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Debra B

Member Since 2009

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 39 reviews
  • 107 ratings
  • 336 titles in library
  • 44 purchased in 2014
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23
FOLLOWERS
1

  • SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Howard E. Wasdin, Stephen Templin
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1779)
    Performance
    (1322)
    Story
    (1320)

    When the Navy sends their elite, they send the SEALs. When the SEALs send their elite, they send SEAL Team Six—a secret unit tasked with counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and counterinsurgency. In this dramatic, behind-the-scenes chronicle, Howard Wasdin takes listeners deep inside the world of Navy SEALs and Special Forces snipers, beginning with the grueling selection process of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL - the toughest and longest military training in the world.

    Allan says: "unique among these books"
    "Straight up, no fluff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Isn't that what you want?
    This is a fascinating look at a career the vast majority of us simply couldn't do. The author seems interested in exploring his own psychology, and recognizes he has done something highly unusual in becoming a Seal Team member. So, he has the self-awareness to write about his experiences in a meaningful way. I was pretty impressed.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Coroner’s Lunch: The Dr. Siri Investigations, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Colin Cotterill
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (307)
    Performance
    (255)
    Story
    (253)

    Laos, 1975: The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old Paris-trained doctor, is appointed national coroner. Although he has no training for the job, there is no one else: the rest of the educated class have fled.

    Jane says: "a splendid story"
    "It's way over in Laos, but you'll know the people"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This popped up in the Recommended For You section, and I thought I would try it. This was a charming book, with characters that came alive fairly easily for me, considering how distant Laos is, and how little I really know about it. It seems that people are the same everywhere. I was never really sure how tightly the author was basing the book on real people and real situations (supernatural aside), but I'd love to know. As far as the supernatural elements go, it wasn't overly done, and it melded surprising well with the storyline. The main character, the coroner Dr. Siri, is a genuine wit, and there is a steady stream of dry humor, helped along considerably by the droll voice of the narrator, Clive Chafer. It was a very good pairing of actor and book. The mystery story itself was OK; it wrapped up in a bit of a jumble at the end. But no matter. I'll probably read the next one in the series sometime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (669)
    Performance
    (594)
    Story
    (594)

    Goodwin describes the broken friendship between Teddy Roosevelt and his chosen successor, William Howard Taft. With the help of the "muckraking" press, Roosevelt had wielded the Bully Pulpit to challenge and triumph over abusive monopolies, political bosses, and corrupting money brokers. Roosevelt led a revolution that he bequeathed to Taft only to see it compromised as Taft surrendered to money men and big business. The rupture led Roosevelt to run against Taft for president, an ultimately futile race that gave power away to the Democrats.

    Cynthia says: "Makes You Forget You Live in the 21st Century Good"
    "They were friends, they were enemies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is what history is to me. When I pick up a biography/history book, I like it to be like this one: heavy on the characters, but also a scholarly look at the issues of the day. I appreciate how Doris Kearns Goodwin can sift through all the material, and bring it together in one giant, forceful story.The friendship that dissolved between Roosevelt and Taft is fascinating, and is at the center of the book.I could listen to stories about those two all day. There is also a lot about McClure's magazine and the new journalism, and the pivotal battles with Rockefeller and the Trusts. Through it all, there are friendships, alliances, and falling outs.

    The book is long, but in this case, it's a plus. Edward Herrmann is a good choice for narrator - he has the gravitas, and the kind of voice that you can listen to for a very long time. I thought I knew something of this part of history, but there was a lot I didn't know, or hadn't seen presented in quite this way. Really enjoyable, and definitely worth my time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Small Hand

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Susan Hill
    • Narrated By Cameron Stewart
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (34)

    Late one summer evening, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow is returning from a client visit when he takes a wrong turn. He stumbles across a derelict Edwardian house, and compelled by curiosity, approaches the door. Standing before the entrance, he feels the unmistakable sensation of a small cold hand creeping into his own, ‘as if a child had taken hold of it’. At first he is merely puzzled by the odd incident but then begins to suffer attacks of fear and panic, and is visited by nightmares.

    Kate says: "Ranks right up there with The Haunting."
    "Intriguing, but not spine-tingling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an interesting enough story told by an author who knows how to spin a yarn. It concerns a modern day antique book dealer and ivory-tower type pursuits, which might appeal to some listeners and leave others less intrigued. It was mildly creepy, and maybe could have used a little more angst. But, it wasn't overly long, and I was always curious about what was behind the Small Hand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Gods

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5134)
    Performance
    (2022)
    Story
    (2035)

    For the three years Shadow spent in prison, all he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place.

    Joseph says: "Amazing, powerful book about America."
    "These gods can try your patience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked the free listen, Click Clack the Rattlebag by Neil Gaiman, so I thought I would try one of his books. American Gods is entertaining, with all the trouble-making gods running amuck and being petulant. They could be a little one-dimensional like that, and it made them tiresome at times.

    Overall, American Gods was somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for me, with due appreciation for how the threads of the story were intertwined, and for bringing to life the gods and plunking them down in culture-shock America. A salute to Neil Gaiman for bringing in the House on the Rock in Wisconsin,and capturing the strange vibe of this tourist trap. He did a credible job of the region, in general.

    The narration was fine, although Guidall sounded a little old for Shadow, the main character. He did a masterly job, though, with the many other characters. Guidall has a naturally craggy voice, but he somehow managed to make Laura sound feminine and compelling, and the other female voices weren't bad, either.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Society's Child: My Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Janis Ian
    • Narrated By Janis Ian
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (444)
    Performance
    (411)
    Story
    (411)

    Janis Ian was catapulted into the spotlight in 1966 at the age of 15, when her soul-wrenching song "Society's Child" became a hit. But this was only the beginning of a long and illustrious career. In Society's Child, Janis Ian provides a relentlessly honest account of the successes and failures - and the hopes and dreams - of an extraordinary life.

    Pamela says: "I know why this won the grammy"
    "Grabs and pulls you in"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was a revelation to me. I knew some of her songs, but I had no idea about all the things going on with her. In the first hour of listening, I heard hints that this might be a bit of a self-serving tale told from a predictable perspective, but after listening more (and I couldn't put it down), I changed my mind about that. Her voice (written and spoken) comes across as honest and nothing-to-hide, and all of her experiences alone make this worth a listen. She has scaled the heights, and been laid low. Sometimes, though, I wondered how her friends or acquaintances might have weighed in on the situation of the moment - I fear that sometimes she may have been the last to know.

    Even if you didn't know her music, you still might find this book interesting. Besides a biography-worthy life, there is also music history in it, and as a nice bonus, she sings some of her songs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us about Living Longer, Happier Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Bruce Grierson
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    In What Makes Olga Run? Bruce Grierson explores what the wild success of a 94-year-old track star can tell us about how our bodies and minds age. Olga Kotelko is not your average 94-year-old. She not only looks and acts like a much younger woman, she holds over 23 world records in track and field, 17 in her current 90 to 95 category. Convinced that this remarkable woman could help unlock many of the mysteries of aging, Grierson set out to uncover what it is that's driving Olga.

    Marci says: "I can't stop talking about this book"
    "You're not trapped in an aging body"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Olga is in her nineties, and has the body and athletic abilities of someone much younger. With hundreds of medals in her closet, no one is disputing that she is a super athlete - the only question is, why? Olga wants to know, too, and she and the author set about to find the answers, looking at everything from muscle fibers to diet to psychology. The importance of exercise comes up again and again,and this book is the very embodiment of the carrot-instead-of-a-stick approach to get us all moving. Like Born to Run and the ultra marathoners, Olga made me realize humans do not necessarily have the physical limitations we may think we do. The book has a lot to say about how to get a better quality of life, too. Olga is an inspiring person, and this is an inspiring, helpful book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Magazine: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Michael Hastings
    • Narrated By Ramiz Monsef
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (16)

    The year is 2002. Weekly news magazines dominate the political agenda in New York and Washington. A young journalist named Michael M. Hastings is an intern at The Magazine, wet behind the ears, the only one in the office who has actually read his coworkers' books. He will stop at nothing to turn his internship into a full-time position and has figured out just who to impress: Nishant Patel, the international editor, and Sanders Berman, managing editor - both vying for the job of editor-in-chief.

    Darwin8u says: "CURRENT and ENERGY that is hard to contain"
    "A journalist skewers journalism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was blistering. It's a parody of a news magazine and the personalities involved, and Michael Hastings was, in real life, employed at just such a place. Maybe that was why his characters all popped off the page (or off my iPod), fully drawn. There is a kind of humor or wry observation that reminded me of A Confederacy of Dunces. Knowing that the author died before he had finished this book, I went into it expecting an uneven finish. But for me, the end was a perfect landing.

    The narrator is one of those gifted individuals who can make all the characters distinct and memorable through subtle means.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Victory

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    From one of the greatest modern writers in world literature comes a magnificent story of love, adventure, and rescue played out against the shimmering South Seas. Alone on a tropical island, a Swedish baron and a beautiful violinist discover the long-lost joys of love. But when two treasure hunters arrive on the beach, the lovers know that evil has invaded their romantic paradise—an evil they are powerless to stop.

    Darwin8u says: "Beautiful, sad and powerful"
    "Uneven tale of good and evil"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book takes place in the tropics. Conrad is a wonderful writer, and he sailed the tropical seas in real life. Heart of Darkness is one of my favorite books.

    So, I wish I liked this one more. It seemed like Conrad kept trying to beat home his points about his characters and about good vs. evil. Sometimes he would go on and on about something, and even though I thought I knew what he was trying to get at when he started, by the time he was done I'd be only confused. He kept bringing up what it means to be a gentleman, but I honestly am not sure what he was trying to say on that particular subject. But, it was still a good story, and it was uncanny how it kept pulling me back in. Also, I was glad I'd been alerted to the fact that the narrator point of view shifts through the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Faithful Spy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2205)
    Performance
    (845)
    Story
    (839)

    John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover.

    Margaret says: "Faithful Spy"
    "Believable premise, and often gripping"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a modern day terrorist suspense story, and was more like 3.5 stars.I don't read a lot of spy novels, but other people seemed to like this one, so I thought I would give it a try. I was glad I did. The plot itself is gripping, and is the real draw here. It seemed plausible, and as a side note, all the references to NSA were interesting. The book seemed to lag at the parts about the love story, and at some of the parts about the character's interior lives. Most characters came off as a little cardboard. But still, the author tried to make them at least somewhat human, and he avoided outright caricatures. The narration was fine, but it's hard for macho-sounding guys to have to suddenly do female voices.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Antiquarian

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Gustavo Faveron Patriau, Joseph Mulligan (translator)
    • Narrated By Joel Richards
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend, Daniel, who's been interned in a psychiatric ward for murdering his fiancée. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to confess the truth behind the crime, Gustavo's long-buried loyalty resurfaces and draws him into the center of a quixotic, unconventional investigation. While Daniel reveals his unsettling story through fragments of fables, novels, and historical allusions, Gustavo begins to retrace the past for clues.

    Laura says: "Amazing story- Great read"
    "Too meandering for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was always going off on a macabre tangent. The tangents - the allegories - are meant to help tell the story, but it got tiresome after a while. This is a book I wanted to like. It brought in a different culture, and had elements of a gothic suspense tale. And, I sensed the sincerity of the author's efforts to make sense of a war torn land (and perhaps his frustration with it?). But as far as a straight-up story goes, it wasn't that suspenseful or engaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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