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R. A.

I heart mysteries, political non-fiction, and memoirs, especially all in one book.

Member Since 2010

34
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 57 ratings
  • 197 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational, and Scientific

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Martin A. Lee
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (44)

    Martin A. Lee traces the dramatic social history of marijuana, from its origins to its emergence in the 1960s as a defining force in a culture war that has never ceased. Lee describes how the illicit marijuana subculture overcame government opposition and morphed into a dynamic, multibillion-dollar industry. Colorful, illuminating, and at times irreverent, this is a fascinating listen for recreational users and patients, students and doctors, musicians and accountants, Baby Boomers and their kids, and anyone who has ever wondered about the secret life of this ubiquitous herb.

    Blake says: "A hard book for me to rate"
    "Highly recommended for just about everyone"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book literally blew me away. I listened to an interview between Lee and Terry Gross and was impressed by Lee's nuanced answers. History buffs, alternative medicine seekers, law makers, civilians, pot heads, the sick, Republicans and Democrats, old and young alike will find so much to love about this book. I gave the hard copy to not one, not two, but three family members this holidays season, all of whom are as diverse as they come.
    The history behind marijuana is well researched and the most complete I've ever come across, in terms of time and geography. The footnoted research done with medical journals is unlike any I've come across in the past and the reverence for the sacred use is refreshingly un-sappy.
    I've learned so much from this book and hope you will too.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Twelve Clues of Christmas: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2007)
    Performance
    (1780)
    Story
    (1772)

    On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile, Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.

    Felicia The Geeky Blogger says: "It was a great Christmas Who-Done-It!"
    "An outsider looking in...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Katherine Kellgren's narration is so compelling, it makes up for the simplistic ending to this mystery. I am not one to listen to books that are a part of a series; I feel there are generally better, more unique books to be had that don't require a substantial time commitment. That said, this book stands well on its own and is a nice diversion for listeners looking for something easy for the holidays.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4249)
    Performance
    (3742)
    Story
    (3744)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "Scalzi and Wheaton can do no wrong"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is disappointingly short (the second half of the book is the original), but delightful all the same. Wheaton is delicious as the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20060)
    Performance
    (17961)
    Story
    (18024)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Fantastic!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story deserves all the accolades it has received. The story moves back and forth in time, using diary entries and different narrators to convey the two main characters. Flynn used a similar technique in Dark Places, but here, it is even better. The story is mysterious and exciting, and keeps the reader engaged throughout. The ending is extremely satisfying. I cannot wait for Flynn's next work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Places: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman, Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins, and others
    Overall
    (4560)
    Performance
    (3794)
    Story
    (3813)

    Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas". As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived, and famously testified that her 15-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who've long forgotten her.

    Glenda Jeffers says: "Riveting but brutal"
    "An aptly named novel with great narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Flynn's second novel is top notch; the characters are well described, the action is plausible and the plot will keep you up trying to finish the book. Though not as eloquent as Gone Girl, Dark Places doesn't disappoint.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • One Second After

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By William R. Forstchen
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5478)
    Performance
    (3458)
    Story
    (3489)

    Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based upon a real weapon - the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) - which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States.

    Sara says: "A terrifying story"
    "Interesting novel based on real, potential threat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you can get over the narrator's horrible impression of the female's voices, this book has a lot to offer. The author is clearly Republican leaning, though moderate in his take of the new world that is created by an EMP blast. The story is realistic, with quite a bit of history of war thrown in. The characters are more or less believable, the action scenes credible and the cautionary tips about being prepared for anything are useful. Plus, the forward by Newt Gingrich is solid (this coming from a bleeding heart liberal).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carnicero, and others
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    Overall
    (700)
    Performance
    (615)
    Story
    (622)

    Imagine how different your life would be if you could tell whether someone was lying or telling you the truth. Be it hiring a new employee, investing in a financial interest, speaking with your child about drugs, confronting your significant other about suspected infidelity, or even dating someone new, having the ability to unmask a lie can have far-reaching and even life-altering consequences. As former CIA officers, Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero are among the world’s best at recognizing deceptive behavior.

    Kim says: "Excellent, with one disappointment"
    "Helpful, well written, and smart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Spy the Lie starts out a bit slow, with quite a bit of background and sports analogies. After Chapter Two, once you fully believe the authors are bright and well meaning, the fun begins. Listening to such a book made me want to take notes, so that I could better retain the information. Spy the Lie is basically a how-to on "The Method" for detecting deception. It won't make you a human lie detector, but it certainly can help you get to the truth. Plus, the analysis of OJ Simpson, Jerry Sandusky, and Christine O'Donnell are fascinating. The appendix includes sample questions for your child if you suspect he/she is doing drugs, and another sample list in case you think your significant other is cheating. I used "The Method" to uncover why a family member was behaving so strangely and it worked unbelievably well. Both party left the conversation feeling good because the truth had come out.

    20 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings—and Life

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 4 mins)
    • By Laura Vanderkam
    • Narrated By Laura Vanderkam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (907)
    Performance
    (770)
    Story
    (755)

    According to time management expert Laura Vanderkam, mornings hold the key to taking control of our schedules. If we use them wisely, we can build habits that will allow us to lead happier, more productive lives. Drawing on real-life anecdotes and scientific research that shows why the early hours of the day are so important, Vanderkam reveals how successful people use mornings to help them accomplish things that are often impossible to take care of later in the day.

    Teresa says: "A statement or two could summarize this book"
    "Listen to the preview first"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The reader speaks slow enough that it is preferable to listen to the book at 2x speed. I bought it on a whim and realize now that I should have listened to the preview. It is nearly impossible to get to the meat of the story as the narration is so slow (and even at 2x speed, the pauses between sentences are excruciating).

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1725)
    Performance
    (969)
    Story
    (964)

    Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? Have sex? Smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour?

    Roy says: "Everything You Always Wanted to Know - and More"
    "Smart and Funny"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sandra Burr does a fantastic job of reading Roach's story. Reading the book without Burr makes it feel like something is missing. The writing is smart and informative. I've remained riveted throughout the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eggs, Cookies, and Leeches: Memorable Writing from The New Yorker

    • HIGHLIGHTS (4 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell, Hendrik Hertzberg, John Colapinto, and others
    • Narrated By uncredited
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Certainly, all the writing in The New Yorker is memorable, and this collection is no exception. The authors include such best sellers as Malcolm Gladwell, Seymour Hersh, and Jonathan Franzen - and the subjects range from the lives of short-order cooks to the secrets of college admissions.

    Michael says: "A random collection?"
    "Lovely little tales"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Eggs, Cookies, and Leeches the most enjoyable?

    This selection offers a wide variety of interesting, smart stories, perfect for listening to on a road trip and discussing later in a diner.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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