look, I see a lot of differing reviews on this book. I think if you are able to listen to the Audible version you would like it better. The many actors bring this far-fetched story alive. The narrators: Ron McLarty, Daniel Oreskes, and full cast (whatever that means) make you see gods, goddesses and dead people and other characters. They help you feel the cold, the pain, smell rot or smoke.

I don’t know if I would have liked the book had I just read it without the Audible narration. I think it might have been more meandering and possibly boring. What kept me going was wanting to see what would happen to the main character. And having a bit of interest in other religions and cultures I wanted to see how Neil Gaiman would portray them and the war between them as they were fading into the obscurity of disbelief.

This wasn’t my favorite book. It is very male-heavy. Goddesses and women were given little time or depth. BUT I doubt I will forget it and may want to read it again in a few years and see how it affects me then. I highly recommend using the audio version to immerse in this world, which may be America, but a different dimension than where most live.

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