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Steve

Delmar, NY USA | Member Since 2013

119
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 406 ratings
  • 805 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2018
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  • 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Benjamin Wiker
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (259)
    Performance
    (98)
    Story
    (95)

    You've heard of the "Great Books"? These are their evil opposites. From Machiavelli's The Prince to Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto to Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, these "influential" books have led to war, genocide, totalitarian oppression, family breakdown, and disastrous social experiments. And yet these authors' bad ideas are still popular and pervasive. Here with the antidote is Professor Benjamin Wiker.

    Aaron says: "Some merit, but more religious masquerade"
    "Hard to get past the author's misguided premise"
    Overall

    Two starts because the author is clearly up on the subject matter he is writing about.

    Missing the other three because, well, I just can't get past the author's apparent assertion that one cannot be a moral person without religion. I find this somewhat amusing given some of the things done in the name of religion, but this isn't the place to go into that. Also, he's of the mind that a viewpoint cannot be valid unless it embraces some form of God as one of its major tenants.

    I agree with one of the other reviewers here - brand this clearly as religious content so that one knows what they are spending their credits on.

    40 of 60 people found this review helpful
  • Six Wakes

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Mur Lafferty
    • Narrated By Mur Lafferty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (295)
    Story
    (294)

    It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood. At least Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died. Maria's vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn't the only one to die recently....

    Blaise Freeman says: "excellent story and characters"
    "A pleasant discovery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really didn't know what to expect from this book. On the surface, it seemed like it was going to cover some themes that are starting to become a little well-worn in the sci-fi genre - the ethical implications of our technological advances, the very real way in which space-faring crews are cut off from humanity, etc., so I was hesitant. OK, so it did cover those themes, but wow, it did so in such an inventive and interesting way.

    The ways in which cloning impacted society in the book were at once plausible and thought provoking. The "trapped with a killer" aspect was well done and kept me guessing until the end. There was just the right amount of dry humor to light up the characters and make the suspense and unease more effective. Also, the pacing was really good. This book felt "just right" in terms of length and progression - I never felt like I wanted things to just move along or like things were hand-waived away without adequate explanation.

    Given what I have come to find out about Mur's background in podcasting and the like, her great narration of her own work is less of a surprise than I originally thought it was. Characters and their motivations are well conveyed by the performance, but it's not over the top, which is something that can sometimes ruin a good listen for me.

    Can't recommend this one enough. I will be looking for more of her work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Guest Room: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Chris Bohjalian
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno, Grace Experience
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (854)
    Performance
    (769)
    Story
    (769)

    When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother's bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She brings their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night.

    Barbara says: "Bohjalian's best one yet"
    ""Just tell the truth!""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're like me, you frequently find yourself reading a book (or watching a movie) and yelling at the book (or the TV), "Just tell the truth!" Many authors introduce tension by having their audience bear witness to a lie as it goes terribly wrong, with the audience powerless to stop it.

    What elevated this particular book from merely OK to a four star listen for me was the exploration of what happens when someone [mostly] tells the uncomfortable truth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Brené Brown
    • Narrated By Lauren Fortgang
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9651)
    Performance
    (8160)
    Story
    (8099)

    Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?

    tracy says: "Buy 'The Power of Vulnerability' Instead!"
    "Uh-oh... What if I'm not..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Currently, I'm about half way through this book. I did enjoy it up until that point, and a lot of Brene's insights really resonated with me, as a person who struggles with many of the challenges addressed in the book.

    Then the topic of resilience came up. Without giving too much away, a key trait of resilient people is apparently that they must be "spiritual". Some time is devoted to defining what this means, and while she goes to some pains to make it clear that the definition is not limited to subscribing to some form of organized religion, she makes it clear that spirituality is a bit more than human-kind being more than our individual selves brought together. For Brene, the definition must include belief in a higher power.

    As an atheist (and by the way, by all accounts a decent, caring, ethical person), I have no option for resilience as described in the book. I think that's silly.

    At first, I thought I may have missed some crucial point, but the more I listen, the more I am advised that spirituality is crucial to my success. Not being someone who can adopt a belief system purely for pragmatic, selfish purposes, I guess I am out of luck.

    As part of what constitutes a single digit demographic of the population, I recognize that I am well and truly in the minority here. I just find it ironic that what should be a feel-good, helpful book has sent me packing. Oh well...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bag of Bones

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4616)
    Performance
    (3077)
    Story
    (3081)

    Even four years after the sudden death of his wife, best selling novelist Mike Noonan can't stop grieving, nor can he return to his writing. He moves into his isolated house by the lake, which becomes the site of ghostly visitations, ever-escalating nightmares, and the sudden recovery of his writing ability. What are the forces that have been unleashed here - and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

    Amazon Customer says: "My Favorite King Novel"
    "Don't let the narrator reviews put you off"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great story, and many of the reviews already delve into that. As someone who has avoided certain King audio books in the past due to his being the narrator, I thought I'd write a quick note to say that his narration here is not at all distracting from the story. It's actually pretty good, which I know is a position somewhat contrary to that of others who reviewed this book. King is no professional when it comes to performance, but don't let that put you off this listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Vines

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Christopher Rice
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (146)

    The dark history of Spring House, a beautifully restored plantation mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans, has long been forgotten. But something sinister lurks beneath the soil of the old estate.

    Steve says: "Movie of the week caliber"
    "Movie of the week caliber"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Formulaic, predictable and devoid of atmosphere. It was almost like Rice was ticking off plot elements on a shopping list and working them into the story so he could meet his quota. The premise was a bit strained, and due to the lack of character development needed to coax the characters into helping my suspend my disbelief, I never did find this one riveting or scary.

    The performance was good, given what the narrator had to work with.

    I'm giving the story two stars instead of just one because Rice knew enough to not make this into a 12 hour epic listen. It's a good thing it was short!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hangman's Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne (translator)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3659)
    Performance
    (3243)
    Story
    (3240)

    When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. When more children disappear and an orphan is found dead with the same mark, the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt. Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth.

    Margaret says: "Great but graphic"
    "A mystery without much mystery..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This certainly wasn't an unenjoyable book. It had its moments - there's some action, there are some tense moments, and so on, but ultimately this book is supposed to be a mystery, and there it falls short. I'm pretty sure your average reader would have this figured out roughly half way through the story, at least to the point where he or she is just waiting for the minor details to be revealed.

    There's a little too much conventional content in the book - the torturer conflicted about what he has to do; the self serving bureaucrats; the penniless serfs. It all seems a little tired. Also, there is the occasional lapse into the 21st century as far as the narrative, which breaks the spell a book like this is supposed to cast. For example, I believe that at one point the narrative describes a character's realization as having made "the light bulb go on". Huh? 1659?

    That may be a function of the translation. I don't know. Having said that, the book does not read / listen as something that's been translated. The performance is also very good. I like Grover Gardner, although I still can't stop comparing him Frank Muller because of all the Stephen King books I've listened to. Frank was cool.

    Anyway, it wasn't bad, but I don't think I'll listen to the rest of the series.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Snowblind

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Christopher Golden
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (291)
    Performance
    (270)
    Story
    (271)

    In Christopher Golden’s first horror novel in more than a decade - a work reminiscent of early Stephen King - Snowblind updates the ghost story for the modern age. The small New England town of Coventry had weathered 1,000 blizzards...but never one like this, where people wandered into the whiteout and vanished. Families were torn apart, and the town would never be the same. Now, as a new storm approaches 12 years later, the folks of Coventry are haunted by the memories of that dreadful blizzard and those who were lost in the snow.

    Cheryl says: "Overwrought"
    "Scary... that I spent that much time on this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book just didn't do it for me. It came off more like a made-for-TV movie you'd see on the Lifetime network or something. I didn't find the story lines or situations to be especially suspenseful or scary. Relationships between the characters were stereotypical and trite. Too much of the book went on with the supernatural occurrences being treated as things that just happened, with no real exploration or back story.

    The narration was passable, although some male narrators just don't sound right when they are voicing female characters. I think Peter is one of those narrators. It's probably the combination of the gruffness and the higher pitch he uses with these characters.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • A Widow for One Year

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (512)
    Performance
    (332)
    Story
    (327)

    Ruth Cole is a complex, often self-contradictory character — a "difficult" woman. Her story is told in three parts, each focusing on a crucial time in her life. When we first meet her, Ruth is only four. The second window into Ruth's life opens when she is an unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career. The novel closes in the autumn of 1995, when Ruth is a 41-year-old widow and mother — and about to fall in love for the first time.

    Grace says: "More than a door in the floor"
    "It's not the destination, it's the journey..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Looking over the reviews for this book, I see some frustration at the lack of resolution, how the book never "went anywhere", etc. That's John Irving. When I download one of his books, I know I am in for a lot of entertaining character development, interesting, interconnected vignettes and the like, but that I may not be getting a big tidy story arc or a punchline. It's still great listening, in my opinion!

    When I first heard George Guidall years ago, I thought I might not be a fan because his voice has a grandfatherly characteristic to it that I felt might be hard to overcome when voicing younger or female characters, but I've come around on that opinion. He's narrated some of my favorites and seems like an old friend at this point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Those Across the River

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Christopher Buehlman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (209)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (191)

    Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family's old estate - the Savoyard Plantation - and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.

    Morgan B. Gainor says: "WOULD have been a really fun story..."
    "Don't let the comments on audio quality spook you"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I almost passed on this book based on the comments concerning the audio problems. There is certainly the occasional clipped word, but they are few and far between. I didn't find it distracting, and missed none of the story.

    It's tough to say too much without saying too much, if you know what I mean. From a writing perspective, it's always great when an author who can string a nice sentence together ventures into this genre. That's what we have here. The writing is descriptive and lends atmosphere without ever detracting from the story line. Very well done.

    The narrator gets top marks, too. The cast of characters could have easily overwhelmed a lesser performer, but he nails it!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Jim Davidson, Kevin Vaughan
    • Narrated By Jim Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (116)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (100)

    On June 21, 1992, two best friends summited Mount Rainier. Within hours, their exquisite accomplishment would be overshadowed by tragedy. On their descent, Jim Davidson fell through an ice bridge on Rainier's northeast flank, plunging eighty feet into a narrow crevasse inside the Emmons Glacier and dragging Mike Price in after him. Mike fell to his death; Jim, badly injured and armed with minimal gear, faced an almost impossible climb back out of the crevasse, up a nearly vertical ice wall.

    Mark says: "Fantastic post read to "Deep Survival""
    "Narrated by the guy who lived it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A friend who had read the print version of this book recommended it to me. When I found it on Audible, I was a little apprehensive because I have never been a big fan of "narrated by the author" books. In my experience, there are few people who can do both well (Neil Gaiman comes to mind).

    In this particular case, the author, who lived through this amazing experience, is the perfect choice to recount what happened. The emotion and intensity of what happened is there, but not over the top. He really brought something to this story in his reading of it.

    I'm going to recommend the audiobook version back to my friend!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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