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T. Shaffner

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ratings
143
REVIEWS
14
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
2

  • The Art of Travel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Alain de Botton
    • Narrated By Nicholas Bell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Aside from love, few actvities seem to promise us as much happiness as going traveling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs, and landscapes. But although we are inundated with advice on where to travel, few people seem to talk about why we should go and how we can become more fulfilled by doing so.

    T. Shaffner says: "Dull, suggestions for better alternatives"
    "Dull, suggestions for better alternatives"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to about forty-five minutes of this book (almost a fifth of it) only to hear several long lists of what various characters ordered in restaurants and a long description of the basis of the opinion that imagination is better than travel. After that I gave up.

    If you were drawn in by the title, like I was, I would recommend skipping this actual book and instead going for The Art of Pilgrimage or Vagabonding, either of which delivers much better what this one's title promised than it does.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Crown of Renewal: Paladin's Legacy, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Moon
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (75)

    The mysterious reappearance of magery throughout the land has been met with suspicion, fear, and violence. In the kingdom of Lyonya, Kieri, the half-elven, half-human king, struggles to balance the competing demands of his heritage while fighting a deadly threat to his rule: evil elves linked in some way to the rebirth of magic. Meanwhile, in the neighboring kingdom of Tsaia, a set of ancient artifacts recovered by the former mercenary Dorrin Verrakai may hold the answer to the riddle of magery’s return.

    Donna says: "Closure"
    "Too easy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The earlier books were enjoyable, but the trend that began in them, of solutions to problems magically (literally or metaphorically) appearing just when needed, has grown to an annoying extent in this. You don't understand the basis of the magic, you aren't aware of sub plots going on, problems are set up, and then just when they start to seem hopeless a miracle happens and they're done. A curse suddenly fixes things, a magical downpour suddenly fixes the world, a confrontation with the enemy results in his death while the character is literally unconscious, an all powerful villain suddenly is easy to beat. It gets to a point where you just wait for the expected magical solution to arrive.

    So if you're looking for some mindless escapism with some interesting characters this isn't bad, but if you're looking for real plot instead of deus ex machina look elsewhere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kushiel's Dart

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Carey
    • Narrated By Anne Flosnik
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1103)
    Performance
    (700)
    Story
    (707)

    The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good...and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

    Glen Gaines says: "The Kushiel series in order"
    "Mediocre story, mediocre sex"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was entertaining and even had some parts that were interesting enough to be gripping for a while, but overall it started to just become a bit ridiculous. By halfway through the book I was starting to take bets on how long it would take for the protagonist to sleep with the shortening list of characters that she hadn't gotten to yet, and by the end there remained only one or two major characters that she had been near and hadn't managed to bed.

    Of course some allowance for that is understandable given that the main character is a courtesan, but the sex scenes weren't even worked in that well and where initially they were at least decently built up and interesting, after a while the twist that takes each of her relationships sexual feels forced and unsurprising. The main character seems unable to connect in a way that does not involve desire and her continually taking all her relationships in that direction starts to just seem sad. And, worse for the reader, it becomes predictable and boring! The author clearly enjoyed exploring in repeated detail what it was like to have a character who derived pleasure from pain but in practice it felt like regular interruptions of the story to rehash the same sex scene over and over again with only minor variations. When the story was good it was tolerable, but mostly it was just annoying.

    If you have nothing else going on and are desperate for a relatively mindless and sometimes entertaining read this might not be a bad choice. I was entertained enough at the start to make myself get to the finish, but I won't be continuing this series and if you're debating between this and another book that looks in the least bit promising, go with the other book. Whether you're looking for the romance, the sex scenes, or the story, you can find better of each or all three together elsewhere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Sheryl Sandberg
    • Narrated By Elisa Donovan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2438)
    Performance
    (2151)
    Story
    (2161)

    Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook COO, ranked eighth on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business - has become one of America's most galvanizing leaders, and an icon for millions of women juggling work and family. In Lean In, she urges women to take risks and seek new challenges, to find work that they love, and to remain passionately engaged with it at the highest levels throughout their lives.

    Claudia says: "Make your life count - no matter what you do"
    "Unexpectedly Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having read a number of reviews I began this book expecting it to be mediocre and/or a repeat of the many recent articles on the topic at best. Instead it was fantastic! The author does a great job of recognizing and validating opposing viewpoints and then explaining why she believes what she does (I don't think I've heard a criticism of her views that she doesn't address), the book actually uses studies well in conjunction with anecdotes and (sometimes very personal) examples that ground her points, and the end conclusion values everyone's choices wherever they are on the spectrum while still leaving you with a sense of extra work needing to be done.

    I will note that I don't agree with all of her end goals and every now and then a point she would make would sit wrong with me, but where The Richer Sex and similar writings evoked a sense of a zero sum world that left me (a male reader) feeling defensive, Lean In did a masterful job of writing in a way that left me thoughtful even when I disagreed, and it did a great job of offering practical suggestions and discussion points for action as well.

    I couldn't have been more impressed with this book; I'd recommend it to both men and women. There are other books that cover much of this topic but if you want a current summary that is well thought out and written, covers many different viewpoints, and actually offers practical advice, skip the others and read Lean In. You'll be better for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (49 hrs)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12109)
    Performance
    (10570)
    Story
    (10612)

    Dubbed the American Tolkien by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the number-one New York Times best-selling author delivers the fifth book in his spellbinding landmark series - as both familiar faces and surprising new forces vie for a foothold in a fragmented empire.

    Ryan says: "Enjoyable, but a lot of setup"
    "Great book, original narrator but with changes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Again a great book (better than 4), I will definitely be reading more, and I was so happy to have Roy Dotrice back as the reader again after the switch to another reader in book 4. He is fantastic at bringing the characters to life! That said, between the first three books and this one he seems to have forgotten which voices went with which characters and switched some of them around so if you're listening straight through like I did you'll find some characters speaking with other character's voices now, which is somewhat disturbing. I'm glad to have Roy back but hoping he either fixes this soon or finishes the rest of the series unchanged so I can get used to the current voice/character matchups.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16858)
    Performance
    (13029)
    Story
    (13060)

    A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

    Teddy says: "Did not disappoint..."
    "Great book, narrator change"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While this book is quite good, the narrator from the first few books was replaced and this was a rather large drop in quality. Still recommend the book but be prepared to be upset and annoyed at the changes in the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor's Soul

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Angela Lin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (839)
    Performance
    (764)
    Story
    (772)

    New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson is widely celebrated for his Mistborn Trilogy and contribution to the final three books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. In The Emperor's Soul, a Forger named Shai can copy and re-create any item by using magic to rewrite its history. After being condemned to death for attempting to steal the emperor's scepter, Shai is given one final chance. She' ll be allowed to live if she can create a new soul for the emperor, who hovers near death.

    debbie says: "A Great Short Novella that is Long in Story"
    "Deeply fascinating concept and world"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In a very short (for him) story with relatively little development this book manages to weave together a fascinating tale rapidly with little development without ever feeling incomplete. Highly recommended, my only regret is that it's not part of a much larger series. I hope it becomes one.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Alex Stone
    • Narrated By Alex Stone
    Overall
    (110)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (93)

    When Alex Stone was five years old, his father bought him a magic kit - a gift that would spark a lifelong love. Years later, while living in New York City, he discovered a vibrant underground magic scene exploding with creativity and innovation and populated by a fascinating cast of characters: from his gruff mentor, who holds court in the back of a rundown pizza shop, to one of the world's greatest card cheats, who also happens to be blind. Captivated, he plunged headlong into this mysterious world.

    Kat says: "Magic for the Mind"
    "A tour of a unique world that builds to...nothing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was a fascinating tours of the unique and heretofore unknown to me world of magic in the modern age. It was told with both an underlying story (the evolution of the author/reader in this world) and regular side jaunts into other subsets of the world or interesting studies or research. It seems like that should be jarring but the author did a fairly good job of blending it all together in a way that was interesting and thought provoking. That said, the underlying story that helped tie the book together so well kind of went...nowhere. I kept waiting for a resolution or for something to bring it all together, but you end up walking away feeling like the author told a coming of age story before having finished coming of age.

    I'd still recommend the book as interesting and fun, but I'd do so with the caveat that you should lower your expectations for the ending to be meaningful or conclusive in any way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Wizard of Earthsea: The Earthsea Cycle, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (687)
    Performance
    (523)
    Story
    (539)

    When Sparrowhawk casts a spell that saves his village from destruction at the hands of the invading Kargs, Ogion, the Mage of Re Albi, encourages the boy to apprentice himself in the art of wizardry. So, at the age of 13, the boy receives his true name - Ged - and gives himself over to the gentle tutelage of the Master Ogion. But impatient with the slowness of his studies and infatuated with glory, Ged embarks for the Island of Roke, where the highest arts of wizardry are taught.

    Finance Guy says: "Elegant & unique fantasy, deliciously performed"
    "An interesting book, slower pace"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While this book was interesting, I found myself wondering if the fact that it was written several decades ago accounted for the slower pace. I wondered if books had evolved in the same way movies have (you know how you rewatch a movie from the 80s now and the tension scenes seem so much slower than you remembered?). I enjoyed the story overall but never really felt drawn in or developed a deeper understanding of the world, I was just a bystander as the events were recounted. A fun enough read but not exactly the greatest book out there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Tombs of Atuan: The Earthsea Cycle, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (189)
    Story
    (194)

    A bold young wizard enters the labyrinth of the sacred Tombs of Atuan to steal the magical ring of Erreth-Akbe. Instead, he finds an unhappy priestess in need of a hero to save her.

    Troy says: "In Some Ways, the Best of the Original Trilogy"
    "Interesting but slow story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story of this is interesting but it starts out very slowly, and you spend the first half of the book waiting for the introduction of any characters you know from before. Many pivotal moments are waved over or explained away as having occurred in another time, and where many books discuss the how and why of things, this one just discusses what without any real deepening understanding of the world and how it works.

    I was entertained enough by the first book to keep going, but only because I had nothing better going at the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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