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SoCal Walker

Irvine, CA | Member Since 2010

18
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 27 reviews
  • 47 ratings
  • 162 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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  • Pippi Longstocking

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Astrid Lindgren
    • Narrated By Esther Benson
    Overall
    (96)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (52)

    Tommy and his sister Annika have a new neighbor, and her name is Pippi Longstocking. She has crazy red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on the porch and a pet monkey named Mr. Nilsson. Whether Pippi's scrubbing her floors, doing arithmetic or stirring things up at a fancy tea party, her flair for the outrageous always seems to lead to another adventure.

    SoCal Walker says: "Still works for today's kids--even boys!"
    "Still works for today's kids--even boys!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's hard to find good audiobooks for kids 5-7 years old. Picture books don't work on audio, and most chapter books are still a little hard for them to follow. Pippi Longstocking was already a decades-old book when I read it as a child in the mid 1970's, but my six-year-old son seems to like it just fine. We listened to it in the car on a long family trip, and we all enjoyed it. Pippi's wacky adventures, super strength, defiance of social norms (she doesn't go to school!) and good heart (she protects the weak kids from the bullies) apparently have timeless appeal.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Magic Bites: Kate Daniels, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Ilona Andrews
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2152)
    Performance
    (1386)
    Story
    (1403)

    Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren't for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

    Sara says: "Pure Steel!"
    "Law & Order: Magic Victims Unit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a series of adult fantasy books (not 'adult' as in pornography; just 'adult' as in, the characters are adults, they have sex, there are curse words, there is some disturbingly violent imagery, etc.) It's sort of like . . . Law & Order SVU, but set in a world where there is magic.

    The protagonist is a young woman with super-tough fighting skills and a big secret. (Which still isn't fully revealed by the end of Book 1, although there are many tantalizing hints.) She's the familiar "private eye"- type character, who works alone, but on the side of the law, and in cooperation with the police. (And she can beat up all the bad guys.)

    I started this book once, listening just for 10-15 minutes here and there, but I couldn't get interested in it and eventually gave up and listened to something else. A few months later, I decided to try again. This time I only listened to the book on long walks, when I had half an hour or longer to listen all at once. That made a big difference, and I could follow the story much better. Once I got maybe halfway through, it became very interesting and I didn't want to stop listening. I'm definitely going to get the others in the series, and I expect them to be pretty easy to get into, now that I'm familiar with the "rules" of this fictional world.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gregor the Overlander: Underland Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (804)
    Performance
    (533)
    Story
    (543)

    When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, and cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor's arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland's uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it, until he realizes it's the only way to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance.

    Joey says: "Second best book series in print"
    "Great for road trip with the kids."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great books. Lots of fun, well written, original, unpredictable. We got it for the long drive to drop off my older son at scout camp. We all enjoyed it-- both my sons (ages 6 and 12) really got into the story, and so did mom and dad. We paused the playback from time to time to make guesses about what was going to happen and how it would end, but no one successfully predicted the ending. All in all, a big success and I'm glad there are 4 more in the series. Solves the problem of what books to get for the family vacation this summer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Am a Pole (And So Can You!)

    • UNABRIDGED (8 mins)
    • By Stephen Colbert
    • Narrated By Tom Hanks, Stephen Colbert
    Overall
    (660)
    Performance
    (590)
    Story
    (568)

    The story of a pole, searching for his purpose in life. "The perfect gift to give a child or grandchild for their high school or college graduation. Also Father's Day. Also, other times."
    —Stephen Colbert

    Phillip says: "It might be inspirational."
    "Cute and fun."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Classic Colbert. If you like the show, you'll recognize and appreciate Colbert's style of humor applied to this children's book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Still Life

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Louise Penny
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1921)
    Performance
    (1290)
    Story
    (1300)

    Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it's nothing more than a tragic hunting accident, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods.

    Sydney says: "a gentle mystery"
    "Not much mystery, but pleasant reading nonetheless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Still Life is a murder mystery of the "cozy village" type, in the tradition of Agatha Christie. It was enjoyable listening. The characters were interesting and fairly well developed; the dialogue was fresh; and I'd love to stay at the B&B run by Olivier and Gabril. The writing evoked Quebec very nicely-- the tension between the Francophone and Anglophone communities, the bilingualism, the food, the countryside . . . all in all, very enjoyable, and I'll probably listen to more of the books in this series.

    My one criticism is that it was too easy to figure out who the killer was. The author telegraphed the answer so obviously, right from the beginning, that if you were paying attention, you couldn't miss it. Consequently, the book just didn't have the fun of a good intellectual puzzle. Because it was so obvious whodunnit, the listener had to be content with other puzzles, such as "How are they going to catch the killer?" and "Why did the killer do it?"

    I'd recommend this book to people in the mood for a good "cozy" murder mystery, but NOT for fans of the genre who mostly enjoy the challenge of figuring it out.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Werewolf

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Glen Duncan
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (455)
    Performance
    (372)
    Story
    (376)

    Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but otherwise in the pink of health. The nonstop sex and exercise he’s still getting probably contribute to that, as does his diet: unusual amounts of flesh and blood (at least some from friends and relatives). Jake, of course, is a werewolf, and with the death of his colleague he has now become the only one of his kind.

    Melinda says: "The Ennui of a Naughty Dog"
    "Good writing-- for adults only."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Last Werewolf the most enjoyable?

    This was a genuinely well-written, serious adult novel. Dark, emotionally complex, often violent (not gratuitously so), but with a redemptive message. Sachs gives a gorgeous performance.


    What other book might you compare The Last Werewolf to and why?

    Maybe a Hemingway or Steinbeck novel, except that the main character is a werewolf.


    What does Robin Sachs bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Sachs did a beautiful job. His resonant British baritone was perfect for the character of the werewolf. The only slightly off note was when he had to read dialogue by women. His falsetto was inevitably somewhat distracting and a bit annoying, especially with the American accent that he sometimes had to put on. Not his fault, certainly-- this guy's voice is just unavoidably male.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Perhaps . . . The triumph of love over cynicism and despair?


    Any additional comments?

    It's not for kids. I love fantasy books, and often read them with my 12-year-old son (even the dystopian novels). But I'm glad he didn't read this one. This is NOT a book for kids, or even adolescents. It's very emotionally and psychologically adult, very dark -- there's quite a bit of sex, which is graphic and completely unsentimental, and sometimes juxtaposed with brutal violence. So, don't read it with your kids.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of the Steal

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Frank W. Abagnale
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (364)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (97)

    In his celebrated best seller Catch Me If You Can, Frank Abagnale recounted his youthful career as a master imposter and forger. In The Art of the Steal, Abagnale tells the remarkable story of how he parlayed his knowledge of cons and scams into a successful career as a consultant to businesses on preventing financial foul play - while revealing to listeners how they can identify and outsmart perpetrators of fraud.

    Barbara says: "Financial fraud was never so interesting"
    "Really fun nonfiction."
    Overall

    I read this book after seeing the movie ("Catch me if you can") and the book was really enjoyable. It was a fascinating story, well written, and just a lot of fun to read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Max Blumenthal
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (49)

    Inspired by the work of Psychologist Erich Fromm, who asserted that the fear of freedom propels anxiety-ridden people into authoritarian settings, Blumenthal explains in a compelling narrative how a culture of personal crises has defined the radical right, transforming the Republican party for the next generation and setting the stage for the future of American politics.

    Diane says: "Should be required reading!"
    "A bit boring, and occasionally R-rated."
    Overall

    My husband and I enjoy politics and tend to be liberal, so we thought we would enjoy this "expose" about the origins of the religious right. But the story got boring after a while. Also, we were sometimes listening to it in the car with our kids (they were playing electronic games and not really listening) and we were taken by surprise a couple of times by adult language, including the "f" word. So we had to stop listening to it when the kids were around, and we just didn't enjoy it enough to go to the trouble of listening after they went to bed. All in all, I'd say the book was a disappointment.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Madame Bovary: A Signature Performance by Leelee Sobieski

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Gustave Flaubert
    • Narrated By Leelee Sobieski
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (38)

    A Signature Performance: Leelee Sobieski’s Emma is sultry but vulnerable, offering a sympathetic rendering of the heroine and her plight, allowing the listener to draw his own conclusions about Madame Bovary in this cautionary tale of love, passion, and desperation.

    lasvegaslisa says: "Very tough to get through!"
    "Paced for an earlier time"
    Overall

    I know this book is a classic, but I'm embarrassed to admit that with my twenty-first century attention span, I couldn't get through it. I've also heard that the writing is absolutely gorgeous in French-- but this is the English translation, so something is lost. If you really like novels from that era, I'd say go for it. But if you (like me) actually like contemporary novels, and just like to imagine yourself as someone who would enjoy classic novels, it will probably be a disappointment.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fahrenheit 451

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Ray Bradbury
    • Narrated By Ray Bradbury
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (382)
    Performance
    (221)
    Story
    (228)

    Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires....The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning...along with the houses in which they were hidden. Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for 10 years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs, nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames...never questioned anything until he met a 17-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid.

    Nancy says: "Listen before you buy..."
    "Good authors are not necessarily good narrators."
    Overall

    I liked the idea of listening to Bradbury read the novel himself, but in the end I think there's probably a reason they have trained actors do the narrations. Maybe if you love the book, you'll enjoy his reading of it anyway.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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