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Robin

ratings
77
REVIEWS
69
FOLLOWING
10
FOLLOWERS
11
HELPFUL VOTES
64

  • How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (36 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (219)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (194)

    Great music is a language unto its own, a means of communication of unmatched beauty and genius. And it has an undeniable power to move us in ways that enrich our lives-provided it is understood.If you have ever longed to appreciate great concert music, to learn its glorious language and share in its sublime pleasures, the way is now open to you, through this series of 48 wonderful lectures designed to make music accessible to everyone who yearns to know it, regardless of prior training or knowledge.

    Lee the reader says: "Wonderful, I've wanted this for so long...but..."
    "Fantastic deal!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this series on cassette when my library was getting rid of all their cassettes. The material was excellent but the quality of the used cassettes was awful, I had to stop less than halfway through because it was so frustrating, I thought of purchasing the set on CD but the price was pretty high. Now I can hear it all in perfect condition at a great price!

    Robert Greenberg is smart and funny and presents the material in a way that is accessible to anyone. I'm delighted that we now get access to The Great Courses at our regular credit price!

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Tower

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Louis Bayard
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (249)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (96)

    Dr. Hector Carpentier leads a very quiet life, until he meets legendary police officer Vidocq, who has used his mastery of disguise and surveillance and his extensive knowledge of the Parisian underworld to capture some of the most notorious and elusive criminals.

    Booksmith says: "Truly Engaging and Clever"
    "Vidocq steals the show"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a sucker for stories that take place in England or France from about 1700 to 1900 and I also enjoy a clever detective story. So I liked this very much. I was hoping it would be a series but apparently not. This book spans the period of the French revolution and it helps to have a little knowledge. But I appreciated that the author didn't spend a long time explaining the history, just let it emerge naturally.

    There were some plot twists I didn't expect, which kept my attention, but the most interesting character to me was the detective Vidocq. Possessed of a criminal past, an iron nerve, and an incredible talent for disguise, he was constantly fascinating. In comparison the narrator is rather colorless. Simon Vance did a good job with the different voice and pronounced the French excellently.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Empress of Mars

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Kage Baker
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    Overall
    (180)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (164)

    When the British Arean Company founded its Martian colony, it welcomed any settlers it could get. Outcasts, misfits, and dreamers emigrated in droves to undertake the grueling task of terraforming the cold red planet - only to be abandoned when the BAC discovered it couldn't turn a profit on Mars. Mary Griffith and her struggles and triumphs are at the center of it all, in her bar, the Empress of Mars.

    Dave says: "I love this book."
    "Space Western with a woman's viewpoint"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Empress of Mars the most enjoyable?

    The humor is delightful and there are plenty of twists and turns in the plot. The characters are a collection of misfits stuck in a place that is a cross between the North Pole and the Wild West.


    What other book might you compare The Empress of Mars to and why?

    It's a lot like John Scalzi's books, like The Android's Dream or Redshirts, in that there is a futuristic outer space setting, yet what really counts are old-fashioned relationships. And the sense of humor is also similar.


    What does Nicola Barber bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her accents are great, she has to do everything from Incan to Nepali to the American West and she does them delightfully.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not really but it was engaging and I could see listening to it again.


    Any additional comments?

    The audio really brings out the humor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Past Caring

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Robert Goddard
    • Narrated By Paul Shelley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (126)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (78)

    Why should distinguished Edwardian Cabinet minister Edwin Straford resign at the height of his career? Why does the woman he loves so suddenly reject him? Why, 70 years later, should people go to such lengths to prevent the truth coming out?

    Janice says: "What a tangle web we weave..."
    "Interesting premise but slow-moving"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It could have been a lot shorter. The central mystery is presented several times from different viewpoints. I'm not that good at guessing in mysteries but here it was pretty obvious where things were going. I also thought some of the characters weren't very realistic.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Robert Goddard? Why or why not?

    Maybe a shorter one to see if it was more tightly written. I did like the combination of history, politics and mystery.


    Have you listened to any of Paul Shelley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The narration was quite good, it definitely helped keep me interested.


    Was Past Caring worth the listening time?

    Not all of it. I am a fast reader on paper so I think that would have been a better format where I could have skimmed through parts.


    Any additional comments?

    You have to suspend disbelief that someone would write a memoir with long conversations reproduced verbatim.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Unknown Ajax

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Daniel Philpott
    Overall
    (458)
    Performance
    (294)
    Story
    (296)

    Miles from anywhere, Darracott Place is presided over by irascible Lord Darracott. The recent drowning of his eldest son has done nothing to improve his temper. For now he must send for the unknown offspring of the uncle whom the family are never permitted to mention. Yet none of that beleaguered family are prepared for the arrival of the weaver’s brat and heir apparent.

    bebe says: "Another great Georgette Heyer romance"
    "Missing Downton Abbey? Meet this family!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is 100 years earlier than Downton but has a lot of similar themes, the inheritance of an estate, feuding family members, upstairs & downstairs characters, and of course a romance. Heyer reinvented the Regency genre in the 20th century and they are generally predictable, but she does have a distinctive hero in this one, not the usual man about town. There is a subplot that is a sort of mystery and takes up too much time.

    The narration is excellent. There are many similar characters, brothers & cousins, and Philpott makes them all distinctive. Also there is a plot point around the way the main character speaks and he renders that very well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wednesday Wars

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Gary D. Schmidt
    • Narrated By Joel Johnstone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (85)

    Holling Hoodhood is really in for it. He's just started seventh grade with Mrs. Baker, a teacher he knows is out to get him. The year is 1967, and everyone has bigger things to worry about, especially Vietnam. Then there's the family business. As far as Holling's father is concerned, the Hoodhoods need to be on their best behavior: the success of Hoodhood and Associates depends on it.

    Angela says: "Funny and well-written"
    "Funny and touching for all ages"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Adults as well as kids can enjoy this amusing book, especially if you remember 1968. The classic struggles of 7th grade are set against a changing world background. But some things, like the power of Shakespeare and of friendship are constant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Song: Raven's Shadow, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Anthony Ryan
    • Narrated By Steven Brand
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1016)
    Performance
    (957)
    Story
    (958)

    The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm. Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of 10 when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

    JPaladin says: "Wonderful Epic! Mature and well-written."
    "Complex but could be more compelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a very detailed start to an epic series. The coming of age part is the strongest. I felt that after while the hero became practically superhuman, which made me less interested in him. There certainly were some great scenes and action sequences that kept me listening, but the whole didn't always come together. The narration was also good but not outstanding. It wasn't that easy to tell the various characters apart.

    Maybe it's that I'm not as much of fan of military/macho fantasy, preferring some whimsy or humor, and more central female characters. I see there are some sequels coming but I don't feel compelled to listen to them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mississippi Jack: Bloody Jack #5

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By L. A. Meyer
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (437)
    Performance
    (250)
    Story
    (242)

    In Mississippi Jack, the fifth installment in the Bloody Jack series, the intrepid Jacky Faber, having once again eluded British authorities, heads west, hoping that no one will recognize her in the wilds of America. There she tricks the tall-tale hero Mike Fink out of his flatboat, equips it as a floating casino-showboat, and heads south to New Orleans, battling murderous bandits, British soldiers, and other scoundrels along the way.

    Tee Bellflower says: "Kellgren does it again!"
    "Every mood brilliantly conveyed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jacky explores America with a motley group of crew members. She experiences just about every possible mood of pride, shame, joy, misery, fear, triumph, anger, love, revenge, compassion, and just plain fun. And Katherine Kellgren portrays them all perfectly.

    Some of the earlier books were a bit predictable, but this one has plenty of surprises. Happily we know that Jacky will get out of each scrape because there are more books to go, but sometimes it was hard to see how she would manage this time.

    If you are at this point in the series, you might like to download the free conversation between Kellgren and the author, L. A. Meyer. It doesn't give any spoilers after this point except a hint of some more places Jacky will go. He explains why music is so important in these books, and she talks about how she develops the character voices and keeps them straight.

    This series is one of several I would never have found or appreciated in print. The right narrator contributes so much more than I could get by reading it myself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • FREE: The Jester (A Riyria Chronicles Tale)

    • UNABRIDGED (54 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    Overall
    (593)
    Performance
    (538)
    Story
    (545)

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens to them is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

    Robin says: "Short story with no shortage of events"
    "Short story with no shortage of events"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Remember the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark where a whole adventure happens before the opening credits? This is sort of like that, plenty happens in a brief time. It's probably not as much fun for those who don't already know our heroes, but I hope people try it out and go on to listen to the whole series. The ending made me laugh out loud. I hope there is a law that Tim Reynolds is the only person allowed to read Riyria books, as I wouldn't be able to stand any different voice.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Life After Life: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Fenella Woolgar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (935)
    Performance
    (833)
    Story
    (838)

    On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

    Diane says: "Life after life after life after life after life.."
    "More like death after death!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The concept behind this book is fascinating, but the upshot seems to be bleakness and futility. Making different choices just leads to different miseries. So many ways to be unhappy and to die and so many times reliving the horrors of WWII. The only good thing for those who lived through it was that it finally ended! Here it keeps coming back.

    For the last third of the book I was wanting to fast forward but never knew exactly where things might change (they don't, much!). And although I spent so much time with the main character, she still seemed a bit of a blank.

    The narration was excellent and the evocation of the different eras was quite good, but overall I was quite disappointed. I wonder if this would get published if it was Atkinson's first book.

    In my opinion, Connie Willis' 2-part work, Blackout & All Clear, is a much superior book about both the Blitz and the effects of individuals on history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1579)
    Performance
    (1385)
    Story
    (1409)

    One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming The Dark Knight Rises, lent her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

    Thomas M Clifford says: "In Time for the Holiday.Give the GIFT of a STORY!"
    "Nice job with the original story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's a challenge to present a story people know well from the movie. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences. It seems Anne Hathaway made some of the voices similar to the movie and others different. As a professional actor, she was great at conveying emotion and excitement, though a couple of the voices were kind of odd. This would be a good book for a family to listen to together, And of course there is a message about how you really already have what you think you need, whether it is brains, heart, courage or the ability to find your way home.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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