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Alan

Seattle, WA, United States | Member Since 2008

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 151 ratings
  • 256 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2014
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  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Brené Brown
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (588)
    Performance
    (513)
    Story
    (514)

    Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives. In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on 12 years of research, her book argues that vulnerability is not weakness but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection.

    Fulfillment and Exuberance says: "Love Brene Brown, didn't like the narrator"
    "Exceptional and inspirational"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Daring Greatly?

    Brene Brown's latest book on vulnerability, leadership, and living covers science, anecdotes, and insight in easy to understand and entertaining text.


    How could the performance have been better?

    This audio book suffers only from the narrator, who reads at good speed and emphasis, but has a high rasp in her voice that I found irritating. Not a fatal flaw because the content is so good. I recommend this audiobook.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • V-S Day: A Novel of Alternate History

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Allen Steele
    • Narrated By Ray Chase
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    Three-time Hugo Award-winning author Allen Steele now imagines an alternate history rooted in an actual historical possibility: what if the race to space had occurred in the early days of WWII? It's 1941, and Wernher von Braun is ordered by his Fuehrer to abandon the V2 rocket and turn German resources in a daring new direction: construction of a manned orbital spacecraft capable of attacking the U.S. Work on the rocket - called Silbervogel - begins at Peenemunde. Though it is top secret, British intelligence discovers the plan, and brings word to Franklin Roosevelt.

    Ritchie says: "An interesting what if,"
    "Fascinating alt history, lacks personal story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    V-S day was a fascinating speculation on what might have happened if the US had invested in creating intercontinental attack rockets instead of the nuclear bomb. The historical research is admirable and the story telling is smooth. What I missed was a focus on a personal story -- I think I would have found V-S day more engaging and meaningful if the story included a counterpoint that explored the effects of doing the work on one or more of the characters. For example, there is a brief subplot about the effect of secrecy on one researcher's relationship with his girlfriend. This could have been expanded through the story to look at different effects of war, excitement of discovery, and secrecy on this man's life. Without that sort of focus, V-S Day feels like an interesting History Channel documentary rather than an exciting story.

    I listened to the audio edition narrated by Ray Chase. I enjoy the richness and clarity of Mr. Chase's voice, but I find his delivery always left me expecting a disdainful remark at the end of every paragraph.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Paul Malmont
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    In 1943, when the United States learns that Germany is on the verge of a deadly innovation that could tip the balance of the war, the government turns to an unlikely source for help: the nation’s top science fiction writers. Installed at a covert military lab within the Philadelphia Naval Yard are the most brilliant of these young visionaries. The unruly band is led by Robert Heinlein, the dashing and complicated master of the genre. His “Kamikaze Group,” is tasked with transforming the wonders of science fiction into science fact....

    Jim N says: "Pulp Perfection!"
    "Capture the wonder of Golden Age SF"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In the middle of WWII, the navy gathered a bunch of science fiction writers together in a Philadelphia research center. This included Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and L. Sprague de Camp. Paul Malmont uses this fact as a launching point for a fictional mystery adventure where the great lights of 40s SF track down the lost secrets of Tesla's Wardencliffe experiment. It's great fun.

    I have read a great deal about Heinlein, Asimov, and actually met Sprague and Catherine de Camp back in '88. My impression is that that Paul Malmont did his research and does a fine job of recreating the character's of these historical figures. Any fans of these authors will enjoy this book. If you are a writer, you can catch the enthusiasm all these great authors had for their work. It will also satisfy fans of pulp style mystery adventure who have never heard of these authors.

    Christopher Lane, the narrator of this book, also did his research on accents--Heinlein's Missouri, Asimov's Bronks, de Camp upper class New York, and others are a delight.

    Bravo!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Seven Wonders: A Novel of the Ancient World

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Steven Saylor
    • Narrated By Stephen Plunkett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    USA Today hails Steven Saylor as a “modern master of historical fiction.” Rich in intrigue and period detail, his novels set in ancient Rome have garnered acclaim the world over. A prequel to his epic Roma Sub Rosa series, The Seven Wonders follows series star Gordianus the Finder as an 18-year-old traveling the Mediterranean to witness the wonders of that fabled age. At each stop, the young investigator finds a beguiling mystery that pushes his powers of deduction to the limit.

    Mark says: "Interesting History, Not much of a story"
    "The Making of Gordianus the Finder"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    How could the performance have been better?

    I found Mr. Plunkett's choice to pronounce ancient words and names in American dialect disappointing. In particular this mean that Gordianus' name came out with an unfortunate emphasis on the last four letter.


    Any additional comments?

    Steven Saylor gives us the formative adventure of Gordianus the Finder, as the 18 year old sets out with his tutor to visit the seven wonders. As with all Saylor's works, the attention to historical reconstruction of the Roman era intrigues me and keeps me reading. I felt like a tourist accompanying the main character on his visits to the great sights. Narrated in first person by young Gordianus, it presents a series of episodes that prompt his inquisitive problem solving skills and lead to the solution of several mysteries. It is only at the end of the book when we (and Gordianus) learn that there was more to his episodic adventure than was apparent. The final puzzle sets the young Finder onto the path to become the skeptical investigator we know in later books. I found The Seven Wonders interesting throughout and rewarding at the end. Recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Into the Black: Odyssey One

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Evan Currie
    • Narrated By Benjamin L. Darcie
    Overall
    (1023)
    Performance
    (948)
    Story
    (952)

    Captain Eric Weston and his crew encounter horrors, wonders, monsters, and people; all of which will test their resolve, challenge their abilities, and put in sharp relief what is necessary to be a hero. A first-rate military-science-fiction epic that combines old-school space opera and modern storytelling, Into the Black: Odyssey One is a riveting, exhilarating adventure with vivid details, rich mythology, and relentless pacing.

    C. Hartmann says: "Great, Solid Military SciFi / Evolving Space Opera"
    "Warning: Military geekout"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    If you are looking for exciting space opera, a la the Vorkosigan saga, take a pass. This is more like Tom Clancy in space,detailing of fighter-carrier operations and weapons technology. The focus is largely on the wonderful technology and the expertise of the characters rather than ideas and emotions.

    In short, I bought it on a whim and discovered it's not my cup of tea.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Empress of Mars

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Kage Baker
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    Overall
    (181)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (165)

    When the British Arean Company founded its Martian colony, it welcomed any settlers it could get. Outcasts, misfits, and dreamers emigrated in droves to undertake the grueling task of terraforming the cold red planet - only to be abandoned when the BAC discovered it couldn't turn a profit on Mars. Mary Griffith and her struggles and triumphs are at the center of it all, in her bar, the Empress of Mars.

    Dave says: "I love this book."
    "Great ideas with little character interest."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Empress of Mars better?

    While there are several interesting characters in the story, I don't feel I got enough to really care about any of them or their aspirations.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Kage Baker again?

    Yes. This is only the first of her works I've tried. I'll give another one a try.


    Which character – as performed by Nicola Barber – was your favorite?

    Ottorino Vespucci, black sheep of a rich family with romantic notions about the Martian frontier based on Spaghetti Westerns.


    Any additional comments?

    This book reads like a collection of tales, published as individual short stories, which it may well be.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Opening Atlantis: A Novel of Alternate History

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Harry Turtledove
    • Narrated By Todd McLaren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (33)

    Atlantis lies between Europe and the East Coast of Terranova. For many years, this land of opportunity lured dreamers from around the globe with its natural resources, offering a new beginning for those willing to brave the wonders of the unexplored land.

    Bruce says: "Fun"
    "Interesting speculation, flat story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Opening Atlantis? What did you like least?

    The premise about the colonization of a large landmass mid-Atlantic intrigued me and the alternate history was fascinating.


    What could Harry Turtledove have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I needed more involvement with a central character -- or a succession of them, as Steven Saylor provides in Roma. Especially in the first third, I would have been much more engaged if I had a main character to focus on with some personal concerns I could identify with. As it was, it was merely a man in his time with little thematic juice.


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

    The narrator was excellent: great tone, pace, and rhythm.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • City at World's End

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Edmond Hamilton
    • Narrated By Jim Roberts
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    The midwestern town of Middletown is the "first strike" of a new super bomb. However, instead of destroying the town, the attack rips a hole in the space-time continuum, sending the town and it's inhabitants to a distant Earth, cold and foreboding. The story of their struggle, survival and ultimate success in rekindling the planet and dealing with the people and aliens of the future, is the stuff of great science fiction. As you listen, see if you agree with the many who think this story was the origin of the Star Wars characters Chewbacca and Leia.

    Andrew J. Jackson says: "Classic juvenile sci-fi"
    "Survival story by the numbers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The story is straightforward, stepping through the process of a town's survival in a new environment. No surprises and little to prompt wonder or philosophical speculation.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Edmond Hamilton? Why or why not?

    Yes. I like authors from the classic era of SF.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He read much too fast.


    1 of 14 people found this review helpful

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