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Lillian

ratings
62
REVIEWS
37
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
95

  • Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army and Other Diabolical Insects

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Amy Stewart
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (301)
    Performance
    (221)
    Story
    (218)

    In this darkly comical look at the sinister side of our relationship with the natural world, Stewart has tracked down over one hundred of our worst entomological foes - creatures that infest, infect, and generally wreak havoc on human affairs. From the world's most painful hornet, to the flies that transmit deadly diseases, to millipedes that stop traffic, to the Japanese beetles munching on your roses, Wicked Bugs delves into the extraordinary powers of many-legged creatures

    Paul says: "fascinating and creepy"
    "Better To Read This One"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't know if the original book contains illustrations, but it's not a book well suited to audio. I give the reader credit for pronunciation of some challenging words, but it's awkward trying to follow what's basically a list of interesting (if not exactly scientifcally presented) factoids in this format.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Life or Death

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Michael Robotham
    • Narrated By John Chancer
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (94)

    Audie Palmer has spent 10 years in a Texas prison after pleading guilty to a robbery in which four people died and seven million dollars went missing. During that time he has suffered repeated beatings, stabbings and threats by inmates and guards, all desperate to answer the same question: where's the money?

    John S says: "Decent Thriller set in Texas"
    "Nothing here makes sense"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First: I'm a fan. I typically await new books from Robotham eagerly, and have been listening since the days of audio CD's.

    It's really hard to believe that this canned, corny story emerged from the same brain that gave us nuanced characters like Joe O'Laughlin and Vincent Ruiz, and riveting, believable stories like LOST and SUSPECT. In past books the author's research has felt comprehensive, his medical details plausible, and the lives of the characters rich.

    Not here, sadly. While the premise is actually quite good, for some reason the author switched from familiar territory (London et al) to Texas... without apparently bothering to visit the state. There is NO local flavor. It feels like his research comprised of watching American "B" movies and looking at maps. It sort of feels like a historical novel written 200 years in the future, where the author could easily be forgiven for getting some of his period detail mixed up. The prison scenes in particular seem to be a mix of COOL HAND LUKE and bad westerns.

    Most of the key back story is completely and obviously nonsense. Prisoners carry cash???? Cash slated to be destroyed doesn't have its serial numbers recorded??? A man with head trauma that put him into a coma and who could not speak 10 months later, is soon thereafter boxing and weaving and glibly conversing while ducking shivs and various attempts to kill him? (Many more examples that would constitute spoilers.) And every character is either saint or stone cold psychopath. None feels like a real person. The glaring impossibilities in the plot were very distracting for me.

    Also, the reader was good with the narrative but most of the character voices were whiny and cliched. The accents were just plain bad.

    That said, I did listen to the whole book. I'm not returning it. I will buy the next book, especially if it's set in England. I know MR can do better!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
    • Narrated By Erik Singer
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (90)

    Imagine undergoing an operation without anesthesia performed by a surgeon who refuses to sterilize his tools - or even wash his hands. This was the world of medicine when Thomas Dent Mütter began his trailblazing career as a plastic surgeon in Philadelphia during the middle of the 19th century. Although he died at just 48, Mütter was an audacious medical innovator who pioneered the use of ether as anesthesia, the sterilization of surgical tools, and a compassion-based vision for helping the severely deformed, which clashed spectacularly with the sentiments of his time.

    Todd says: "Creepy. Wonderful. Lost history."
    "Fascinating Medical History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a somewhat disjointed story of an early 19th century surgeon whose innovations were instrumental in the advancement of the medical profession. Thomas Mutter (MOO-ter) is someone most of us never heard of, yet he pioneered procedures that are still used today.

    That said, the audiobook made me really appreciate the art of narration. If the author's prose is a bit florid, the narrator's tendency toward melodrama pulls the whole thing together in a way that fits the period when the story is set.

    The "Marvels" refers to a collection of specimens Dr Mutter accumulated over his career, I suspect the title was imposed on the book by the publisher after it was written, because the collection is a very small part of the book as a whole story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spillover

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By David Quammen
    • Narrated By Jonathan Yen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (192)
    Story
    (200)

    The emergence of strange new diseases is a frightening problem that seems to be getting worse. In this age of speedy travel, it threatens a worldwide pandemic. We hear news reports of Ebola, SARS, AIDS, and something called Hendra killing horses and people in Australia - but those reports miss the big truth that such phenomena are part of a single pattern. The bugs that transmit these diseases share one thing: they originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. David Quammen tracks this subject around the world.

    Lillian says: "Fascinating, but not Riveting"
    "Fascinating, but not Riveting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The stories are well told, the theme carries through, and even though much of it is very dry material, it's easy enough to follow. Extremely distracting is the narrator's mispromunciation of numerous scientific words. He's actually a good reader, sounding confident and articulate... then he comes to a work he doesn't know and instead of learning how to say it, just plunges ahead repeatedly saying things like "zoe-ON-a-sis" for zoonosis, and "uh-SAY" for assay - to name a couple of the more annoying examples. This isn't a case of British vs American pronunciation, either, just an actor who should have been coached better.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Unspeakable

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Kevin O'Brien
    • Narrated By Todd Haberkorn
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (157)
    Performance
    (139)
    Story
    (140)

    A family of four murdered in their hotel room. A single mother and her boyfriend both stabbed to death. A sordid history of violent crimes, repeated over and over - but decades apart. Olivia Barker is a therapist with no connection to the murders. But she has heard things. Stories that keep her up at night. Details that only a killer would know. A killer who could be one of her patients…Olivia has no proof for her suspicions. But as the body count rises, so do her fears. A rock is thrown through her window, her car tires are slashed, a chilling message is scrawled on her bathroom mirror.

    Sandy says: "I loved this book and narrator!"
    "Formulaic YA Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I actually feel a little tricked into buying this one, based on the earlier rave reviews. This is basically a YA novel, though a fairly gruesome example of the genre. I didn't finish it, but I know how it ends - if you get my drift.

    That said, it was very well performed and doesn't take a lot of effort to listen to so if you want a bit of brain candy and don't mind a made-for-TV-movie plot it's a reasonable choice.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Cuckoo's Calling

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (9294)
    Performance
    (8382)
    Story
    (8398)

    After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

    Tracey says: "Unbelievable debut mystery set in London"
    "Hope there's a series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm so glad JKR was "outed" as the author of this book, I'm afraid I never would have found it otherwise. This was a fabulous book, fantastically well read, and I really hope there is a series to follow.

    Others have outlined the story, just add my voice to those praising the book, the author, and the reader.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amity & Sorrow: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Peggy Riley
    • Narrated By Erin Bennett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    A mother and her daughters drive for days without sleep until they crash their car in rural Oklahoma. The mother, Amaranth, is desperate to get away from someone she's convinced will follow them wherever they go - her husband. The girls, Amity and Sorrow, can't imagine what the world holds outside their father's polygamous compound. Rescue comes in the unlikely form of Bradley, a farmer grieving the loss of his wife. At first unwelcoming to these strange, prayerful women, Bradley's abiding tolerance gets the best of him, and they become a new kind of family.

    Lillian says: "Interesting Twist on Coming-Of-Age Novel"
    "Interesting Twist on Coming-Of-Age Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Highly character-driven, and the characters, while not especially likable, were very compelling. It's a rare book that allows a reader to actively dislike more of the characters but still ardently pull for them to turn out OK. The ending felt unfinished, but that's typical of a lot of "literary" novels, of which this is clearly one. Not sure Id have gotten through the text version but the audio had me listening in my driveway, and while doing housework.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Snow White Must Die

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Nele Neuhaus
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1427)
    Performance
    (1240)
    Story
    (1237)

    On a rainy November day, police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: a woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer. On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace.

    C. Vincent says: "Great narrator, unbelievable, never-ending story"
    "Okay story, weird narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story was a bit overdone, but worth the ride. The narrator was just weird. His voice and inflection would be far better suited to reading children's books. He had no feel for the material, and read all the dialogue with a sort of wide-eyed sincerity that seriously detracted from the book itself.

    The writing was adequate, characters were stick figures, and at least one bad guy was someone I'd hardly noticed. Few surprises, but not a terrible effort. If I every try another by this author, I'll read it rather than listening.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Steven Kotler, Peter H. Diamandis
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1131)
    Performance
    (957)
    Story
    (955)

    We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions of people. This book is an antidote to pessimism by tech-entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler.

    Ryan says: "A catalog of positive innovations on the horizon"
    "A wonderfully optimistic current events book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book presents a far more optimistic take on current events than most in the genre. Entertainingly written, smoothly performed, and convincing in its belief that we as a species not only can think our way out of the worst we have done to ourselves, but are well on our way to doing so. Diamandis is an example to anyone.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hypnotist

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lars Kepler
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (548)
    Performance
    (432)
    Story
    (430)

    Tumba, Sweden. A triple homicide—all the victims from the same family—captivates Detective Inspector Joona Linna. The killer is at large, and it appears that the elder sister of the family escaped the carnage; it seems only a matter of time until she, too, is murdered. But where can Linna begin? The only surviving witness is the boy whose mother, father, and little sister were killed before his eyes. He has suffered more than 100 knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. He’s in no condition to be questioned....

    Watson says: "Suspense for suspense's sake"
    "Giant Plot Holes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The writing style ad reader were pretty good, definitely enough to keep me listening to the end (and that's not a given!) I might try another title by this author. But there were huge gaps in timeline and logic, and poorly researched medical details, that frequently took me out of the story. I can't give details without major spoilers, butI think with experience and more available time for research, the author might be okay. I liked the characters for the most part - though the main guy's voice sounded oddly feminine despite the narrator being male. They were well developed and interesting. The plot could have been wrapped up much more tightly at the end but it wound up giving a sense of real life by not wrapping everything up perfectly.

    Bottom line (and I don't know if this is the case) it reads like a second o third novel where the author is under deadline pressure, still working a day job and trying to promote his prior book while also spending time with his family.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Say You're Sorry

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Michael Robotham
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (338)
    Performance
    (304)
    Story
    (304)

    When pretty and popular teenagers Piper Hadley and Tash McBain disappear one Sunday morning, the investigation captivates a nation but the girls are never found. Three years later, during the worst blizzard in a century, a husband and wife are brutally killed in the farmhouse where Tash McBain once lived. A suspect is in custody, a troubled young man who can hear voices and claims that he saw a girl that night being chased by a snowman.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Robotham is the real deal!"
    "Best Suspense Writer Going!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Michael Robotham is probably my favorite mystery writer of the era, and his books as a group are so well read on audio that I make a real effort to listen rather than read them. There has been a delay getting some of them in the US, and I'm just so glad they are finally available! (Note: I'm writing this review some time after listening to the book!)

    MR is a master of creating an intolerable situation - in this case two girls held captive for years. His characters feel like real people, laid bare - no excuses, no whitewash, and as a reader I don't feel manipulated into rooting for an impossibly perfect character or hating someone who has nothing likeable about them.

    I did find the ending slightly contrived, but that's usually the case with thriller. There weren't many real susprises if you've read a lot of mysteries written in the past 20 years or so. I won't go into details as this didn't detract from the listening experience, just be aware that the end is not the best part of this one!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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