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Stephen

Member Since 2005

99
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 96 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2014
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  • Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Christopher McDougall
    • Narrated By Fred Sanders
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4573)
    Performance
    (2342)
    Story
    (2377)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Want to join the “superhumans”? Luckily you don’t have to run to catch up with them, thanks to McDougall’s and Sanders’ inspiring (and motivating) journey through history, science, physiology, health, entertaining characters and unlikely friendships. Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure.

    Corey says: "Amazing read - even for non-runners"
    "Broadens my horizons in all directions"
    Overall

    This book is entertainingly written, but packs a wallop of serious thought provoking information. It ranks in my all time great list with Bones for its ground-breaking anthropological ideas, with You and with How We Decide for its medical and physiological insights, and it is just a great adventure. My view of myself as a human animal is different, because I read this book. I have struggled with running for years, but reading this book has provided me with some strategies that I look forward to testing in the next couple of months as I head out on the open road again. Natural scientists, doctors, runners, and lazy out of shape people with intellectual curiosity will get something out of this book. Have fun!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • NOS4A2: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Kate Mulgrew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2649)
    Performance
    (2454)
    Story
    (2460)

    Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

    Christopher Barnes says: "D*mn near flawless"
    "Stephen King and Beyond"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up NOS4A2 in three words, what would they be?

    King Horror satisfied


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the character development in the book, it was rich as one would expect from a latter day King novel. I liked the plot development because it was thorough and detailed enough to lend understanding and suspension of disbelief. But I really like the tight closure at the end, that tied the loose ends so effectively without stretching previously laid laws of existence. The ending was believable and real within the confines of the fiction narrative being told. Very satisfying to read, you are not left wanting, and it feels right to put it down after turning the last page, since both the reader and the writer agree that it is over.


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

    She did a fantastic job. Versatile reader.


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

    I wish I could. I took a couple days, at least, but was spell bound.


    Any additional comments?

    Joe Hill has a promising career ahead of him. I did not need to hear his views on life at the end. He was a little verbose and inconsequential.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    Overall
    (23680)
    Performance
    (17658)
    Story
    (17712)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "This is a series of character studies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to A Game of Thrones again? Why?

    No, because it really had no direction, except to the land of disappointment. I got the first book because of the hype and popularity of the series, made famous by the HBO series. It was worth the listen, if only to satisfy that curiosity. Then it ended, and it left me with a big question mark about what happened to everyone I met in the book. So, I got the second one. Still, I was nonplussed. The first book was 36 hours, the second was 37 hours, the third was 48 hours. It became like a big burger challenge at a vacation place restaurant. The third book and the author was so well-acclaimed, I thought that surely this must be the pinnacle of the series. So I bit into the third book, and started to realize that all the people I had liked had died meaningless deaths, and only the miserable wretches were left to carry on the tale. I was confused. This is no Tolkein: there is no allegory to this, there is no point. There is only this endless parade of characters, studied till the reader cannot stand them any longer. Finally, I researched a little. I discovered that there are five books, not three, and perhaps the story will conclude itself gloriously in the fifth book. I am used to long series like Tolkein and Star Wars, so I was looking forward to the end. The fourth book is more meaningless and spiritually impoverished than the first three. I grew to hate these people. After finding out from a critical review that the series does not end with the fifth book, but is ongoing still, I abandoned the series. I recommend it only as a serious waste of time for a person looking for a visionary and engaging tale, OR as just the thing for a person wanting to read character study after character study of really mean people.
    As for the visionary fantasy, it is set in a pre-Ice Age world from 15,000 years ago with a completely medieval storyline and cast of characters. The author does not even try to create a novel human society in such a setting, or to explore how interesting pre-Ice Age living would be. What if there was a big civilization wiped out by the glaciation that followed? What would that have been like? Certainly not just knights in shining armor, would it? Think of the lost technologies he could have explored! This was not visionary at all. He should have just been honest and said that it was set in England during the 1100's like everyone else'. It would have been less disappointing.


    Would you be willing to try another book from George R. R. Martin? Why or why not?

    Nope. Four books and 150 hours was plenty. The characters are mean, evil, wretched people. The society is debased. The women are routinely raped, subjugated, and demeaned. The men are crude, and there is little to be learned from any of them in terms of worthwhile life lessons. GRR Martin writes misogynistic and adolescent fantasy that only makes me less of a citizen for having read it. The fact that he has been called our generation's Tolkein only reveals the literary critics to be deeply uneducated, and if he is truly our Tolkein, it reveals our society to be a paragon of mean and meaningless virtues.


    What three words best describe Roy Dotrice’s performance?

    Limited, one-dimensional, and difficult.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The loss of Eddard Stark was truly sad. The subsequent loss of each character that held any virtue or spiritual value worth saving followed. I was moved by the shame and horror of having spent so much time watching such a parade of disappointments.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't start the series. Look elsewhere.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7979)
    Performance
    (7312)
    Story
    (7339)

    Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

    Pi says: "Jarring change in Dotrice's performance"
    "Turn back, it never ends"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from George R. R. Martin and/or Roy Dotrice?

    Never again.
    I read the four Tolkein books,multiple times, and I even read the Silmarillion. They are an allegory. They have a point. They have an ending. This series however, has no point. It is hateful, misogynistic tripe that only makes you loathe the characters more and more. I am a poorer person spiritually after four of these books.
    The storyline is so weak and uninspired I grew sick. Pre-Ice Age civilization could have been such a fertile ground for a story, but the author is hung up on political backstabbing, and evil, evil women. I was going to read the fifth book, but one of the critics mentions that it is not over yet even after five books. Let it end. Let the wights come down and end the civilization. Destroy it in the most beautiful piece of zombie fiction ever. Please!
    For myself, I am moving on to some meaningful reading. Nos4atu looks good.
    And then the narrator. Roy Dotrice has convinced me after reading to me for over 100 hours that he has but seven characters to portray: a Scottish old man, a Shakespearean witch from Macbeth, an Irish old man, a random crone from United Kingdom, Steve the Pirate, a stupid boy with MRDD, and another pirate rejected from the casting of a pirate movie. Sadly, the sexxy female parts are read in the voice of a crone, and the manly warrior parts are read in any of the above voices. What a shallow bench of voices to have when undertaking a reading of such a series! Then, because the series is so long, in book three, he switches up the voices he uses for certain characters, and in book four he starts pronouncing their names differently!


    Has A Feast for Crows turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Absolutely not. It turned me off from this particular author.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Roy Dotrice?

    Ant young actor should be able to do a better job than he, with the following advice. There are hundreds of characters. You need a person who can depict the female range as well as the male, the weak male from the strong, the sexxy voluptuous female from the old crone, the bitch from the sweetheart, the scared from the stupid, and then be able to do it with a range of accents from different areas of the world. Then the narrator needs to document which voice is used for whom and do not mix it up!


    What character would you cut from A Feast for Crows?

    Circe. Wow, did she get way too much airtime.


    Any additional comments?

    Please refrain from comparing the author to Tolkein. Prolific and well-grammared writing is not visionary. This is weak.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By David Wong
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (867)
    Performance
    (815)
    Story
    (822)

    Warning: You may have a huge, invisible spider living in your skull. This is not a metaphor. You will dismiss this as ridiculous fearmongering. Dismissing things as ridiculous fearmongering is, in fact, the first symptom of parasitic spider infection - the creature secretes a chemical into the brain to stimulate skepticism, in order to prevent you from seeking a cure. That’s just as well, since the “cure” involves learning what a chain saw tastes like. You can’t feel the spider, because it controls your nerve endings.

    Amazon Customer says: "Holy Velvet Jesus Painting, My Jimmies Are Rustled"
    "Awesome"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to This Book Is Full of Spiders again? Why?

    Yes, but in a year or so, to let the story regain its novelty. Truly a funny book. I snorted my drink out of my nose while driving, because I was laughing.


    What about Nick Podehl’s performance did you like?

    His delivery was fantastic. He has the sarcastic, self-deprecating voice of David down pat, and he really brought the characters to life. He acted out the characters personalities; David is different from John, in a way that both characters were clearly different people, with different motivations. Their conversations are truly comic. His delivery of some of the jokes could not be better. The plot twists and turns around ridiculous events, but he holds it together so that it is not just entertaining, it is possibly maybe believable that something like this happened and there really are a John and a David in a town called UNDISCLOSED... okay. It wasn't real. I know that. Shut up. Great narrator, though.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Yep


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John Dies at the End

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By David Wong
    • Narrated By Stephen R. Thorne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1609)
    Performance
    (1469)
    Story
    (1482)

    STOP. You should not have touched this flyer with your bare hands. NO, don't put it down. It's too late. They're watching you. My name is David Wong. My best friend is John. Those names are fake. You might want to change yours. You may not want to know about the things you'll read on these pages, about the sauce, about Korrok, about the invasion, and the future. But it's too late. You touched the book. You're in the game. You're under the eye. The only defense is knowledge. You need to read this book, to the end. Even the part with the bratwurst. Why?

    Amazon Customer says: "Vulgar Funny. 4.95 Sale Win."
    "Disappointed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I had previously listened to This Book Is Full of Spiders Dude Seriously Don't Touch it, by David Wong, and I really hoped that I would enjoy John Dies At The End as well as I did the other. Unfortunately, I had been spoiled by the fantastic narrator of the TBIFOSDSDTI, and listening to John Dies At The End was anticlimactic. I have no idea if the JDATE book itself is truly as funny as the other, because the narrators are so different. Perhaps if the Spiders narrator had read it, John Dies would have been hilarious. What I mean to say is this: This narrator just missed the delivery of the witticisms so frequently that I became disinterested in the story.
    If you want a great David Wong book: Dude. Seriously listen to the Spiders book instead.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Richard Panek
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (532)
    Performance
    (379)
    Story
    (375)

    Over the past few decades, a handful of scientists have been racing to explain a disturbing aspect of our universe: only four percent of it consists of the matter that makes up you, me, our books, and every star and planet. The rest is completely unknown. Richard Panek tells the dramatic story of the quest to find this “dark” matter and an even more bizarre substance called “dark energy”. This is perhaps the greatest mystery in all of science, and solving it will bring fame, funding, and certainly a Nobel Prize.

    Adam says: "Excellent survey of Cosmology and Astrophysics"
    "A great book about Cosmology"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I had read Brian Greene's "Fabric of the Cosmos", and enjoyed all of it but the last third that dealt with Theoretical Physics. I enjoyed all of this book by Richard Panek, including the theoretical portion. "The 4% Universe" provides a good history of the different people who have been instrumental in pushing Cosmology forward, and the ideas that they espoused. It looks at some of the rivalries and petty competitions that drove the researchers. Also, it explains theoretical physics in a way that does not make such an endeavor seem so pointless. The book leads me to feel that there is a purpose to the search for dark matter, and that there is a way that we can prove its existence. We haven't found it, but it is there. This book did not leave me with the sense of futility other physics books have left me with. It was enjoyable, it respects the humanity of the science, and it ends somehow full of hope. We are at a place in history where Physics has come to a halt, groping blindly about for the next big thing. Many authors have voiced this. The last third of "Fabric of the Cosmos" frustrated me because Physics anymore seemed like a total waste of effort and money. However, "The 4% Universe" is about Cosmology, not Physics. The author acknowledges that there is a loss of momentum as Physics casts about looking for inspiration. However, a related discipline like Cosmology is freed by the restraints that hold Physics back, because it can ignore them and go back to what it does best: observing the stars and their behavior. Maybe, just maybe, cosmologists will see the next big thing out there in the heavens.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Natural Selection

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Dave Freedman
    • Narrated By Brian Emerson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    A team of marine scientists is on the verge of making the most stunning discovery in the history of man: a previously unknown predatory species, alive now, evolving just like the dinosaurs, and being forced out of its world and into man's for a violent first encounter.

    Joseph says: "Artic Penguins?"
    "Stretched my sense of credibility"
    Overall

    Good brainless read for those who have brains to follow some of the concepts... The author needs to work on his description of action scenes though. Willing suspension of disbelief is so important to enjoying a good tale, you cannot disrespect it with too much ridiculous description. Once I started questioning the events in the story, I started to question the book's premise, and it ruined it for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Garth Stein
    • Narrated By Christopher Evan Welch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5446)
    Performance
    (3409)
    Story
    (3415)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: If you’ve ever loved a dog - or even patted a dog - this book, told from the perspective of man’s best friend, will tug at your heartstrings...and won’t let go until long after Welch performs the last word. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively and by listening very closely to the words of his master.

    Lora says: "Enzo (because he's so wize) for president."
    "I Am Grateful I Read This Book"
    Overall

    When my dog Mia died last summer, I was devastated. She had to be put to sleep after being run over by a car, and I held her gaze the entire time as she passed away. She never lost the loving, trusting, expression that she always gave me. Her eyes told me she believed that I would make sure everything was alright. Even as we buried her in our side yard in the Pet Sematary (upside down and collarless so she could run freely with our other dogs on the other side), she maintained that expression of faithful love and adoration. This book honors her, by giving true dignity to the life of subservience all well-loved family dogs live. They reside with us, love us, adore us, protect what we hold dear, wrestle and play, suffer illness and infirmity, and they pass on... to the next life? In this marvelous book, a story is told from a dog's eyes, in a way that is not corny. The dog believes in his master and in himself, and as you read it, you will recognize that you believe, too. Believing is what makes all the difference. At the close of the book, I kneeled out in our Sematary with Boo, Cool Hand, Butter, and Mia, and I cried in gratitude for having known them. Ginger and Zoey sat nearby, panting loudly and watching me with trusting eyes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3736)
    Performance
    (3274)
    Story
    (3273)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "He said, she said"
    Overall

    I read this book based on a recommendation, and midway through it, I thought to myself, "Is this that author who wrote the Old Man's War space novels?" He is an entertaining story teller, but holy smokes he needs to use a thesaurus when tempted to write the word, "said". It becomes distracting to listen to the word "said" repeated over and over again. There are other words like: "Replied", "Queried", "Asked", "Quipped", "Jibed", "Wondered aloud", "Laughed", "Growled", "Whispered", that came to me as I listened to the narrator. I felt bad for him having to read the word "said" over and over. If it were me reading it, I would have taken license to change the word myself. Anyway, it was a great story, and written with a sense fun that Scalzi's fans will appreciate.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Crossroads to Freedom: Antietam

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By James M. McPherson
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (25)

    Through historical newspaper accounts and the personal letters of soldiers, the events leading up to the battle and the battle itself are stunningly recreated. You will enter the mind of Robert E. Lee as he makes the fateful decision to cross the Potomac River and take the offensive. You will feel the frustration of Abraham Lincoln as he struggles to convince George McClellan to fight. And you will stand side-by-side with foot soldiers as the peaceful Maryland countryside explodes.

    Aaron says: "Far beyond the scope of the battle"
    "Great way to help your kid with a project"
    Overall

    Before this, I knew very little about the Civil War. I had no idea how close the North came to losing to the South. I must have slept through that portion of my schooling. My boy needed to do a project on the Civil War for his History class, and this book was a quick listen and learn about the war and this pivotal battle. I was able to listen to it while skiing down the slopes Up North, and come to his aid as he completed his project. The author, James MacPherson, is one of the most respected historians on the Civil War, and the information in this work is encyclopedic, but fascinating. The audiobook narrator kept it interesting and alive for me. No regrets at all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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