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Laura - Audible

New York, NY
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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-30-17

One Life, Countless Emotions

I knew I was going to love this book right from the first sentence. In just a few words, you knew that this story would be serious, yet funny; heartbreaking, yet heartwarming. It’s a saga that deals with religion, family, sexuality, love, and belonging. Narrator Stephen Hogan is the only person who could take our Dubliner protagonist from age 7 through 70. It's a heavy and thought provoking listen, and one that deserves rapt attention.

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9 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-13-17

An Ode to Slasher Films

The first few chapters of Final Girls reminded me a bit of Gillian Flynn's Dark Places as we're introduced to Quincy, who, 10 years earlier, was the sole survivor of a gruesome, horror movie-esq, killing spree in the woods. And other than a perhaps slight dependence on xanax and a small penchant for stealing, Quincy seems to have her life back, with a serious boyfriend and a small baking business to attest. But as Riley Sager's novel unfolds, I found myself constantly on the edge of my seat, knowing something even more terrible was just around the corner. This addicting listen was made all the more incredible with dual narration from Erin Bennett and Hillary Huber. And when you find out just why two narrators were cast, you'll be totally freaked out.

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4 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-28-17

Quirky, Original, and Fun

I admit it – in my mind, Ari Fliakos can do no wrong. After listening to him perform The Nix in 2016 I knew I was completely obsessed with his voice. Enter his latest endeavor, Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory – a story about a family of psychics – and I knew I had to give it a listen. Spoonbenders follows The Incredible Telemachus family, a family of psychics (well, some of them at least) who in their heyday wowed audiences with feats of telekinesis, mindreading, and the ability to predict the future. But after one fateful and career-ruining television appearance, the future of this family became anything but predictable. Sprinkle in secret governmental agencies, a Chicago mob, a teenage boy discovering, um, himself, and you have a surprisingly relatable, genuine, and hilarious multi-generational saga.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-12-17

Offerman Is Just so Good!

I admit that calling The Adventures of Tom Sawyer a "latest discovery" feels a bit strange. I read (and loved the book) as a kid. But it wasn’t until a recent over-hyped blizzard when I convinced myself to listen to the version narrated by none other than Nick Offerman. I needed a familiar voice (I absolutely love Offerman) and a familiar story to keep me company in my tiny studio apartment as I worked. This entire production is incredible. I’m used to Offerman’s deadpan delivery, but his ability to bring distinct personality to each character just demonstrates his comedic acumen. I was cracking up on my commute the following morning, and was not-so-secretly pleased that my train stalled for 30-minutes due to "inclement weather

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-21-16

Ambitious and Important

Full disclosure, this novel is graphic, and probably won't be everyone's cup of tea. Vivid descriptions of addiction, sex, and illness tear through the chapters of this incredibly moving, but difficult listen. Tim Murphy's writing is so fluid and so descriptive, it evokes the genuine essence and spirit of New York City. As a current resident, I found myself torn between loving and hating this remarkable city I call home. Christodora is truly an immersive audio experience as seven powerhouse narrators team up to provide remarkable depth to a handful diverse characters – from an upper-middle class Jewish couple, to a meth-addicted Puerto Rican man who was once revered for his activism during the HIV/AIDs crisis of the 80s and 90s – as their lives interweave at different points over the course of 40 years.

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18 of 23 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-04-16

My favorite of the year

I am guilty of "book tunnel vision". Since finishing The Nix, I've listened to other books, but I still can't stop talking about Nathan Hill's debut. It was my pick for the best book of August (and the entire fall, and maybe the entire year), and I wholeheartedly stand by my choice. As I've been saying to everyone, there are so many different elements and layers to this incredible story that no summary or review really does it justice.

At its heart, The Nix is about a young but discouraged college professor reuniting with his estranged mother in order to clear her name of a misunderstood crime. But there's so much more to this "un-pausable" story which spans from 1960s Chicago, to present day New York, to—surprisingly—Norway. I've both read and listened to this book, and I can't recommend Ari Fliakos' spot-on performance enough. And by spot-on, I mean he sounds exactly as I imagined each character in the book should sound. The entire production is perfection.

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29 of 36 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-24-16

Nerd Crush

Like countless others, I loved Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies. So when I heard he had written a new "biography" of a non-human subject, I was VERY excited. And I was correct to be excited, as it kept me completely enthralled. Deftly blending science, history, social issues, and personal anecdotes, Mukherjee deep-dives into heredity. From theories posited in Ancient Greece to modern scientific advances, Mukherjee outlines how microscopic changes in our genetic code have a substantial impact on our personalities, behaviors, and lives. Whether you struggled through Intro to Biology in college (like me) or hold a doctorate in the subject, The Gene is an accessible, comprehensive, and fascinating narrative of the building blocks of life.

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9 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-25-16

Incredible

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I've loved Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for as long as I can remember. As a child I adored the magic, the adventure, and the kooky characters. As an adult, I grew to love Carroll's imagery, symbolism (perhaps unintentional), and his ability to turn what seems like nonsense into an enduring children's tale. No matter how many times I've read this story and watched the movies, I feel like I can always return to the familiar and colorful place that is Wonderland. Scarlett Johansson brings such incredible depth and wonderment to this timeless tale, that this just may be my new favorite interpretation. Her sister, veteran narrator Vanessa Johansson directed this performance. I guess talent runs in the family

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23 of 27 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-01-16

An Amazing Performance by the Author

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An important caveat about this book - it’s not just for those who surf. As someone who has never attempted this sport in her life, I thoroughly enjoyed William Finnegan’s lengthy memoir. A detailed, and nicely-paced story, Barbarian Days begins in 1960s’ Hawaii, and from there takes us on an adventure around the word. Finnegan’s memoir is more than just an ode to a past time – it’s a story of balancing an obsession with the inevitable responsibilities of adulthood. He reflects on his past with humor, panache, and of course, a reverence for the sport which profoundly shaped his life.

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47 of 48 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-04-15

A Fantastic Debut

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In The Weight of Feathers we are introduced to two feuding families – the Palomas and the Corbeaus. Both make their livings as traveling performers, yet a deep-rooted animosity between the two has divided them for over 20 years. When disaster strikes, and the Paloma daughter, Lace, and one of the Corbeau sons, Cluck, are found inexplicably drawn to each other, the tension brewing between the families is dangerously brought back to the forefront. Written in beautiful prose, and comprised of wonderfully developed characters, The Weight of Feathers is a perfect blend of Romeo and Juliet and The Night Circus. Anna-Marie McLemore is a fresh, new voice to the YA genre, and I can’t wait to see what else will come from her.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful