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Karen

Springfield, OR, United States | Member Since 2010

26
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 20 ratings
  • 138 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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  • Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Dan Gardner
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (16)

    In Future Babble, award-winning journalist Dan Gardner presents landmark research debunking the whole expert prediction industry and explores our obsession with the future. The truth is that experts are about as accurate as dart-throwing monkeys.

    Christopher says: "Sobering and Informative"
    "Future Babble Babble"
    Overall

    Besides being endlessly repetitious, I disagree with Gardner’s premise that expert predictions, especially those of what he terms“hedgehogs” who have a certainty about their predictions, are almost always wrong. Gardner’s reasoning lacks (1) an accurate frame of reference and (2) is completely non-scientifically supported. For example, Paul Ehrlich, predicted massive famines, resource depletion and environmental degradation as a result of overpopulation (and endless growth). Gardner emphatically claims, over and over, that Ehrlich was wrong, because his predictions of human and environmental catastrophes that were supposed to occur in the 1970’s didn’t happen.

    If you read Ehrlich carefully, he does not state with certainty that everything he predicts will come true in the 1970’s – only that it will come true, eventually. Simple logic will tell you that. The human population cannot continue expanding indefinitely. The earth is finite. Sooner or later, human numbers will outstrip both food supply and the ability of the earth to produce enough food. Sooner or later petroleum, copper, titanium, etc. are all going to run out, and it will not be possible to produce the products that depend on them, except at exorbitant cost. The more people, the less resources per capita and the bigger the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. This is not a recipe for a peaceful and stable future.

    Ehrlich’s message is really that we have to be aware that there are limits to growth and to our consumptive way of life. What Gardner does not state but implies through omission, is that we can blithely go on with whatever profligate agenda we have in mind, and something will always come along to mitigate our effects. I don’t personally believe this. Sooner or later the piper will have to be paid, and fundamentally Ehrlich is right.

    Gardner has his own ax to grind, and he does so ceaselessly. Perhaps his form of babble makes him the biggest hedgehog of them all.

    6 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Robert M. Hazen
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (438)
    Performance
    (381)
    Story
    (378)

    Earth evolves. From first atom to molecule, mineral to magma, granite crust to single cell to verdant living landscape, ours is a planet constantly in flux. In this radical new approach to Earth’s biography, senior Carnegie Institution researcher and national best-selling author Robert M. Hazen reveals how the co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere - of rocks and living matter - has shaped our planet into the only one of its kind in the Solar System, if not the entire cosmos.

    Gary says: "Makes minerals interesting"
    "So packed with info, also bought the physical book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can’t say enough good things about The Story of Earth. Even though I have a doctorate in biological science from decades ago, I found literally hundreds of ideas and facts I was totally unaware of. For example, I had no idea the moon was formed by “the Big Thwack” with proto-earth of a very early planet called “Thea”, nor that the weathering of rock is a far bigger sequesterer of carbon dioxide than are all plants on earth. Nor that there is now a real debate about an abiogenic origin of the earth’s petroleum resources. The author does a fantastic job of describing how the evolution of life on earth – going back billions of years, far earlier than the pre-Cambrian – is totally bound up with the evolution of minerals and geology of the planet. Us short-lived humans are actually lucky we are not around long enough to experience most of the repeated cataclysms (asteroid impacts, massive volcanic explosions, continental drift) that rock this planet from the distant past to the distant future. Absolutely fascinating book.
    The reader's style was a bit sing-songy and repetitive (inducing drowsiness because of the technical material). He also made a few verbal typos, not caught by the editor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Dead Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Harry Dolan
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (46)

    On a rainy night in April, a chance encounter on a lonely road draws David into a romance with Jana Fletcher, a beautiful young law student. Jana is an enigma: living in a run-down apartment and sporting a bruise on her cheek that she refuses to explain. David would like to know her secrets, but he lets them lie-until it's too late. When Jana is brutally murdered, the police consider David a prime suspect.

    Dave Wolff says: "It just keeps getting more intriguing."
    "A great, dark read, appropriate reader too."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my first Harry Dolan read, and I was way impressed, by the plot, the writing, and the reader. All the characters seemed intelligent (included the deranged ones), which made you care about what they did and what happened to them. Another reviewer said he thought Michael Kramer was a monotonous-sounding reader, but I thought his voice and rendition were an excellent fit to the creepy darkness of this story, the only caution being he sounds like an older man than the protagonist, David Malone. The Last Dead Girl describes an intricate puzzle, keeping you guessing (and listening) until the last piece has fallen into place. Masterful.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • White Fire: Agent Pendergast, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1997)
    Performance
    (1773)
    Story
    (1788)

    Special Agent Pendergast arrives at an exclusive Colorado ski resort to rescue his protégée, Corrie Swanson, from serious trouble with the law. His sudden appearance coincides with the first attack of a murderous arsonist who - with brutal precision - begins burning down multimillion-dollar mansions with the families locked inside. After springing Corrie from jail, Pendergast learns she made a discovery while examining the bones of several miners who were killed 150 years earlier by a rogue grizzly bear.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Grand Slam Tale of Terror"
    "A thrill ride that runs off the board a bit much."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I kept flip-flopping between giving this book a “5” and a “4” rating. I ultimately had to go for “4” because the authors play fast and loose with reality in a way that bugs me, and I hated the outcome of who the arsonist was (even though they dropped a clue halfway through and I then inwardly prayed it wouldn’t be who the clue revealed it to be, but it was). So much more credible if it would have been the creepy archivist who groped Corrie. I was going for the “5” because Preston and Child are great storytellers with a wicked and edgy sense of humor and play havoc with all of the elements of society who I personally despise (like greedy real estate developers and self-righteous private property rights champions etc.) I especially loved the scene where Agent Pendergast took over the public hearing about moving the miners’ cemetery, and I love the Pendergast character in general, plus the way Rene Auberjonois plays him in the audiobook. I also was much intrigued with the story’s connections to Conan Doyle and the Sherlock Holmes adventures. However, I thought Corrie was remarkably naïve in breaking into the warehouse early on, and I could not for a second believe she had any important reason to personally collect data from the ancient miners at the end, certainly not any reason compelling enough to put her life in grave danger. Nor could I come up with any credible reason whatsoever why Mrs. Kermode would be in the same place at the same time. The authors play fast and loose with reality for the sake of the story in lots of ways. Demoded: 5 stars down to 4.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Case of Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Adam Mitzner
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1614)
    Performance
    (1392)
    Story
    (1405)

    A high-profile attorney in the middle of a leave of absence following a personal tragedy is drawn back into the legal arena amidst a media firestorm when he agrees to represent a popular rap artist accused of brutally murdering his pop star girlfriend. With its powerful voice, pause-resisting tension, and strong cast of characters, Adam Mitzner’s novels are reminiscent of such best-selling authors as Scott Turow and John Grisham.

    cristina says: "Excellent"
    "Let us down at the end."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My first reaction on finishing A Case of Redemption is that it reminds me, in a formulaic sense of some of the J.P. Beaumont novels of J.A. Jance -- in particular the one in which Beaumont found out the love of his life, Ann Corley, was an avenging angel, aka a killer, and he had to shoot her. What a stupid plot twist that was, and it ruined that particular novel.

    The same can be said of the present one. I thoroughly enjoyed the buildup of suspense right up until the time the accused, "Legally Dead" or "LD", as he was called, was going to testify in his murder trial. How much better the book would have been if Mitzner had followed through on that and nailed the real killer through his testimony. (I had a premonition something was going to go wrong when we got a preview of L.D.'s testimony before it was to happen). Then the book took a very wrong turn, in my opinion, and became a boring, sappy melodrama that had me groaning, ugh, ugh, ugh all the way to the end.

    I also agree that in the real world there was no physical evidence linking L.D. to the crime, and the judge was right on when she told the courtroom, anyone who talks about murdering a singer with a basebat bat in a rock song and then actually goes out and does this is about the stupidest person on the planet. That alone points the finger strongly at someone else trying to set L.D. up. Plus, we never find out in the book at all why the killer murdered Roxanne in the first place.

    Kevin Collins did a good job on the characters' voices, especially L.D., Judge Pielmeier, and the lawyer Benjamin Ethan. His first person narration of the protagonist, Daniel Sorenson, was a bit whiny and effeminate, but that fit the character well.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Until Proven Guilty: J. P. Beaumont Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By J. A. Jance
    • Narrated By Gene Engene
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (267)
    Performance
    (216)
    Story
    (215)

    Lurking in the dark corners of J. P. Beaumont's bizarre case was not just a demented mind obsessed with murder, but secrets so deadly that even a street-tough cop could die guessing.

    Jean says: "Until proven guilty"
    "Fiction yes, ridiculous, yes."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I admit I have not read the JP Beaumont book series in chronological order, having read four other books before the first one: Until Proven Guilty. The other books alluded to the tragic backstory of Beaumont's relationship with Anne Corley, all of which is told in Until Proven Guilty.

    This turns out to be my least favorite of the books so far, and it's a good thing this is fiction because it strains anyone's ability to believe something like this story could ever happen. Without putting in spoilers, let me say that the Anne Corley that Beau fell in love with was a well-drawn character, beautiful, intelligent, courageous, charming, wise, gentle and passionate. She made a fine match for Beaumont and the story worked right up until the time she became "the other Anne". I do not think "the other Anne" could have co-existed in the same person with the one fleshed out in the first 9/10 of this book, certainly without revealing herself many times over. The few feeble "hints" J.A. Jance laid down for the reader in no way raised any suspicion of what was supposed to be there. This was not a virtue -- it just made the end of the story seem a trumped up ridiculous soap opera that made me want to throw the book into the trash. It was like listening to a top-notch singer who sings the entire last number of a performance badly off-key.

    There was no way Anne Corley could have had the past attributed to her in the book; she would have been revealed long ago and become celebrated for it, kind of like the Unabomber was. I so wished for a different resolution of the mystery. If this had been my first Beaumont novel I might not have continued reading the later ones, which are much less melodramatic and make far better detective novels. To his credit, Gene Engene did his usual excellent job of reading all the characters. His reading style makes all the J.A. Jance books all the more enjoyable.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Started Early, Took My Dog: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (617)
    Performance
    (366)
    Story
    (369)

    Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective - a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other-or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge.

    Beverly says: "For the Love of Children and Dogs"
    "Some mystery; much pathos. Many characters."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an effective book. Complicated story, many characters to keep track of. Too much back story on almost everyone of them. However, in the end, Kate Atkinson delivered a credible tale of why a murder occurred years before, and why it was so effectively covered up until some of the investigators decided to look into it again. In addition to the mystery there is much examination of the pain resulting from bad decisions made among family members in a complex web of relationships.

    1 of 1 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
    (21004)
    Performance
    (18836)
    Story
    (18903)

    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!"
    "The perfect anti-fairy tale."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It just occurred to me that this book is the quintessential anti-fairy tale with the most ironic, unhappy "happy" ending. Gillian Flynn has a good grasp of the phoniness of many relationships in our society today, and what makes things go wrong between men and women. That said, the story of Amy and Nick is so extreme that these characters have slipped from the realm of being real people to being the caricatures the author has imagined in her most twisted projection of what could happen if you paired a brilliant, mostly unhinged woman with an "ordinary"guy. It keeps you listening but strains your suspension of disbelief and the ending is a lead balloon.

    The narration of the story by the alternating male and female readers was effective and convincing. Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyboure were good choices to portray the voices of Amy and Nick.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Book of Lost Fragrances: Reincarnationist, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By M. J. Rose
    • Narrated By Phil Gigante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by visions of the past, her earliest memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up with as the heir to a storied French perfume company. When her brother, Robbie - who’s taken over the House of L’Etoile from their father - contacts Jac about a remarkable discovery in the family archives, she’s skeptical. But when Robbie goes missing before he can share the secret - leaving a dead body in his wake - Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind.

    Meggin says: "Pretty much of a dud."
    "Nice suspense but over-the-top melodrama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    M.J. Rose is a good writer with an admirable flair for narrative and description, a believable knowledge of geography and history, and the ability to weave a suspenseful tale that keeps you interested. The story, involving "proof" of reincarnation by being able to access past lives (and particularly, past lovers) through mystical fragrances, was intriguing enough to buy and listen to the entire audiobook. That said, the story throughout has exaggerated human response and by the end, a simply hokey and nauseating amount of melodrama. The big sex scene may appeal to romance aficianados but to me was so extreme that it was more like the birth of a universe than a mere sex scene. The ending just dropped the ball as well, an anticlimax if there ever was one. Important note: Phil Gigante was not the right reader for this book. His style is monotonous, there are only two voices - "male" and "female" or maybe four, if you include "Chinese female" and "Chinese male". Worst, he has no knowledge of French whatsoever and mangles the pronunciation of French words and phrases enough to make you wince many times. Ouch!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Lost Light: Harry Bosch Series, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Len Cariou
    Overall
    (2585)
    Performance
    (1088)
    Story
    (1103)

    Four years ago, LAPD detective Harry Bosch was on a movie set, asking questions about the murder of a young production assistant, when an armored car arrived with $2 million cash for use in a heist scene. In a life-imitates-art firestorm, a gang of masked men converged on the delivery and robbed the armored car with guns blazing. The crime was never resolved, and the young woman's murder was in the stack of unsolved-case files Bosch carried home the night he left the LAPD.

    Harris says: "Dashel Hammet Redux"
    "As good as the best of them!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Michael Connelly seldom fails to astonish me with his ability to spin a fabulously entertaining and complex novel, time after time. I also think his Hieronymous (aka "Harry") Bosch is one of the best characters in modern detective fiction. He's tough, courageous, hard-boiled, supremely intelligent, relentless, tireless in the pursuit of scumbags, bucks authority, but has a soft side for the innocent, weak and downtrodden, such as the daughter "Maddy" he didn't know he had. I LOVE the Harry Bosch character.
    In Lost Light, Connelly has a complex, multi-layered mystery that keeps you enthralled from beginning to end. Everything fits together seamlessly. The unravelling and the resolution, while gritty and unsettling, are believable (unfortunately in our violent modern world), and in the context of human greed, but make you root for Harry to keep going until the last evil perpetrator has been revealed and dealt with. I couldn't stop reading (read "listening", since I listened to it as an audiobook). I was sorry for the book to end!
    Len Cariou is a great reader. He totally gets the nuances of the various characters' behavior and speech and adds a dimension to the "reading" of the book not possible if you are reading the hardcover version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (18690)
    Performance
    (16636)
    Story
    (16598)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Cool premise and kept me guessing till the end."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to 11-22-63 again? Why?

    Probably not. Too many other books to listen to.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was great fun to play with Stephen King's premise of repeatedly going back in time to


    Which character – as performed by Craig Wasson – was your favorite?

    Jake Epping/George Amberson himself -- the narrator.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I don't want to give it away as it would be spoiler.


    Any additional comments?

    It was relatively easy to come up with a laundry list of all the possible ways Jake/George could be stopped from killing Oswald before the latter shot Kennedy, (bodily violence, car wrecks etc.) and most them were in the book. I guess this is signature Stephen King but I'd hoped for some more imaginative devices. But King did a good job with the suspense for what actually did happen when the encounter took place. Then what happened? It was pure

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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