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Mark

I enjoy, epic and modern fantasy, science fiction, business, historical mystery, and technology books. Fav. series: Game of Thrones, Vampire Earth, Dresden, Iron Druid, Falco mysteries, Chris Anderson titles, Peaceful Warrior, and the Way of Kings (and more, of course;)

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Member Since 2008

ratings
168
REVIEWS
29
FOLLOWING
12
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
11

  • The History of Money

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (252)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (148)

    From primitive man's cowrie shells to the electronic cash card, from the markets of Timbuktu to the New York Stock Exchange, The History of Money explores how money and the myriad forms of exchange have affected humanity, and how they will continue to shape all aspects of our lives--economic, political, and personal.

    PHIL says: "Wide, deep, thoughtful, colorful"
    "Interesting and informative!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is provides an interesting history of the evolution of currency and the effects of money-use on the civilizations that used them. The beginning was a bit slow and felt like an extended historical introduction (I actually stopped listening for a while before coming back to the book), but once I got past the first section, the story was very engaging and produced many interesting facts, histories, and a new perspective on modern day finance. 4 out of 5 due to the slow start, but very good for someone curious to know more about the basics of money history and some economics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Steven Pressfield
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (306)
    Performance
    (273)
    Story
    (279)

    Gates of Fire puts you at the side of valiant Spartan warriors in 480 BC for the bloody, climactic battle at Thermopylae. There, a few hundred of Sparta’s finest sacrificed their lives to hold back the invading Persian millions. The time they bought enabled the Greeks to rally - saving, according to ancient historian Herodotus, “Western democracy and freedom from perishing in the cradle.” How did the Spartans accomplish this superhuman feat? This is what the King of Persia hopes to learn from the sole Spartan survivor.

    Darwin8u says: "Tell the Spartans, stranger passing by"
    "Better than '300'!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A detailed telling of the story of the hot gates battles, with realistic characters and great accounts of the battles. A great story if you like action, history, or both.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Jared Diamond
    • Narrated By Doug Ordunio
    Overall
    (859)
    Performance
    (665)
    Story
    (675)

    Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology.

    Doug says: "Compelling pre-history and emergent history"
    "An excellent and entertaining listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A great book that looks at the development and progress of civilizations across the history of the world. Wonderful insights and amazing detail presented in an interesting manner. Very enjoyable!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Evil for Evil: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By James R. Benn
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    Fifty BARs (Browning automatic rifles) have been stolen from a U.S. army base in Northern Ireland. His uncle Ike Eisenhower sends Billy to recover the weapons which might be used in a German-sponsored IRA uprising. Bodies begin to accumulate as Billy finds unexpected challenges to his Boston-Irish upbringing and IRA sympathies. There are rogues on both sides, he learns.

    Wolfpacker says: "Maybe the Best Billy Boyle Book"
    "Billy gets to see the old country"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Billy gets to visit Ireland for the very first time, but it isn't to drink whiskey with distant relatives. He's on a mission and it involves the Protestants and Catholics, and of course, the war. Billy has a mystery to solve and all sides are implicated.

    Benn does a great job stripping away the dreamy idealism afforded to the Boyles in Boston, and Billy realizes that there's blood on the hands of both sides.

    A great story, that provides insight into some of the politics occurring in the background of the conflict between the Allies and the Germans. Excellent narration as always.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Among Others

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jo Walton
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (713)
    Performance
    (613)
    Story
    (614)

    Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

    Eoin says: "Subtle Character Piece"
    "A wonderful story pays homage to SF classics!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Among Others has a protagonist, Morwenna, who is very easy to connect with, especially given the diary-style of the narrative. She is a kind and courageous young girl/teen who shows both vulnerability and strength dealing with many real-life and otherworldly troubles.

    What is very curious about this story is the simplicity of the plot. That's not to say that the story is childish or weak, it is not. There is great character development and an intriguing, gradual introduction to the backstory and slightly paranormal world Mori lives in, that makes you want to listen constantly and feel a real connection to the main character. But there are few surprises or complications to the story - the plot runs simply and straightforward, (with many key events having already happened) although it's not obvious which way it will run from the beginning.

    I suppose this shows that the gradual reveal of backstory and the backdrop obsession of sci-fi/fantasy novels that the main characters have far outweigh the simple yet satisfying climax, which is character appropriate.

    Two more details: The only criticism might be that while the character's journey feels complete, the story feels as though it could have gone in several directions and had a bit more going on at the end - although I suppose turning it into an action story at the end would have not really been in the spirit of the rest of the story.

    The homage to classic sci-fi/fantasy is a lot of fun for anyone who is passionate about books, whether a fan of classic sci-fi or not. It allows the character to express her opinions, values, and passion for great writing while giving the author a vehicle for paying homage to classic authors and stories that probably shaped the lives of many young readers.

    A unique and thoroughly enjoyable story that I would recommend for any fan of sci-fi or fantasy!

    (One last comment: the narration is fantastic! The main character and narrator equally had me eager to get back into my car so I could listen more.)

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Wake of the Bloody Angel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Alex Bledsoe
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (46)

    Twenty years ago, a barmaid in a harbor town fell for a young sailor who turned pirate to make his fortune. But what truly became of Black Edward Tew remains a mystery, one that has just fallen into the lap of freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. For years, Eddie has kept his office above Angelina’s tavern, so when Angelina herself asks him to find out what happened to the dashing pirate who stole her heart years ago, he can hardly say no—even though the trail is two decades old. Some say Black Edward and his ship, The Bloody Angel, went to bottom of the sea, taking with it a king’s ransom in treasure.

    Mark says: "A grand Pirate Adventure, and a bit with a dog!"
    "A grand Pirate Adventure, and a bit with a dog!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well maybe not a dog, but there are a couple of giant lizards and sea monsters. Eddy Lacrosse ventures out to solve a mystery for landlady Angelina, which turns into a classic pirate adventure, with enough originality to still be interesting. By no means am I an enthusiast for seafaring / pirate adventures, and I still enjoyed this story - it's solidly enjoyable, and could be enjoyed even if you haven't read any of the earlier ones in the series (although I do recommend listening to all of them). While there aren't many new learnings about lead character Eddy, we do learn a great deal about Angelina's dark past.

    I've listened to a lot of Rudnicki's work, and he's always a good narrator in my book, hmm, no pun intended, but I'll leave that in.

    Another worthy adventure in the Eddy Lacrosse series!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Dead Man Vol 1: Face of Evil, Ring of Knives, Hell in Heaven

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin, James Daniels
    • Narrated By James Daniels, Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (50)

    Matthew Cahill is a simple man leading a quiet life... until he is tragically killed in an avalanche at a ski resort. Three months later his corpse is found and sent to the morgue - but then something inexplicable happens. He wakes up. Now he can see evil... as a festering rot that eats people alive from the inside out. And he can see Mr. Dark, the horrific figure who gleefully spreads it like a plague... and whois the only one who can tell Matt whether he is still a man... or the walking dead.For Matt, each day is a journey into a supernatural world he knows nothing about....

    Mark says: "Interesting connected short horror stories..."
    "Interesting connected short horror stories..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When the body was first found in the snow, I kept waiting for it to pop up and bite/ attack/ eat somebody! (I had to share that;)
    The stories don't have a ton of gore or monsters, but a supernatural foundation, and instead rely upon a mix of suspense and realistic fears / scary situations to create tension and "horror". Imagine seeing psychosis and evil represented as rot and decay in the people around you! Imagine a mental hospital where psychos and predator employees run the show - scary stuff. The third story was not as good as the first two, but I will still purchase volume 2.
    Narration is very good, especially Luke Daniels who also does the Iron Druid Chronicles.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tricked: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5644)
    Performance
    (5211)
    Story
    (5206)

    Druid Atticus O’Sullivan hasn’t stayed alive for more than two millennia without a fair bit of Celtic cunning. So when vengeful thunder gods come Norse by Southwest looking for payback, Atticus, with a little help from the Navajo trickster god Coyote, lets them think that they’ve chopped up his body in the Arizona desert. But the mischievous Coyote is not above a little sleight of paw, and Atticus soon finds that he’s been duped into battling bloodthirsty desert shape-shifters called skinwalkers.

    Nicholas says: "Hooked in an Instant"
    "Another excellent installment..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Tricked" is about Atticus trying to disappear from the many deities wanting to see him dead (subplot), and subsequently repaying a debt to trickster Coyote (main plot). We get to watch Atticus deal with Navajo magic and spirits, of a limited variety.

    You could call this a transition book, yet Hearne (author) does a really good job of repositioning characters and plot lines while still writing an interesting story (unlike the transitional novel I read in another series that was stale and clunky). Hearne sets himself up for the main characters to be able to disappear for awhile so that Atticus can finish Granuaile's training before book 5.

    Well-written and very enjoyable - I can't wait for "Trapped" in November!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hexed: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7677)
    Performance
    (6891)
    Story
    (6909)

    Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II. With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt.

    Adam says: "Authenticity, Humor and Brilliant Writing"
    "A strong follow up to Hounded"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The second book continues to build on the clever setting the author has created. Atticus, Oberon, and the other characters become more we-rounded, which makes me love them even more! I'm finishing the fourth book "Tricked" and really enjoying the series, which is fast becoming one of my favourites!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Monster: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By A. Lee Martinez
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer
    Overall
    (508)
    Performance
    (432)
    Story
    (428)

    Meet Monster. Meet Judy. Two humans who don't like each other much, but together must fight dragons, fire-breathing felines, trolls, Inuit walrus dogs, and a crazy cat lady - for the future of the universe.

    Charles says: "Entertaining, but Overly Rushed"
    "Funny story good, not great."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like other Martinez pieces, it's a fun unique concept that is fairly entertaining, but not the most engaging story ever. Worth a listen if you know you'll like Martinez's humour and style.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • March in Country: The Vampire Earth, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By E. E. Knight
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel, E. E. Knight
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (213)
    Performance
    (147)
    Story
    (143)

    The race is on to claim the area between the Ohio River and Tennessee. What's left of the resistance is hiding out in the tangle of central Kentucky hills - leaving the powerful, well-organized Kurian vampires the opportunity to fill the void. Major David Valentine knows there's only one way for them to find help before the Kurians settle in: a desperate dash by hijacked rail, followed by a harrowing river journey. Valentine unites friends old and new in the effort - but the Kurian Order won't easily yield.

    bobby says: "march in country"
    "Not the best in the series..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd read other reviewers' comments about this being a transition novel, and not very good, but the first 8 books are great so who wouldn't continue with the series?? I thought everything was progressing fine as usual (aside from more informative narratives than usual), but one part of the story that I was expecting to last a chapter became the heart of the story. From there, transitions were sometimes awkward, as one scene suddenly became another, making it a bit difficult to follow. If this was the first in the series, I might have chalked it up to an unfamiliar narrator, but Rummel is quality as usual. In the end, I would say poor editing is the likely cause.
    Some important shuffling of characters happened, I suppose, but no major plot developments. Likely just an average transitional novel, not a decline in the series. I will still look forward to #10.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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