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Cassandra

I'm actually a day old tart, filled with maple custard. Perhaps, this reads as a rational introduction to others, and you are deliberately misreading it, because, come on, maple custard.

severna park, MD, United States | Member Since 2011

267
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 42 reviews
  • 213 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2014
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  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4839)
    Performance
    (4523)
    Story
    (4517)

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Cristina Hatfield says: "Quite an enjoyable read"
    ""Really Funny!" She said."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Scalzi still uses 'said' for nearly every exchange of dialogue, which will drive some people really nuts. It's the elephant in the living room for this book. If you don't zero in on it, you might never notice.

    Personally, I LOVED the comedy, speed, and pitch of the banter. The first five hours are a huge laugh, with some earnest drama and important life lessons sprinkled in, from first to last. The star trek references are so very classic. And the dramatic pauses and high school theater way the officers make exchanges, then automatically switch to normal speech when not on point. So funny!

    This was my first book with this author, and it had me moving happily on to Android's Dream, Agent to the Stars, Fuzzy Nation, and the Old Man's War series. A great find! Fixation on the word 'said' or no.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3241)
    Performance
    (2836)
    Story
    (2868)

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "An incredible ride."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't imagine all the research that went behind writing Stephenson's Reamde, but it's an incredible looping ride. It takes it's time, it could definitely be classified as an 'epic' fiction, as Stephenson uses deliberate extrapolation and minute details to explain some of the more unlikely scenarios in the novel. There are many scenes that are made, in my opinion, unmanageably realistic, especially toward the end, which drags the story on.

    It hit close to home when one of the characters are revealed as a child of Sudan. One of my best friends growing up turned out to be adopted from Sudan, and I never knew until he gave a speech for a community college I attended, years later. He lost his entire family, and the details of his march aren't my business to share, but he never mentioned it, he did his best to move on, and made the most of his life, which is a really cheesy and harsh thing to say. When you dwell on your problems, you're only inviting them to continue to hurt you. A lot of North American kids could learn a valuable lesson from him, and from Zula.

    I almost wanted to say Stephenson tried to write the Richard Forthrast as a genius level asperger spectrum, but it's actually really doubtful. The way he organizes his life, and his detachment from reality was probably written this way to detail the repercussions on his personality from years of experience with T'Rain, and from managing a huge industry at it's foundation level.

    Overall it's truly a great story, and I've listened to it twice since I bought it, although I usually don't repeat huge novels unless I'm reaaally head over heels for them. I don't recommend trying to quote any of the anthropological fiction-facts without at least a Wikipedia trek.

    A lot of the research behind Reamde is sound, such as flying low to get under the radar, and wangbas. Some of the research may be true, but is more opinionated, such as the differences between Go and Chess. But, all of it together gives you a small glimpse into what it may be like to grow up in another country, and the culture shock even open minded youths come across when removed from their accustomed environment. The circumstances that carry the story are as likely as winning the lottery, several times, in the same year, and the plot at times gets hair thin, but with Stephenson's deliberation, it's easy to accept the looping piecemeal situations as a more likely scenario then some of the easy answer fast fire action novels.

    This book is sticky, and the humanitarian lessons will keep with you long after the epilogue. It's entertaining and masterfully written, and to be honest it was a relief getting a break from novels where the hero uses his arsenal of one-liners to punctuate explosions.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Android's Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1783)
    Performance
    (1524)
    Story
    (1526)

    A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most unusual way. To avoid war, Earth's government must find an equally unusual object: A type of sheep ("The Android's Dream"), used in the alien race's coronation ceremony. To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero and hacker extraordinaire.

    James says: "Philip K Dick meets Douglas Adams"
    "An interesting reference to Philip K Dick's novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved Blade Runner, and Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep, so I was pretty excited to hear this novel, and it didn't disappoint. It wasn't my favorite Scalzi, but it was pretty original. The story starts out vulgar, and I was regretting my purchase with all the flatulence, arterial congestion, and bursting things. Frankly, it may turn you green, until the meat of the story really starts.

    Although I could see where certain parts of the story would go, the girl was a creative and viable surprise. Not his strongest story, he uses a few deus ex machinas, but Scalzi is a master of science fiction, and I haven't been disappointed with his work yet. His characters are fun and adaptable. The story keeps a good pace. The alien incarnation representing all of our negative characteristics from the obvious to the subtle, was well thought out. The aliens remain dynamic, yet have built their society around all of our major failings. The Nidu are like a crystal ball showing us what would happen if we let Wal-Mart fashion legal doctrine for the entire world.

    2 of 2 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
    (747)
    Performance
    (696)
    Story
    (702)

    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.

    Cassandra says: "Holy Velvet Jesus Painting, My Jimmies Are Rustled"
    "Holy Velvet Jesus Painting, My Jimmies Are Rustled"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is better written then David Wong's last novel, John Dies At The End. Which was a fun read. Unlike his last, when the plot ambles, it's more on purpose, concise, cleaner, and he doesn't use periods of gross out horror slapstick to cover weak points in the story. There's still gross out horror, but it's intuitive. I mean, it's a book about sentient spiders. Uggghhuuuhhuuherr Blahhhh, my skin is crawling!

    I can't remember the last time I was wide awake at 4 AM glaring at shadows in my room, certain that they would suddenly move. Maybe when I was eight? Or since the last time I watched Army of Darkness?

    Don't judge. It was scary. I normally don't like horror, but when you get midway through this book you almost have to keep listening, you have to have the narrator tell you that the spiders are taken care of, and that everything will be okay. It's that well written. This book was like a literary roller coaster, terrifying, with just the right kind of humor and humanity to make it exciting. There are some really good intuitions of the human condition, including Wong's take on the Babel Effect, without getting too preachy. The alternate point of views is really interesting, as you get to see situations from every perspective. I would definitely recommend this book.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • Deadhouse Gates: Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Steven Erikson
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (441)
    Performance
    (387)
    Story
    (397)

    In the vast dominion of Seven Cities, in the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha’ik and her followers prepare for the long-prophesied uprising known as the Whirlwind. Unprecedented in size and savagery, this maelstrom of fanaticism and bloodlust will embroil the Malazan Empire in one of the bloodiest conflicts it has ever known, shaping destinies and giving birth to legends.....

    Joshua says: "An Epic Tale of War and Tragedy"
    "Can't wait for the rest of them!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    These books really are fantastic!

    The beginning of Deadhouse Gates might confuse people following the series. It starts with the Culling in Malazan during the Season of Rot. The story then switches to, among other things, the Rising of the Whirlwind in the Raraku desert, the incarnation of the Sha'ik, the Malaz 7th Army in Seven Cities, and best of all, the meanderings of Icarium and Mappo.

    There's more Icarium and Mappo banter! Eeeehehee!

    ... ...

    It's an intricate epic fantasy, and although it will be kind of sort of possible to pickup at Deadhouse Gates (Book 2) without reading Gardens of the Moon (Book 1), you will miss some important plot points which will give the storyline more depth. I would not recommend jumping around in this series. To appreciate it, it's really best to stick to the sequence. Erikson cross references some of his major plot twists from book to book, sometimes, but if he recapped every small plot progression or significant back story between each book, by Crippled God, we would have to flip to chapter twenty three before we were ready to move on with the story. There really is a lot going on, and it's so inter-woven. You may not pick up on everything the first listen through, but again, the story gets so crazy, and Erikson's writing style is so incredibly lyrical, it's still a fun read, and worth listening too, again.

    Listening to the audible version breaks everything down into more easily understandable portions, but don't be intimidated if something zips by you. There's even a Malazan Wiki set up to help. This book really has everything, shape changers, solid battle scenes, sun-dried ears, power struggles, senile old erudites, conflicting cultural taboos, pit quarries, resentful convicts, weird drugs, sea monsters, sand.

    I can't wait for Midnight Tides! I really hope they keep these coming.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Gate Thief: Mithermages, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Emily Rankin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1760)
    Performance
    (1599)
    Story
    (1604)

    Here on Earth, Danny North is still in high school, yet he holds in his heart and mind all the stolen outselves of 13 centuries of gatemages. The Families still want to kill him if they can’t control him - and they can’t control him; he is far too powerful. On Westil, Wad is now nearly powerless - he lost everything to Danny in their struggle. Even if he can survive the revenge of his enemies, he must still somehow make peace with the Gatemage Daniel North, for when Danny took that power from Loki, he also took responsibility for the Great Gates.

    Benjamin says: "Flashes of Great, Ok, and Bad. Overall: Meh."
    "He didn't even turn into a golden swan."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I agree with the reviews that are put off by the infatuation of teenage pregnancy. Orson Scott Card's books often come across as a pedantically cyclical read, so when the topic get's brought up, suddenly all the teenage girls in the story are obsessed with it in the same very disturbing and stupefied way. Grabbing at men's waists and demanding men 'put their baby inside me,' was an approach my mother must have missed. It's incredibly insulting to young women that this is how their teenage interests are portrayed. Really think about your teenage experience, and try to count on one hand the number of girls in your school, who would do this, and throw themselves at boys like this.

    The dialogue is all in the same kidney, this adds to the cycling feeling of the book. It could almost be one person arguing with them self. The sentence structure, word usage, lines of thought, etc. cohere so that there are some golden opportunities for OSC's brand of humor, but it's not often believable that you are listening to several people talk, just one man's interpretation of a conversation.

    OSC tackles Christianity, and a lot of other religions, legends, and myths, in this book. I'm not religious, but if you are, fair warning, he reinterprets the big J into his canon. Neil Gaiman did this in American Gods, then went back and edited him out, and it probably saved him some angry readers.

    Stefan Rudnicki has a super creaky deep voice, like someone is opening and shutting an old door. Emily Rankin tried to match his voice in this book, which made her voice croak and crack. And to get what they are saying, you can't just dim the volume until you can just barely hear the words. The croaking is still loud before the words fuzz out. It's okay in the short term, but after a few hours it starts to hurt. When I took my ear buds out, I couldn't hear all that well for a few days.

    The storyline is original. The plot twists aren't too severe. The book ambles, but it stays pretty cut and dry sequential. It'll be great for a solid OSC fan, but it's not Ender's Game.

    15 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • Divine Misfortune

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (264)
    Story
    (269)

    Teri and Phil had never needed their own personal god. But when Phil is passed up for a promotion - again - it's time to take matters into their own hands. And look online. Choosing a god isn't as simple as you would think. There are too many choices; and they often have very hefty prices for their eternal devotion: blood, money, sacrifices, and vows of chastity. But then they find Luka, raccoon god of prosperity. All he wants is a small cut of their good fortune. Oh - and to crash on their couch for a few days.

    Cassandra says: "Office Space rewritten by Disney"
    "Office Space rewritten by Disney"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A fun book. An interesting take on religion, benign, not heavy or preachy. Definitely funny, and strangely atheist friendly. There is some extrapolations on humanitarianism, but it stays in the shallow end. A novel approach to the relationships and mythos of deities and their followers.

    Divine Misfortune is one of those books that's easy to relate with. A good pick me up listen after your car breaks down, or your boss yells at you. Lucky struck me as kind of douchey Raoul Duke (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,) but perhaps that was intentional.

    9 of 9 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
    (3467)
    Performance
    (3033)
    Story
    (3030)

    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."
    "The legalese is convincing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an engaging remake of the old story.

    There were some changes to make Jack Holloway work better with Scalzi's writing style. Scalzi still uses 'he/she/they said' to express every change in dialogue, which can get annoying, if you zero in on it. I didn't really notice it that often, and it wasn't as obvious as in his Old Man's War series.

    Throughout the book Scalzi is careful to use Holloway's actions and words to describe his character. You aren't force fed his every thought, which is both a huge relief, but since Holloway is so manipulatively devious, it leaves enough mystery to unfolding events to create doubts on how the space opera plays out.

    The little Davids trying to stick it to the industrial corporate Goliath is a delight, and one that will be easy for a lot of today's readers to empathize with.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hobbit

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7572)
    Performance
    (6824)
    Story
    (6924)

    Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all.

    Darwin8u says: "Victory after all, I suppose!"
    "Rob Inglis should make a LotR Songs Soundtrack"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! WOW! This was so much happier then the other LotR books! And there's so much compacted into the story.

    Now I can see why they are making this into three movies, it WILL take that long to go in depth on the battle of five armies, and the necromancer back-story, and so on. And the MUSIC! If you loved the singing dwarves in the movie, then you WILL LOVE Inglis's take on each of the songs Tolkien's written in the Hobbit. His voice is so deep and rich.

    I was hopping up and down at work, grinning madly, every time I heard Inglis start singing. Even if you've already read the Hobbit, experiencing it audibly, especially with Inglis's narration, is not something to pass up.

    I urge you to listen to this book, you will not regret it!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Shadowfever: Fever, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Karen Marie Moning
    • Narrated By Natalie Ross, Phil Gigante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2032)
    Performance
    (1066)
    Story
    (1066)

    MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever. Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

    Katheryne says: "I loved it, but its not for everyone"
    "Oh my paws and whiskers!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator's overpower this book, and in many cases during the story, it's a good thing. The interruptions between narrators, and inter-narration banter had me laughing in public. Some of the dialogue is unbearably entertaining. The rest of it was kinda soppy.

    I like very few female narrators, they over stress emotion, and get really breathy or screechy, and this is unfortunately the case with Natalie Ross. She makes a good attempt at a southern belle accent, but as you progress into the book, her voice rubber bands dramatically around making the story an endless chain of over-cooked exclamations. I got tired of the first person I-Me-Why soppy world-revolving around Mac approach pretty quickly, because of it.

    Mac also becomes so wet, things kept happening TO her, she kept sulking and pouting about them, and whenever she made an action of her own volition, Ross added that umph of feminine empowerment into her voice. As if Mac making her own decisions, as a functional adult, should be liberating? What?

    Basically, Mac drove me nuts. She reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, if Alice had returned from her Wonderland adventure, and been raised as an overly pampered valley girl. She's a brat, who will be head over heels for one guy, and make out with another, with no moral dilemmas.

    I'm on the fence about this book. If you like book series where the ENTIRE world revolves around the heroine, like Sookie Stackhouse, Cat Crawfield, or Anita Blake, then the way the plot unfolds probably won't bother you. Or the way you're force fed every cross thought or emotion Mac experiences.

    The plot itself was very well wrought and will certainly keep you guessing. Some of the things that tie together at the end could be easily anticipated if you don't get hung up on Mac's soppy emotional roller coaster, but the rest are very original, and entertaining, not out of left-field. All the pieces of the puzzle are given to you, but there isn't really anyway to piece them together yourself.

    I should probably keep my nose out of this genre, but there haven't been any new Pratchett's, Moore's or Gaiman's to sink my teeth into, so I apologize for the mixed review.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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