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Debra B

Member Since 2009

ratings
113
REVIEWS
44
FOLLOWING
24
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
24

  • 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
    (1887)
    Performance
    (1425)
    Story
    (1422)

    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
  • Just After Sunset: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King, Jill Eikenberry, Holter Graham, Geor
    Overall
    (1025)
    Performance
    (371)
    Story
    (375)

    Just After Sunset - call it dusk, call it twilight, it's a time when human intercourse takes on an unnatural cast, when nothing is quite as it appears, when the imagination begins to reach for shadows as they dissipate to darkness and living daylight can be scared right out of you. It's the perfect time for Stephen King.

    J says: "King scores another coup"
    "At last! Short stories that aren't boring!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A good collection of stories of everyday life, but naturally, with a macabre bent. Stephen King knows how to take middle class/upper-middle class problems - almost boring by definition - and give them the twist that will fill you with unease. Things are not what the seem. None of the stories were gory, but all of them messed with your mind. The sheer volume of blood spilled in horror stories usually keeps me away, but this one wasn't so bad. The stories all had a long buildups, but mostly, I was only aware of the mounting tension, and of an intense desire to know the outcome.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By David Miller
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (439)
    Performance
    (400)
    Story
    (399)

    In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to hike 2,172 miles of the Appalachian Trail. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail is Miller’s account of this thru-hike from Georgia to Maine. Listeners are treated to rich descriptions of the Appalachian Mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspiration that fueled his quest, and the rewards of taking a less conventional path through life. While this book abounds with introspection and perseverance, it also provides useful passages about hiking gear and planning.

    Phillip says: "Most Informative Book on the AT"
    "Adventure and endurance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this book inspiring, and never boring. I don't want to make a big thing of it, but like other commenters, I sometimes wanted to know more about what was going on inside of his head. It's quite a feat walking the entire trail like he did, and I couldn't help but be very curious about his mind-set. But still, he is forthcoming enough, and in general, he seems to know what the reader would want to hear about. The narrator didn't seem quite right (a tad stodgy?), but it didn't get in my way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By David Shafer
    • Narrated By Bernard Setaro Clark
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    The Committee, an international cabal of industrialists and media barons, is on the verge of privatizing all information. Dear Diary, an idealistic online Underground, stands in the way of that takeover, using radical politics, classic spycraft, and technology that makes Big Data look like dial-up. Into this secret battle stumbles an unlikely trio: Leila Majnoun, a disillusioned non-profit worker; Leo Crane, an unhinged trustafarian; and Mark Deveraux, a phony self-betterment guru who works for the Committee.

    Michele says: "A Light-Hearted Paranoid Thriller"
    "Lots of wry humor, and some techno-intrigue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was more a humor book than edge-of-the-seat thriller. I loved the mix of characters, and how keyed in the book was to contemporary life and all the inherent tensions. I'm not sure if it was the author's intention, but the three main characters all screamed out "Mellennials!" to me. Prototypes of a generation or not, they seemed to have grand-ish expectations that were fated to run smack dab into cold reality, which was part of the humor of the book. It also helped that the narrator was totally on board with the tenor of the book. Things move along at a good pace, which is surprising because there isn't that much going on in terms of thriller intrigue.

    One thing, though - I was expecting more of a focus on the struggle between the bad guy Committee people and the good guy Dear Diary people. As it turned out, there is a long build up to it, and even then, things are not entirely resolved. Will this book be part of a series?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Ben Macintyre
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (75)

    Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain's counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War - while he was secretly working for the enemy. And nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby's best friend and fellow officer in MI6.

    Michael Eaton says: "The Greatest Spy -- Ever Discovered"
    "Some answers to a shocking deception"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a fascinating book, and answered a number of questions I'd always had about Kim Philby. For one thing, just how does that work, exactly, going to MI6 everyday and pulling a lie of that magnitude over everybody's eyes, day after day? This book lays it out as well as any I have read about real-life spies, and it goes a long way to connecting the dots of character and action. It read like a spy novel, although it was unexpectedly depressing in parts, because unfortunately, this is all real.

    Ben Macintyre did a good job keeping an objective tone throughout. He challenged some of Philby's beliefs and assumptions, but when he did, it came across as reasonable inquiry.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Rosie Project: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Graeme Simsion
    • Narrated By Dan O'Grady
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1497)
    Performance
    (1364)
    Story
    (1363)

    Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a "wonderful" husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical - most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver. Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent - and on a quest of her own....

    Margaret says: "A fun listen"
    "A perfect little comedy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I usually try to stay away from stories billed as "heart-warming," and worse, "feel-good," but there is no resisting this one. The author does a great job showing the world through the protagonist's eyes (who has Asperger's, we are all but straight out told), while at the same time, giving the reader a pretty good idea of how things surely must look to everybody else. I laughed out loud in parts, and got choked up in others. It's a funny, light book, but I never found it silly; I would have stopped reading it if I had. Also, it doesn't treat Asperger's as a completely negative condition, and we are invited to look at the other side of that coin, as entertaining a lesson as I've ever had. Good narrator, with an ear for the subtleties that are moving the story.

    0 of 0 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
    (413)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (346)

    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
    (725)
    Performance
    (645)
    Story
    (646)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (38)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (36)

    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
    (5199)
    Performance
    (2087)
    Story
    (2100)

    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
    (456)
    Performance
    (423)
    Story
    (423)

    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

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