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A. Marker

Boise, ID USA | Member Since 2013

  • 7 reviews
  • 60 ratings
  • 633 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2015

  • Rapid German: Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 15 mins)
    • By Earworms Learning
    • Narrated By Marlon Lodge

    By listening to these specially composed melodies with their rhythmic repetitions of German and English a few times, you pick up over 200 essential words and phrases that will not just be on the tip of your tongue, but will be burned deeply into your long-term memory in next to no time.

    A. Marker says: "Instructionally pretty solid"
    "Instructionally pretty solid"

    As someone who teaches graduate students how to create well-designed instructional materials, and who has had to learn 2 foreign languages over 20 years (no, high school French and Spanish don't count) I always approach language "tapes" with a bit of trepidation. However, I found this audio lesson reasonably well constructed. For the most part, I found the music engaging and it helped maintain my interest in the lessons. The only drawback I experienced was that on 3 or 4 occasions, the music made it difficult for my ear to pick out the exact consonants used in a few words. A quick flip to my old German texts resolved the issue but some may not have that option. In any case, I believe this is a worthwhile introduction (or review) but having a reference nearby would be handy.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Swan Song

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen - from the President of the United States to the homeless on the streets of New York City - will fight for survival. In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, earth's last survivors have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil, that will decide the fate of humanity.

    Amanda says: "Simply an Amazing Story"
    "Okay as mental chewing gum"
    What did you like best about Swan Song? What did you like least?

    I tend to like long epic length novels so I started this with high hopes given the ratings people have give it. It has an interesting premise, as apocalyptic sagas go. It felt it had a good mix of realism and fantasy built into the plot. And the plot moved along pretty well. There were really few places where I was bored.Pulling off a long intricate novel like this and making all the threads come together in a semi-satisfying ending is a HUGE feat. And it's not one that I could ever pull off. So just taking on that task and completing it as successfully as he did here gets a tip of the hat from me. And, I'll admit that I did manage to make it through all 30+ some hours. So, there's is enough here to avoid abandoning it all together.

    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    SPOILER ALERT: The picture the author paints of this nuclear armageddon is so devastatingly complete that I was convinced that NOTHING would have survived. He was, if anything, too successful in making me wince at the all out horror of it. Given what we know of fallout drift, interdependent life systems, and human biology, I was shocked that any characters could survive the first year. Which brings me to... There were just too many instances where I had to put my credulity on hold. Plants growing in the middle of a years long nuclear winter (even supposing supernatural or divine aid, as occurs in the story)? With no pollinators? Canned food still being around (and edible) after that kind of catastrophe (even canned food has a shelf life before becoming dangerous 2-5 years even in "good" conditions). Car batteries still working after seven long years of cold and no charging, not to mention car tires remaining inflated despite the absence of airpumps. A horse that manages to survive despite no forage for that length of time? There was just too much that I found distractingly implausible. The second aspect that I found less than enjoyable was the one dimensionality of the main characters. The bad characters were flawlessly bad. The good characters flawlessly good (with very minor exceptions). They were stereotypes, not pictures of realistic people.As I said, I completed listening to the entire story. Cudos to the author. But, after the first six hours or so, it started to feel a bit too much like an obligation (or a self-made challenge) rather than an enjoyable passtime.

    Which character – as performed by Tom Stechschulte – was your favorite?

    Josh, the ex-pro footballer turned pro-wrestler.

    Could you see Swan Song being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes, but it would definitely be a grade B movie. Not sure who I would subject to the roles in a story like this. Again, I know there is a market for this kind of stuff but since I'm not it, I'd be hard pressed to make recommendations.

    Any additional comments?

    I know I come across as critical here and don't mean to be overly harsh. The book really isn't terrible, but I found it just barely above average. Compared to other similar books, like Stephen King's "The Stand," or "On the Beach" by Neville Shute, "The Last Ship" William Brinkley, or "Alas Babylon" by Pat Frank, this book just comes across as somewhat amateurish for my own personal taste. It's not a book I'll recommend or go back to a second time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cibola Burn: The Expanse, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By James S. A. Corey
    • Narrated By Erik Davies

    An empty apartment, a missing family, that's creepy. But this is like finding a military base with no one on it. Fighters and tanks idling on the runway with no drivers. This is bad juju. Something wrong happened here. What you should do is tell everyone to leave. The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity's home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire.

    Striker says: "Decent Story, Lacking Good Narration"
    "Good mental chewing gum but..."

    There are a few too many predictable plot mechanisms that feel contrived. Would I still buy this to hear a continuation of an extended story that I've come to like? Sure. But it feels quite a bit more formulaic than the previous three.

    Performance is pretty good though I tend to prefer Jefferson Mays, the reader from the previous three books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cemetery Dance

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Captain Hayward leads the official homocide investigation, while Pendergast, D'Agosta, and Nora undertake a private quest for the truth. Their serpentine journey takes them into a part of Manhattan they never imagined could exist: a secretive and deadly hotbed of Obeah, the West Indian Zombii cult of sorcery and magic. And it is here they find their true peril is just beginning.

    J. says: "Not for the faint of heart OR animal lovers"
    "Perhaps a bit too "Scooby Doo" for me"

    The performance was fine, but writing started to feel both predictable and a bit on the hokey side for my taste. There were a few too many times when I had to hold my inner skeptic in check. For instance, there were several times when some sort of emotional upheaval was used as an excuse for ghastly (no pun intended) and unbelievably poor decisions on the part of the characters. For me, that started to become difficult to swallow. Also, the authors could also have avoided placing yet another chase in the basement of the museum. That's getting old, at least for me.

    I might listen to it again at some point, but probably not soon. There may be a point in time when I'll go back and listen to all the Pendergast books in order. If, or when, I do then I'll probably listen to this one again. But I'll still probably roll my eyes at some parts of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Into the Storm: Destroyermen, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Taylor Anderson
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Pressed into service when World War II breaks out in the Pacific, the USS Walker---a Great-War vintage "four-stacker" destroyer---finds itself in full retreat from pursuit by Japanese battleships. Its captain, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Patrick Reddy, knows that he and his crew are in dire straits. In desperation, he heads Walker into a squall, hoping it will give them cover---and emerges somewhere else.

    neil says: "Entertaining and Well Narrated"
    "I would have loved this in my teenage years"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Depends on their age. Most of my friends, even the ones who still read Sci-fi and fantasy, are in their 50's now and, for them, I probably would tell them to pass it for better books unless they were looking for pure "mental chewing gum." It some ways this series reminds me of the old Lin Carter books from the early 1970s; mildly enjoyable and easy to read, just as easy to put down and move on to something else.

    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting aspect of the story was the premise; a beat up WWII destroyer going into a (somewhat) parallel universe where it is far more powerful in the grand scheme of world affairs.The least interesting aspect of the story for me was the stereotypical depictions of the characters and their dialogue. Characters are mostly one dimensional, have predictable behavior, and rarely break out of stereotyped decisions. This can be pretty annoying if you're expecting something deeper.

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


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No, I doubt it. I wasn't a big fan of the 1980 film, "The Final Countdown."

    Any additional comments?

    If what you you're looking for is an entirely light story you can listen to, miss parts of, and come back to without feeling like you're out of the loop, then this might fill that bill. It's easy, predictable, non-strenuous fare. If you're looking for something that will engage you in the characters and the plot on a deeper level, then you might want to look elsewhere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Teddy says: "The Book Deserves The Hype"
    "Good but for younger audience"
    If you could sum up The Hunger Games in three words, what would they be?

    Engaging Clever Young

    What about Carolyn McCormick’s performance did you like?

    She captures the mercurial and sometimes shallow emotional responses of the young main character very well.

    Any additional comments?

    A clever and engaging story that is well performed. However, for more mature listeners, enduring hour after hour of teenage emotional responses and angst can be bit of a challenge. I'm not saying the story is poorly written, or performed; quite the contrary. In fact, the story stays reasonably true to the young female character. And, that's the problem for me, I find it somewhat difficult to relate to the main character's young immature and sometimes histrionic responses. Overall, it was still a good listen, but mature listeners might want to view it as an enjoyable but over sweet dessert rather than a satisfying main course. My daughter will probably love it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hearts in Atlantis

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King, William Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    All the stories in this collection from Stephen King are related to the Vietnam War. King fans will recognize echoes of The Dark Tower series in the collection's first story, "Low Men in Yellow Coats." As the characters develop over the next four stories, King's version of the Vietnam War becomes one of his most frightening tales ever.

    Steve A. says: "Touching, Funny - Amazingly well written and read."
    "Luke warm on the King - at least this time."

    I've been a Stephen King fan for years, to the extent that I've bought a copy of each and every one of his books and any audio book I could get my hands on. That said, I found myself distinctly luke warm to this collection of stories. While it does tie in - marginally - with the Dark Tower series, that tie is loose. Did I listen to it? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Sorta, kinda, maybe. Will I listen to it again? Well, perhaps, but not for quite a long while.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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