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Dan's Gal Sal

Twin Cities, MN | Member Since 2002

  • 8 reviews
  • 607 ratings
  • 855 titles in library
  • 21 purchased in 2014

  • Monsters of Templeton

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Lauren Groff
    • Narrated By Nicole Roberts

    In the wake of a disastrous affair with her married archeology professor, brilliant Wilhelmina Cooper arrives back at the doorstep of her hippie mother-turned-born-again-Christian's house in Templeton, New York - a storybook town her ancestors founded on the shores of Lake Glimmerglass. Upon her arrival, a prehistoric monster surfaces in the lake, bringing a feeding frenzy to the quiet town. And Willie learns she has a mystery father her mother has kept secret for Willie's entire life.

    Dan's Gal Sal says: "SPOILER ALERT!!"

    No, not in my the information provided by Audible! I really liked this book, but in order to help myself understand the labyrinth of characters, I downloaded the "supplemental information" from the Audible website and read it over.
    DON'T DO IT!! :)
    The family trees give away everything, even the answer to the main mystery -- the identity of Willie's father. Luckily, I was more than halfway through the book and had strong suspicions, but I was still greatly disappointed at finding out the answer before the end of the book.
    Listen, take notes, pay attention, make your own family tree, but don't read the supplemental information unless you want to ruin the surprise.
    Aside from that, the book was excellent. Lauren Groff has incorporated everything into her first novel: plot twists, unusual characters (many of them), mystery, adultery, supernatural phenomenon, history, humor, and even hippies.
    Yes, as noted in previous reviews, the main character (Willie Upton, not Cooper) can be a bit shallow and immature, but if all characters were perfect, why bother reading! Part of the charm of the book is watching Willie change and grow as the story progresses.
    Nicole Roberts did an excellent job with the narration, adding personality to Groff's Willie, Vi, the Running Buds and the rest of the eccentric bunch in past and present Templeton.
    A great repeat listen worthy of five stars.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Dan's Gal Sal says: "Ready for Part 2"
    "Ready for Part 2"

    Wow. Mind bending concept, well-written.

    This is not typically the kind of book I listen to, but I followed to the hype and pre-ordered. I was pulled in! I could not stop listening to this near future tale about newly minted FBI agent Chris Shane. I am not familiar with John Scalzi's writing, this being my first of his novels, but I'm sure hoping there will be another book soon following Chris's career.
    Wil Wheaton did a great job, as usual, reading the novel. I have NOT listened to my other narrator option, but am saving her for the next listen. I think Wil fit the Chris character well. Not sure how I'm going to like a feminine voice narrator with a male main character narrator.

    One small disappointment: The book itself is only 7.75 hours long. There is a "bonus" novella appended to the recording of Lock In. I was hoping for two more hours of action around the 7.5 hour mark, but then realized the story was wrapping up. The novella seems to be pertinent information about Haden's, which, I hope, means I sequel is coming!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Blood of Flowers

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Anita Amirrezvani
    • Narrated By Shohreh Aghdashloo

    In 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. When her beloved father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan, where they will work as servants for her uncle, a rich rug designer in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great.

    Shaddi says: "I loved this book!"
    "Draggin' in the Middle"

    And no, I don't mean there's a fire-breathing reptilian animal in the middle. :)
    The beginning of this book is very good. You will get attached to the young woman and her loving parents in their small village in Iran (or is it Persia?). The end is wonderful as well, but the middle left a lot to be desired.
    First of all, the naivete of the main character was frustrating. She was letting all sorts of things happen TO her and not doing a darn thing about it. Her family and friends were nagging, selfish and did little to support her, angering me further.
    Then, the repetition began: the same words, phrases, situations, conflicts, solutions, internal monologues, errors, faults...boring. I think the author could have chopped out 90 minutes and we'd have understood her struggle just fine. The constant reiteration of her troubles, conflicts and foolishness was too much. I got sick and tired of hearing over and over again about her husband, her marriage contract, her relatives and money. Her whining didn't really help, either.
    Stick with it through the tedious middle hour or two (or fast forward, you won't miss much) and you will be pleased with the ending. Our little protagonist grows up, gets a clue and starts making thing happen FOR her. She makes a way for herself (and her mother) without a man; she comes to the very true realization that not all family is related by blood and she learns that she can stand on her own two feet.
    A good debut novel, but not worth the two hours of boredom. Unfortunately, not one to put on the must hear again list. Rates 3 out of 5 stars.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Candles Burning

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Tabitha King, Michael McDowell
    • Narrated By Carrington Macduffie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When her daddy is tortured and murdered by two women with no discernible motivation, Calley and her mother find themselves caught up in inexplicable events that exile them to Pensacola Beach. There, another woman awaits their presence, a woman who knows what Calley is and who seeks to control her. For Calley is no ordinary little girl.

    Dan's Gal Sal says: "Pay Attention!!"
    "Pay Attention!!"

    This is more than just the charming coming of age story of a slightly different southern girl named Calliope. I set out listening to it as though Ms. King & Mr. McDowell were relating a story of a sweet girl, her society mother and dominant grandmother. But it's much more.
    I had to go back to the beginning and listen to parts again. I had forgotten critical details in the little vignettes about Calliope's childhood that turned into important points later on.
    The story itself, is very good. You'll find yourself rooting for Callie, as she develops into a woman, much to the chagrin of her mother and the manipulative souls around her, but the mystery buried within is what the book is all about.
    So, pay attention to the details and you will enjoy the book that much more.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Shantaram

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gregory David Roberts
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower

    This mesmerizing first novel tells the epic journey of Lin, an escaped convict who flees maximum security prison in Australia to disappear into the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The keys to unlock the mysteries that bind Lin are held by two people: his mentor Khader Khan, mafia godfather and criminal-philosopher; and the beautiful, elusive Karla, whose passions are driven by dangerous secrets.

    Jamie says: "Do Not Miss This"

    I have been with Audible over 4 years now and this is one of the Top Five Best I've ever downloaded.
    I was, at first, intimidated by the 43 hour length, but I was left wanting more at the end.
    While Gregory David Roberts did a terrific job writing the Pullitzer-worthy novel, I don't think just reading it would be as good as listening to Humphrey Bowers read it. His narration is perfect, with British and Indian accents, feminine, masculine and children's tones. I knew exactly which characters were speaking before Roberts had even introduced them.
    The story is tragic at times, I cried, but so funny at others that I laughed out loud. Bowers' narration adds a lot to those feelings. You will find yourself in love with Linbaba, Karla, Prabaker, Abdullah and the rest of the gang at Leopold's. After getting to the end, I almost wanted to listen to it again so I could uncover all the plot twists I missed the first time.
    Do not pass this one up because of it's length or it's price. After you listen to the first part, just load the other four onto your player. You will not be able to stop listening.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Stormchild

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey

    Nicole Blackburn was last seen in the company of Casper von Rellsteb, an environmentalist activist and leader of the Genesis Community, which believes that the threatened world in which they live can only be saved by ruthless violence and terrorism, for which they are notorious.

    Dan's Gal Sal says: "Non-stop Listen"
    "Non-stop Listen"

    I had a hard time hitting the stop button while listening to "Stormchild." I had enjoyed Bernard Cornwell's "Nathaniel Starbuck" series and I decided to try his non-civil war novels.
    It was fantastic. Cornwell is a powerful writer, descriptive to a fault and a great developer of characters you really care about.
    The adventure of the novel is gripping, with Tim sailing around the world to save his daughter. His interactions with his wife, brother, daughter and Jackie, the unexpected sailor, are well written and deepen your concern for Tim.
    The plot twists and turns as Tim crosses the Atlantic into the Pacific Ocean and once he arrives at the Genesis encampment, nothing is as it seems.
    Steven Pacey does an excellent job. His British accent works very well for Tim's the first person narrative.
    A thrilling listen.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Rebel: Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles Book I

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Tom Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A powerful and evocative story of the Civil War's first battle and the men who fought it.

    Dan's Gal Sal says: "Great Historical Fiction"
    "Great Historical Fiction"

    I am impressed with Bernard Cornwell's Civil War Novel. He has created a wonderful set of characters: lost seminary student Nate, eccentric Thaddeus Bird, war-torn, confused Adam and many other compelling people. Even though I knew the end of the story -- big spoiler: the North wins! -- I was still listening intently to find out the fate of these characters that Cornwell had made so real for me.
    Tom Parker reads the story with great tones, emphasis and emotion. The excitement, sorrow or glory of the scenes are personified by Parker's reading.
    The battle scenes are very detailed, vivid, the text teeming with realism. You can feel the texture of the cannons and hear the sounds of the rifles with Cornwell's words.
    From what I've read, Cornwell is very accurate in his chronology and descriptions of the events. There is a lot to be learned from the book while it is still enjoyable listening. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good read (or listen!).

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Dragon Tears

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By Jay O. Sanders

    Police detective Harry Lyon is a perfectionist who likes his files error-free. To Harry's dismay, his partner, Connie Gulliver, embraces chaos, urging him to "get in touch with the rhythms of destruction." But when Harry and Connie have to kill in the line of duty, the ensuing surreal nightmare makes Connie's cynical world view seem all too accurate.

    Dan's Gal Sal says: "My first Koontz, but not my last!"
    "My first Koontz, but not my last!"

    I picked this title out of a massive selection of books by Dean Koontz. I had heard that he was a great horror writer, on par with Steven King. I was very surprised at the quality of the novel.
    The character development is superb. You can understand the motivations of each character and you grow to care about what happens to them.
    The most unlikely character, Woofer, was the one I found myself most interested in. His thoughts and actions made me laugh out loud several times. Koontz had made this dog a true part of the story line and as important as Harry or Connie.
    In addition to the characters, there is a fast paced story line, with only 24 hours covered in the books entirety. There are several plot twists and mysteries that are slowly uncovered through the novel.
    You'll find this is not one you will not want to stop listening to.

    66 of 69 people found this review helpful

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