Tag Archive: audible



An Unnecessary WomanAn Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this book to me. She and I are fascinated by languages. I think that was why she thought I would love this book. She was right.

I went looking for the book on Amazon and found the Kindle version a bit too pricey for my book budget. So I went to Audible and found I had a credit sitting there waiting for me to use. I was so glad I did! Suzanne Toren is a great voice for Aaliya Saleh, the woman living alone in Beirut, Lebanon.

Look, this book wasn’t nail-biting excitement or in anyway stress inducing. But I loved hanging out with Saleh. This is the reason I love books. It is a chance to travel to other places and get inside other people’s heads. This book is a perfect example of both of those. And it left me wanting to start doing my own translations for my own edification. I have plenty of books in other languages. I plan to pull out a notebook and just get busy.

I want to read this again and have the Kindle version to read along with the Audio. It helps me internalize the story better. Even so, the narrator kept the story very interesting and age appropriate. By the way, the fun of this book was it was about an aging woman. Stories of this type are rare! I don’t think it would matter what gender or age you are this story has something for everyone to relate to and learn from. Enjoy.

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Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Just Wow! An author friend recommended this book stating that it was the best book she’d read in a long time. She was right. It was the best read for me in a long, long time.

There was a drowning. The family responds. That’s the extent of it. BUT we are allowed in all the characters’ heads. What led to the present moment? Who can take the fault? Who might be innocent?

This bit of mystery only leads to the inside of your own head, your own family history. It is amazing how the author does that. How she keeps the story so interesting that I had a hard time putting it down, even when it was 4 AM I couldn’t let it go until the next day.

The most interesting questions the story brought to mind is how many of our goals and passions are leftovers from the previous generation? I made me look at my grandmother and my mother and my own daughter. And even now, I wonder how much of my mother’s pushing of piano practice, for instance, brought about my son’s participation in a band? How do our personal goals affect others around us, from family outward to the occasional associates. This book brought about a strong link between us all that I think we often overlook.

And then let’s add to the story the things that make us unique, our nationality, ethics, religion or politics and we see how we think the other person is wrong. How the tearing down of others is tearing us all down. In this case, the family is half Chinese, half American. They live in a place where they are the only ones of color. Racist slurs are slung at them. When that happens, when we are bullies in any fashion, one has a hard time separating true hate from imagined hate.

As usual, the fictional family reach their own conclusions and don’t communicate with each other. That speaks to me. We often forget to say what we should. We think the other person already knows, or doesn’t need to hear it again, or doesn’t feel taken seriously. Relationships are hard, even the best of them. That’s how our fears and hurts hit as bullets on those we should give our best to.

All of these ideas came to me as I read this book. I bought the Audible version (I had a credit lying around). I know now that I want to read this again. I will have to buy the Kindle version when I get the chance. Oh, and a word about Cassandra Campbell (Narrator). She did a great job acting out the different characters. It was due to her skills that this book came to life for me.

Thank you, Patty B. for the recommendation. I loved it!

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The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As much as I hated people assigning books for me to read as a teen, I think this should be one for everyone. It was eerily too close to much that is happening today. Men/young boys need to learn what women think of them. Women need to get stronger and make sure they are holding up half the sky. There is no sense of majority men in politics leaving the other half no representation.

I was fortunate to have a free credit on Audible so I picked up the Special Edition with Claire Danes as narrator and a host of other voices. It certainly made the reading experience come to life, as regrettable a life it was to read about. I did read along on the Kindle version that my husband shared with me. I knew I had to read it before watching the Hulu version.

Many have told me to read this book in the past. I wish I would have gotten around to it before now so that this would be a second reading. It is too heavy, scary to read again so soon. Yet I may have to again before the year is over. I want to make it a part of my being, pull the wisdom down to the cellular level.

After the book, there is another section with a man covering the tapes found by our main character. It is set in the far future and after much study, they are analyzing the tapes and what kind of world the producer of the tapes lived in. I found that part of the writing so different and amazing. The vocabulary so different than the rest of the book. I have read poetry by Margaret Atwood and then this book. So I find it fascinating from a writer’s viewpoint that a person could have such a range in their writing skills.

After that (epilogue?) Ms. Atwood talks about writing the book and how her experiences played a big part in how the story became so real. Again, I was entranced!

Please don’t watch the series before reading this. Though they are doing a nice job, they still aren’t getting the depth of feelings that you get from the book. In fact, the first scene is actually from the end of the book. I found that just wrong. But maybe as time goes on it will make sense why they did that. It certainly is the cautionary tale for all of us who have taken our freedoms (even the ones we haven’t attained yet) for granted.

Please read this book, with the Special Edition Audible if you can.

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Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy, #1)Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This had a brilliant concept. But I am disappointed. What ruined it most? The Audible narrator: Kelli Shane. Her voice sounded like she was on the last story to ADHD kids at bedtime. How do I know that? Yep, been there had that voice. It works well at putting the reader to sleep. ADHD kid just laughs and takes the book to read to themselves as mom falls to sleep.

I would have been better off just using the text-to-speech. But chose to continue. The story line was interesting. I even sort of liked the main character.

On the other hand, really, if a person can read another’s mind and be read what is to stop intrusion? And possible mind jacking? I don’t see how the jacker can’t read first and the reader not jack. After all, we are talking teens. They are already in each others’ heads. So a lot of this seemed to not ring true.

It was a nice diversion. But I just wasn’t that into it, and I really wanted to be. Maybe others will love it. I hope so. I doubt I will seek out the next in the series. I do have the German version so I might try it again just to practice my German reading skills.

By the way, the Kindle version is free right now. I hope you enjoy it.

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From a Distant StarFrom a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a fun ride! I wish I would have noted where I heard about this book. Since it cost $1.99 I would guess someone recommended it to me. Thank you, whoever you are!

This was sci-fi. Not my favorite type which is on other planets or roaming outer space. But it is the next best thing, an alien on this world.

Those who have lost others or have had cancer may find the first part of the book a little triggery as the love interest is dying of cancer. But this holds hope, so stay with it. It gets better.

I was lucky to have a free credit at Audible and could listen to Kate Rudd narrate the story. She is very good at the different character voices. I kind of wish Lucas’s voice was a little more distinct from Scout’s but there wasn’t enough of that voice to worry about. Kate kept the story interesting, I think more interesting than had I read it without Whispersynch.

Get ready because around the middle of the book you won’t want to put it down, it gets more and more exciting. And all threads are neatly tied up at the end. Even so, I miss the characters and wish there were more. Maybe more from the alien planet and what happens next there? And maybe a connection happens between the new friends. Maybe Lucas could develop some sort of ability?

But even as a solo book, it was a lot of fun! I gave up binging on another series (TV) because the book was far more interesting. If you get the chance to read this, you should. I think you’ll like it.

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Catalyst (Tales of the Barque Cats, #1)Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While perusing my local library system’s site of ebooks and audios I saw the second book in this series by one of my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey. Well, I hate starting in the middle of a series so I bought the first one and the Audible version to go with it.

If you love cats and space travel adventures, this is the book for you. I thought it was going to be too much fluff, a childish book, a book about kitty cats. I was wrong. This gave a new perspective about cats and space travel.

I just happen to have a polydactyl black cat and I have wondered if, with the right training, all those toes could be used like our hands. Could she be a Barque cat? Could she fly a space ship? My husband and I spend our retired days trying to read our cats’ and new dog’s minds. Sometimes we think we know them pretty well. We provide the words to the bubbles over their heads. Just imagine if instead of watching the mice for entertainment if they could kill the space alien?

Anyway, this was fun and I didn’t stop between the two books and got right into book two. I have to admit to wishing there was more! R.I.P. Anne McCaffrey. I miss you!

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Review: Room by Emma Donoghue


RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! I think this has been the best book I’ve read in a long time! And though I’m sure the writing was spectacular, I believe that Michal Friedman (Narrator), Ellen Archer (Narrator), Robert Petkoff (Narrator), and Suzanne Toren (Narrator) made this story come to life. It was nice to have an actor for each character. No male straining his voice to sound like a woman nor a woman attempting to beat out a bass voice. I do see that Michal Friedman, a woman, played the sweet child, Jack. But she sounded so natural that I think it was a good fit. Just an aside, and I hope it is in error I say this, but I read on the internets in this quick research that Michal Friedman has passed while giving birth to twins. Please let me know if you find out otherwise. I just wanted to finish my review tonight and not get caught up in yet another ‘shiny chicken’ (ADD distraction) moment.

Before you become afraid of sinking into a story about kidnapping and sexual abuse, realize that this book is from the viewpoint of the 5-year-old child who is quite happy in this room with his mother. So he doesn’t see the bad that is happening to his mother. He gives us light to what most children would love to have, their mother’s full-time attention and love. But don’t think this is a child’s book either. This boy is very grown up and super intelligent. Through this boy’s eyes, the author moves the story quickly. In fact, though I thought this was going to be a boring read so as to quickly go to sleep at night, I was still reading at 3 in the morning. And it took me a few days to finish. Lots of story here!

I can’t wait to watch the movie, but I have a feeling this version will be my favorite. Please give it a try, especially if you can get the audio to go with it.

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Rippler (Ripple, #1)Rippler by Cidney Swanson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my second read of this book. It was fun to go back and re-experience Sam and the gang and see the rippler life reborn. The reason for the reread was to listen to the new Audible version. I did enjoy the narration of Sarah Mollo-Christensen. Now as good as she was, Ms. Mollo-Christensen, I found her voice too low in comparison with my inner voice. Only the fake male voices were right. So my guess is that if this was your first time reading this book the narrator’s voices will be the correct ones. By the way, the hardest voices for me to hear were Sam’s friend, Gwyn Li and her mother. They just were too low and too — boring. They should sound a lot more energetic. But even so, I am giving this audio version five stars. That is because I am assuming a first time listener wouldn’t have so many preconceived ideas.

Thank you, Cidney Swanson for letting me enjoy this version at a discount. I love your work!

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Temple Secrets: Southern Humorous FictionTemple Secrets: Southern Humorous Fiction by Susan Gabriel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was given this Audible version of Temple Secrets by the author, Susan Gabriel, for an honest review.

Okay, confession time. I have a real problem with the low southern drawl. I find it weird. I’m from California. So were my cousins. Yet when they all moved to the south and drank the water, or breathed the air? they all came down with that drawl. Perfectly great speakers, now sound like anyone else from the south. So when I started ‘reading’, well, listening to one of my favorite authors reading her own book, I was rather in shock. What did I expect? I knew she was from the south.

My ADD and reading problems make it hard for me to read without the text-to-speech or an audio version playing as my eyes drink in the words. Text without speech or audio without text are difficult for me to stay with. And now, with the slow accent I felt I was doomed. Add to that, the lack of acting in the narration where all voices sounded like the author’s, I didn’t hold out hope for my finishing the book.

Over a decade ago, my dad and I flew to see my aunt and her family in Ozark, Missouri. That was when I saw how easy it is to fall into a southern way. When we first got there I strongly felt the accents around me. I think I might have caught it by the time we left as I didn’t hear it anymore.

I think that might be what happened in the listening to this book. By chapter five, I was into the book. The writing was wonderful all along. I never had a problem with that. By the tenth chapter, it was bedtime. I couldn’t stop ‘reading’ When I looked up at the end of the book it was well past 4:30 in the morning. I do realize that the change that happened, happened within me. Notice my star rating of five stars!

Ms. Gabriel’s style used here is present tense (another of my peeves, but it worked here) and a different point of view in each chapter. But it all works out quite well. It leads you into a world of the south and the ingrained ways that people have learned to adapt to a lot of atrocities within their families and neighbors. And I think I knew I was in when I felt I knew Old Sally personally. She actually reminds me of my grandmothers who I missed immediately with her hugs. She saves the book and heals the reader. The truth is: every family has secrets. Granted, some are worse than others, but Old Sally lends us all a grace to be more forgiving. We are taught to allow for that fact that we weren’t there and didn’t know all the facts. Even those who were and did, had to change their truths to adapt to the world as it was.

Meanwhile, ghosts of the past fart around or demand attention. Yes, I said fart. And Susan Gabriel’s writing brings all your senses alive, even when they may be reluctant, kicking and screaming. I swear I could smell the farts! But I could also enjoy the scent of salty sea air and moisture permeating my skin. Just… AMAZING writing!

Look those five stars didn’t come easy for the author. My husband was my confidant as I dove into the book. I confessed my irritations along the way. Then he got to be the first to hear how I loved, loved, loved this story. Now I can hardly wait until I can buy the Kindle version and reread it my way.

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The Skies of Pern (Pern, #16)The Skies of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I SO wanted to give this book five stars. Five stars because I miss Anne McCaffrey and she showed a different way to depict women in science fiction. Five Stars because I got to go back to Pern and enjoy the dragons and dolphins. But I just couldn’t.

Had I read this a long while ago when my eyes were still good, I might have given a higher rating. I wouldn’t have had to listen to the narrator, Dick Hill’s version of the story. Ugh! He makes all the women sound like weak whiners. Even Lessa, who is supposed to be a strong leader, Mr. Hill diminishes with his vocal characterization. But there was no text-to-speech so I was stuck with his voice. And there is no loanability for these books. What the Heck! Poor people want to read, too!

But maybe Dick was only working with what was there? Did our dear Ms. McCaffrey write the book with the male heaviness I felt? I just wasn’t happy with how it progressed. It took me much longer to read, just because it didn’t pull at me like, say, her Harper Hall books did. Okay. I did read most of this series about twenty-four years ago. Whew! That is a long time ago!

It was only near the end of reading this book that I realized that this was the last solo book of the series. I will now have to look up the continuation written with her son, Todd or those he wrote alone. I have a few sitting here, but I will have to find the Kindle versions and Audibles to get by.

SO as much as I miss our dear Anne McCaffrey and her love and talent, I have to stay truthful. This just wasn’t my favorite Pern.

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