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P. J. Zannini

Truthteller

Boston, MA USA | Member Since 2008

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 57 ratings
  • 418 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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  • In the Garden of Iden: A Novel of the Company, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Kage Baker
    • Narrated By Janan Raouf
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (74)

    The first novel of Kage Baker’s critically acclaimed, much-loved series, the Company, introduces us to a world where the future of commerce is the past. In the 24th century, the Company preserves works of art and extinct forms of life (for profit of course). It recruits orphans from the past, renders them all but immortal, and trains them to serve the Company, Dr. Zeus, Inc. One of these is Mendoza, the botanist. She is sent to Elizabethan England to collect samples from the garden of Sir Walter Iden.

    Ethan M. says: "Very different SF, both in performance and tone"
    "Interesting Premise, Sympathetic Characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Kage Baker and/or Janan Raouf?

    Possibly.

    Truthfully, I got so tired of the constant and overwhelming beating of one point (God is a doesn't exist, religion is futile, all religious people are hypocrites and evil) that I thought this writer must have gotten all her instructions from Philip Pulman (His Dark Materials). The proselytizing of the Humanist Manifesto here almost overwhelms the potential of the plot and the cooler sci-fi elements of the story. And, she also almost kills a few good points she was making (zealotry and ignorance - no matter what their purpose) combined always make for bad results.

    Once I was able to get past that, I was able to enjoy the very humanness of the main character and the quirkiness of her accompanying party. There is humor and some good observations of human nature in the book - as well as lots of thoughts being seeded for the later novels. The actual writing itself is well done, provides plenty of context and illustration without being overdone.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    If it's available, it would be the next book - Sky Coyote. Alas, it seems like this author loves to put herself into heavily religious contexts, with that in mind, I may just read the summary on wikipedia and move on to the later novels.


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

    Janan's performance was one of the saving graces of the book. She's good (though there was a bit of a problem with some of the accents - in fairness - there were lots) and her voice is melodic and believable and she can pull off the male voices and give them more subtlety than many a male reader provide for the female characters.


    Did In the Garden of Iden inspire you to do anything?

    Yes. It inspired me to try and understand why wonderful writers and people with such vast imaginations can't imagine the possibility of God in the universe. It doesn't make sense to me that people that can contemplate the vast possibilities of the future, technology and so forth can somehow not consider the fact that God may exist. This staggers me considering that we don't know more than 4% of what the universe is made up of (though who even knows what we really don't know?) that smart people can out of hand reject the possibility.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd look for the reader again, not sure I'll look for the author again.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By William Davis
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (1567)
    Performance
    (1343)
    Story
    (1324)

    Since the introduction of dietary guidelines calling for reduced fat intake in the 1970s, a strange phenomenon has occurred: Americans have steadily, inexorably become heavier, less healthy, and more prone to diabetes than ever before. After putting more than two thousand of his at-risk patients on a wheat-free regimen and seeing extraordinary results, cardiologist William Davis has come to the disturbing conclusion that it is not fat, not sugar, not our sedentary lifestyle that is causing America’s obesity epidemic—it is wheat.

    Stacey says: "The program works, but the listen is technical"
    "Well Researched! STOP Eating Wheat!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Wheat Belly again? Why?

    Yes indeed! There was no way to get all the information from one listen. I need to listen to several areas again.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Wheat Belly?

    The moment when I realized that my eating "healthy whole grains" was killing me in more ways than one.


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

    He just narrated - but his reading of the phrase "healthy whole grains" was awesome every time.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wanted all the information, but it was to dense to try to absorb all at once.


    Any additional comments?

    Stop eating wheat!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Justice Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Laurie R. King
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (667)
    Performance
    (325)
    Story
    (329)

    A trail of ominous clues comprise a mystery that leads from an English hamlet to the city of Paris to the wild prairie of the New World. The trap is set, the game is afoot; but can Holmes and Russell catch an elusive killer, or has the murderer caught them?

    Susan says: "Best Holmes since Arthur Conan Doyle"
    "Captivating - Russell and Holmes at their best!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Justice Hall again? Why?

    Yes, I would, but not until I'm done with the entire series :-) Why? It's one of my favorite books to date. I love the tie in to O Jerusalem, the old characters are rich, the new characters are intriguing and the end and even where the whole story goes from the start is unexpected.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Not so much on the edge of my seat as firmly planted in it because I didn't want to stop reading. It was enthralling.


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

    I've listened to her in all the other Mary Russell books. Believe it or not, out of all the readings of Holmes that I've heard - hers is my favorite. I love her voice work and I'm surprised at her range with characterizing male voices.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    My only extreme reaction was enjoyment :-D


    Any additional comments?

    Read the next book too - it's just as good!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Quantum Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Hannu Rajaniemi
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (154)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (136)

    Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist, and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy—from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of Mars. Now he’s confined inside the Dilemma Prison, where every day he has to get up and kill himself before his other self can kill him.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "non-stop semi-hard sf heist novel & plenty of fun"
    "Good Concept, Fairly Interesting Characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would if they're a sci-fi fantasy person. It's worth the read, but I wouldn't rave about it and say "You MUST read this." It's fills time and it has an interesting universe.


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

    There are times when the author needs to establish parts of the universe, alas he drones on in seemingly more than sufficient detail to establish his point. He should get there faster and explain more on the fly. He gets better at it later in the book - then he suddenly bogs down.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The escape in the ship at the start. It was a brief glimpse into what I was hoping would be a little cooler stuff. Alas, it didn't all pan out that way. I also liked the development of the characters and relationships.


    Could you see The Quantum Thief being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No. No possible way. Too many subtleties that made the book worth it that without it would just make it another sci-fi shoot-em-up.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought the performance was OK, but it may be that a different reader may have been more beneficial. This readers particular tone seemed to flatten out emotional responses and exciting scenes a bit for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Thomas Cathcart, Daniel Klein
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (205)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (63)

    Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, longtime philosophers and comedians, present Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, an entertaining, enlightening, and engaging guide to the love of wisdom. With their combined knowledge, wit, and whimsy, the authors provide a book that can be thoroughly enjoyed by anyone, from the curious layman to the most well-versed professor of Nicomachean Ethics.

    Mark says: "Had fun and learned a few things!"
    "Sophmoric"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    50/50. I liked the intro to philosophy and concepts but I just felt like the book was written by a bunch of college frat boys who associate everything with some kind of sexual reference as if it was the only thing people could relate to.


    What could Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Change their jokes!


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Johnny Heller?

    Yes.


    Do you think Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    If they were going to delve deeper into the content, sure. If not, no.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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