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Banff, Alberta, Canada | Member Since 2007

  • 7 reviews
  • 256 ratings
  • 853 titles in library
  • 36 purchased in 2014

  • The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Edmund de Waal
    • Narrated By Michael Maloney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who “burned like a comet” in 19th-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost the only thing remaining of their vast empire was a collection of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox. The renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal became the fifth generation to inherit this small and exquisite collection of netsuke. Entranced by their beauty and mystery, he determined to trace the story of his family through the story of the collection.

    Amazon Customer says: "A vagabond through history, clutching a tiny carvi"
    "Stunning Story and Narration"
    What did you love best about The Hare with Amber Eyes?

    When I heard about this book, my son was working on a family history project at school and we had just discovered that his grandmother had squirrelled away a family tree that dated back to 1460. Fascinated by seeing names of 17 generations and not knowing anything about them, I was drawn to The Hare with the Amber Eyes.

    You won't be disappointed! This book is beautifully written, lyrical, moving. Michael Maloney's narration is perfect, his cadence enhancing the natural rhythm of the writing. It is a personal story of a family but it is also a story of this family's place in time and history, a story of the world outside the family and how events shaped the legacy and affected every individual that came before Edmund. The Hare with the Amber Eyes is one of the best books that I have read or listened to in the last 12 months. I highly recommend it.

    What did you like best about this story?

    The writing and the narration.

    Have you listened to any of Michael Maloney???s other performances before? How does this one compare?


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Jeremy Scahill
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner

    A largely untold facet of the war on terror is the widespread outsourcing of military tasks to private mercenary companies. Accountable neither to the citizenry nor to standard military legal codes, these largely unregulated corporate armies are being entrusted with ever-greater responsibilities on behalf of the nation.

    Stanley says: "Truly frightening"
    "Horrid Narration!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If the talent director had been better, or the narrator better, it would have been worth listening to. I couldn't get past the first chapter. I ground my teeth every time the narrator put on his fake TV Announcer voice.

    What was most disappointing about Jeremy Scahill’s story?

    There was nothing wrong with the story. I was looking forward to it but I just couldn't stand it.

    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Tom Weiner?

    If the narrator could keep from putting on his fake "TV Announcer" voice every time a strong point was to be made in the story, it would have been better. Working in the voice industry I know this is often the voice director's fault and yet narrators are blamed all the time. So my comment is to whomever decided on this creative approach - stop it! I don't need a fake tone to emphasize that this is an "important" point. I just want the facts, straight forward and I can make my own decision on how I feel about what I'm listening to. I haven't seen the book in printed form and perhaps the writer italicized these areas but a good director should have known better and that it would sound 'put on' or fake.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration. It felt like such a waste to take non-fiction work with existing political undercurrents and to add additional commentary by having the narrator take on such an over the top attitude to nail a point home. I'm not stupid and don't need it pointed out. It just ruined the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Mongol queens of the 13th century ruled the largest empire the world has ever known. Yet sometime near the end of the century, censors cut a section from The Secret History of the Mongols, leaving a single tantalizing quote from Genghis Khan: “Let us reward our female offspring.” Only this hint of a father’s legacy for his daughters remained of a much larger story.

    Shawn says: "Another Great Book"
    "Absolutely Brilliant!"
    What did you love best about The Secret History of the Mongol Queens?

    Beautifully written, lyrical, fascinating, engaging.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    All of them. The Mongol Queens were all incredibly fascinating. Weatherford writes about the time of each queen so clearly that you marvel at what each one accomplished.

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


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

    Too many. The writing is so beautiful - this book felt like it was a love story written to those ignored and maligned Mongol Queens. Their stories are incredible - some warriors, some dedicated mothers, some both, some neither but all of them are completely fascinating.

    Any additional comments?

    I just couldn't believe their stories. At the end (spoiler alert sort-of) Weatherford explains how he got into the story of The Mongol Queens and how the mystery of these women, found in fragments of text, or their names eliminated from those texts, captured his imagination and pulled him further and further into the past. I felt as he did - their stories were incredible and Jack Weatherford brings them to life beautifully.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Douglas Rushkoff
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    As both individuals and communities, we have a choice. We can struggle through the onslaught of information and play an eternal game of catch-up. Or we can choose to live in the present: favor eye contact over texting; quality over speed; and human quirks over digital perfection. Rushkoff offers hope for anyone seeking to transcend the false now.

    Jill says: "Interesting points, painful babble."
    "Great concept but writer loses locus"
    What disappointed you about Present Shock?

    It was a great idea. It started off well. Then the writer started going on about people who don't believe in global warming, etc. etc. and he lost the focus of his own story. He kept tagging "present shock" at the end of sentences, like it would be enough to prove his concept.

    Has Present Shock turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Nope. One bad book doesn't ruin the whole bushel.

    Would you be willing to try another one of Kevin T. Collins’s performances?

    Not sure. If I find a book I'm interested. I don't listen to books just because of the narrator.

    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Present Shock?

    2/3rds of the book would have to go. How any editor let this one get published is beyond me. Maybe the editor was blindsided by the liberal sprinkling of "present shock" every few paragraphs.

    Any additional comments?

    Yes. Do not use your book to create a platform for your personal peeves. If you are going to do that, then be clear about that at the beginning. I felt that I was led in with a good start and then once the writer had my attention he just jumped onto his soap box and started spewing stuff about his own personal peeves and issues with what others believe.His litany on everything that is proven that people don't believe (global warming being one) just prooves that he's suffering from his own present shock. He's locked and frozen in what bothers him about others' beliefs.Mr. Rushkoff should listen to this audio book. Perhaps when he hears what he's written he'll understand that it needs a really good editor to work on a 2nd Edition. And after that he should read all of Malcolm Gladwell's books to see how this kind of book is written well.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow of Night

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Deborah Harkness
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches' cliff-hanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew's old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens. Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries.

    Hallie says: "Even better than A Discovery of Witches"
    "A nice sequel"
    What made the experience of listening to Shadow of Night the most enjoyable?

    Jennifer Ikeda is perfect. Her characterizations are flawless and easy to fall into.

    Any additional comments?

    It was a good sequel but lacked some of the magic of the first book. Deborah Harkness has a way of constructing sentences that flow into rhythmical paragraphs which leave you exceptionally satisfied. I feel I have inhabited the world she has created, wether reading the novel or listening to the audio book. Jennifer Ikeda makes that world come alive brilliantly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries....

    Chris says: "Finally, a modern day fantasy that really hits the"
    "Well written, laugh out loud and just a joy"
    What made the experience of listening to Hounded the most enjoyable?

    I stumbled on these books and bought the first because it was on sale. I listened to a 1/4 of the book before running back to buy the other two. They are well written, funny, have great characters and frankly just a sheer joy to listen to. The narrator is fabulous but he has great material to work with. I have to say that Oberon, the dog, is my favourite, although Atticus is a close second. The easy relationship and banter between Atticus and Oberon makes the characterization in these books sing. I'm a lover of myth and history and Hearne has woven both seamlessly into his well written story.

    What did you like best about this story?


    Which character ??? as performed by Luke Daniels ??? was your favorite?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Elements of Style (Recorded Books Edition)

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By William Strunk, E. B. White
    • Narrated By Frank McCourt

    The Elements of Style has long been a valued and beloved resource for all writers. Hailed for its directness and clever insight, this unorthodox textbook was born from a professor's love for the written word and perfected years later by one of his students: famed author E. B. White. Ever since its first publication in 1959, writers have turned to this book for its wise and accessible advice.

    T. C. Pile says: "Required Reading"
    "Fabulous and the only way to truly understand"

    Frank McCourt is fantastic as a narrator. I never understood all the concepts in this book until I heard it as an audio book. It made a great difference to my writing and critical thinking about grammar. I've listened to it twice and listen anytime I need a refresher.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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