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Karen

Everett, WA, United States | Member Since 2008

93
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 96 ratings
  • 356 titles in library
  • 32 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
3

  • Fragile Things

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1026)
    Performance
    (501)
    Story
    (502)

    Marvelous creations, including a short story set in the world of The Matrix and others set in the worlds of gothic fiction and children's fiction, can be found in this extraordinary collection, which showcases Gaiman's storytelling brilliance as well as his entertaining (and dark) sense of humor.

    Jill says: "Aother winner from Gaiman"
    "Perhaps a different format?"
    Overall

    Neil Gaiman is probably my favorite author to listen to in audio format out there. I have listened to nearly everything he's ever written that's been recorded and consider "The Graveyard Book" the closest thing to a perfect audio book ever produced. So I had looked forward with anticipation to "sinking my ears into it" when I downloaded this book. It unfortunately fell a bit short of my expectations.

    So what's wrong with this one? Well... a number of little things that add up to enough to make me unable to give it more than 3 stars. The stories are generally good, though some certainly better than others, and Neil reading them is always a bonus, as he reads his work so well. But, perhaps (and probably) because it is in an audio format, one does not really have the time to digest the individual pieces. There is mere seconds of transition time between the various stories/poems/commentary. If you listen to your books while doing tasky things, as I often do, it is not feasible to stop between pieces, digest the tale, think about the work, etc. Some of the pieces are short enough and esoteric enough that it is not automatically clear that one story's ended and another begun. I think it likely that, had I read this book in paper format, I might have had a different experience.

    That said, in the end the book is redeemed by the novella taking up with the character Shadow from "American Gods". It is epic enough, long enough and in keeping enough with the original tale that it made muddling through the rest of the book worth it. I have no regrets for having added this title to my Gaiman library, but it falls rather to the bottom of the list.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • The Slow Regard of Silent Things: Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2.5

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (527)
    Performance
    (489)
    Story
    (491)

    Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place. Her name is Auri, and she is full of mysteries. The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a brief, bittersweet glimpse of Auri’s life, a small adventure all her own. At once joyous and haunting, this story offers a chance to see the world through Auri’s eyes. And it gives the reader a chance to learn things that only Auri knows.... In this book, Patrick Rothfuss brings us into the world of one of The Kingkiller Chronicle’s most enigmatic characters. Full of secrets and mysteries, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is the story of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world.

    Heather says: "Absolute Waste of Time"
    "I'd rename it, "The Slow Regard of OCD Things""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Look... I LOVE The Name of the Wind series. I LOVE Auri. I love Patrick Rothfuss' writing. But three + hours of skittering around in Auri's whackadoo mind is just. too. much. I can see why he enjoyed writing it... total play on words, the flagrant exploration of the "essense" (as perceived by a crazy person, albeit a sweet, harmless crazy person) of inanimate "things" was probably fun to write, fun to explore. But for the reader? It was just painful. I listened to the whole thing, but it was more a dutiful and drudgeryish experience than anything, rather than enjoyable. I get the idea that most of us are a little bit broken, and most of us often feel lonely, but 6-7 days worth of narrative from the rambling, mercurial mind of a crazy girl just got to be way the heck too much. I will never listen to it again.

    29 of 36 people found this review helpful
  • Naamah's Kiss

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Carey
    • Narrated By Anne Flosnik
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (406)
    Performance
    (260)
    Story
    (264)

    Once there were great magicians born to the Maghuin Dhonn, the folk of the Brown Bear, the oldest tribe in Alba. But generations ago, the greatest of them all broke a sacred oath sworn in the name of all his people. Now, only small gifts remain to them. Through her lineage, Moirin possesses such gifts---the ability to summon the twilight and conceal herself, and the skill to coax plants to grow.

    Glen Gaines says: "The Kushiel series in order"
    "Meh.. really doesn't live up to the Kushiel legacy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really loved the whole Kushiel series, both Phaedre's and Imriel's stories... But this one was just soooo far fetched that it was hard to really buy into Moiren's story. I found Moiren's character to be both too cloying and improbable to really feel invested, and the whole going to Ch'in, dragons, etc was just stretching it too far. I don't actually think that I'll be finishing this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10176)
    Performance
    (9356)
    Story
    (9409)

    Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

    Pi says: "Jarring change in Dotrice's performance"
    "Do you all realize that Roy Dotrice is VERY old?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read through many of the reviews of this book, and the primary complaint seems to be regarding the inconsistencies with Mr. Dotrice's narration. I feel that it is important to point out that he is NINETY years old as I write this, was 88 when this audiobook was published and 80 when the first book in the series came out. I know many elderly people, and the fact that he was able to narrate these giant tomes at all is quite remarkable, let alone so well!! So, yes, I agree that it is maddening to hear a narrator change his game mid show, but I feel like we got to cut this guy some slack. Just saying.

    That said... the book itself is consistent with the rest of these works, ponderous and detailed, but still thoroughly engaging. Just like the whole series.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Cloud Atlas

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Cassandra Campbell, Kim Mai Guest, and others
    Overall
    (3366)
    Performance
    (2547)
    Story
    (2558)

    A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation: the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history.

    Elizabeth says: "thoroughly enjoyed"
    "This was an incredible book!! And a great listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    David Mitchell can seriously write. It's like 6 mini-novelas with the slightest undercurrent of a theme running through all of them. Each story is so unique from the others presented, and so well done, it's hard to imagine that they're all contained in one book. Other reviewers cautioned against trying to listen haphazardly to this one, I think that's sage advice. But I didn't find it difficult to follow as long as I paid attention. It's funny, poignant, serious and intense, all wrapped into one. This is one I will listen to again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6676)
    Performance
    (5940)
    Story
    (5939)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Pamela says: "The circus of your dreams"
    "It felt really disconnected. Disappointing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book had come highly recommended to me by friends, and it's certainly in a genre/era that I enjoy. I read a lot of victorian era fantasy fiction and, usually, I enjoy it immensely. This book, however, was always just a little off the mark. Character development was, presumably, sacrificed for setting development which, ultimately, gave the whole piece a rather hollow feel. There was also a lack of consistency in the characters... It was difficult to determine who were the pro- and antagonists. You found yourself rooting for a character one minute and finding them distasteful in the next. The back story was never really hammered into place, giving everything a rather hazy, made up sort of feel. Reveals were too brief and, as a result, anticlimactic. Possibly the most frustrating thing is that, for a book that supposedly takes place in the late 1800 and 1900's, the romantic relationship between the two protagonists feels uncomfortably modern, bordering on a new age, tantric-y, hipsterish vibe that seems strangely out of place. Likewise, while the IDEA behind the circus seems intriguing and fraught with possibility, much of the descriptions of the attractions/performers sound like the author had recently gone to a Cirque du Soleil show and then wrote what she saw into the narrative. Again... That uncomfortably contemporary feel that felt laid onto the era, rather than emanating from within it.

    All in all, I think this author has potential. I think she just probably needs more practice and she should, perhaps, consider writing from within an era that she's actually familiar with. This story had potential too but, alas, that's too late to really be realized. From a performance perspective, Jim Dale did a solid, thorough job here, even if sounding a bit too bumpkinish for some of the more "elite" roles in this book. I am not likely to listen to this again.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3805)
    Performance
    (3331)
    Story
    (3366)

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "Super fun listen, wholly engrossing!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I found this book to be really enjoyable. It was my first foray into the land of Stephenson, after being referred by a friend, and I'm quite pleased. The story was fantastical yet never felt impossible, thanks to the careful machinations of the author. Great characters, well developed, human and interesting. Held your attention throughout. I thought the narrator did a great job, really conveying distinction between the characters despite their wide diversity. I couldn't stop listening!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Philip Pullman
    • Narrated By Philip Pullman, full cast
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5242)
    Performance
    (1727)
    Story
    (1753)

    When Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon decide to spy on a presentation her uncle, the commanding Lord Asriel, is making to the elders of Jordan College they have no idea that they will become witnesses to an attempted murder, and even less that they are taking the first steps in a journey that will lead them into danger and adventure unlike anything Lyra's unfettered imagination has conjured up.

    Arnold says: "A Terrific Book"
    "The series is incredible and the production great!"
    Overall

    This is one of my favorite pieces of literature. I read the bound version of this series at least twice before listening to it, and the production of the audio version is excellent and enjoyable. Phillip Pullman is not only a brilliant writer, but also a scathing social critic. The story itself is compelling, rich and engaging, but becomes epic when the underlying social commentary is considered.

    I read several of the many "this is an anti-God book!!" reviews written by anxious readers regarding this work. I am willing to bet that most of them haven't actually read the whole series and are simply letting either what they've heard about it, or their own discomfort about belief systems being called into question influence their opinions regarding Mr. Pullman's excellent work. If one can take a more global view of the story, it becomes apparent that it is *organized religion* that is being called to task in this series, not any actual (vs. manufactured) manifestation of spirituality itself. In particular, I think it is safe to say that Pullman is especially targeting the powerful, European based, Roman Catholic church and it's historical, well publicized abuses of power. We've all heard the phrase "power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely". THAT'S what this story is really about.

    So, from my perspective, there's no need to be afraid to read this book if you are a Christian or any other religious person. On the contrary, I think that it presents an interesting conceptualization of spirituality unconstrained by an over-powerful and convoluted "religious body", unshackled by the guilt and political obligation so inherent in organized religion. The characters are sharp, witty, clever and very well developed. The action is exciting and fast paced, the villains superbly villainous (yet still with some humanity intact, adding to their complexity) and the protagonists deep and committed. This author is a true wordsmith and worthy of your consideration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (688)
    Performance
    (324)
    Story
    (330)

    The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the 19th century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the 20th. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.

    Craig says: "Fascinating"
    "I guess I'm just not a big nautical tales fan..."
    Overall

    I tried to like this book... I didn't hate it. But I kept waiting to be pulled into it, mezmerized like so many other reviewers seemed to be. Unfortunately, although the narrator was skillful and the story a reasonable length, it just never really won me over. My final determination is that I'm guessing that I'm just not a big seagoing gal, after all. I probably wouldn't like Moby Dick, either. If, however, sea tales and gibbets and bosuns and whales, starboards, mainsails and gunneys are the sorts of things that "float yer boat" (pardon the pun), this may be just the current you are looking for.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael Pollan
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3561)
    Performance
    (1306)
    Story
    (1304)

    "What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance.

    Stephen Redding says: "Great presentation of a moral dilemma"
    "Crucial Material, Narrated Wonderfully!"
    Overall

    If you have any interest in the status of that which we call "food" in our modern day society, then this is the audio book for you. Take with a grain of salt the naysayers who kvetch about the "bore factor" or the "terrible narration" of this piece... It's a work of scientific non-fiction, for goodness sake!! Of course it is chock full of research and detailed information, but written in such a way as to be wholly engaging, fascinating and relevant right now. (If you are bored when confronted with fact-filled research, then consider fiction as, perhaps, a better suited medium) The narration is wonderful!! After reading some of the other reviews, I worried that the narrator may prove unpalatable, but I didn't find that to be the case at all. I listen to a *lot* of audio-books, and found Mr. Brick's representation of Michael Pollen's work to be perfectly lovely. He weaves a vibrancy into what might be a bit overwhelming at times into a tasteful and easy to listen to body. If you live in the U.S. and you are a consumer who purchases food in this country, you must read this book!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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