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Magpie

You'll find me chattering and chasing shiny things.

USA | Member Since 2007

421
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 195 ratings
  • 805 titles in library
  • 58 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
146

  • The Monstrumologist

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Rick Yancey
    • Narrated By Steven Boyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (186)
    Performance
    (149)
    Story
    (147)

    Dr. Warthrop is a scientist who tracks and studies real-life monsters. Assisted by his 12-year-old apprentice, Will Henry, Dr. Warthrop discovers a pod of Anthropophagi and launches a hunt to destroy the foul beasts.

    Kristin M. Slonski says: "Excellent naration brought the horror to life"
    "can't make up my mind"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is well written by Yancey and well read by Boyer. I have to repeat what a prior reviewer said that this is *definitely* not a youth novel. I think they only mention Yancey's youth novels in the synopsis as a way to convey he's a good writer as evidenced by his awards in that genre. What I can't make up my mind about is whether I will listen to the next book (the end makes it plain there will be more). I'm really interested to know what happens next, but the story can convey such hopelessness throughout that I sometimes had a hard time continuing to listen. There is no doubt as to the "lovecraftian" nature of the book (forboding, dark, horrifying, graphic, gruesome, hopeless).
    Guess I'll have to wait and see what the next book holds.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Happy Hour in Hell: Bobby Dollar, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Tad Williams
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (169)
    Performance
    (157)
    Story
    (158)

    I've been told to go to Hell more times than I can count. But this time I'm actually going. My name's Bobby Dollar, sometimes known as Doloriel, and of course, Hell isn't a great place for someone like me - I'm an angel. They don't like my kind down there, not even the slightly fallen variety. But they have my girlfriend, who happens to be a beautiful demon named Casimira, Countess of Cold Hands. Why does an angel have a demon girlfriend? Well, certainly not because it helps my career.

    A. Hogue says: "Mixed feelings"
    "Let me explain. No, there is too much; let me sum up"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So you don't waste your credit on this book I'm going to sum up the entire middle of it for you: Hell is awful, Bobby Dollar is an idiot, Cas is really beautiful. No, really Hell is every bit as bad as you ever imagined, Bobby Dollar has the decision making skills of a hormonally carbonated adolescent, and Cas is the hottest thing since the sun! We know that cause we're hit over the head with it over, and over, and OVER.
    I kept expecting Dollar to stop at some point and say "Hey, something must be up here, because I'm this angel who was a pretty big bad ass, so this thinking with my genitalia about a woman, whose only redeeming quality is her looks has to stop." At which point the plot would advance.
    Nope.
    The only reason this thing makes 2 stars is the beginning and end were decent. Not enough to make up for the middle, though. Not even close. Also the narrator was good, so should be acknowledged.




    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1377)
    Performance
    (1261)
    Story
    (1258)

    Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale....

    Nancy J says: "I LOVE this Book!"
    "Nothing Like Harry Potter - which is just fine!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Don't get me wrong, I *love* the Harry Potter series - but this is a totally different animal. The only things they have in common are magic and infinitely listenable writing styles.
    I don't know what I can add that others have not - I have never read/listened to a police procedural that was quite this detailed before - but I also haven't read many. I really enjoy the way Peter, the main character takes what he's learned from being a cop in general and transitions it to dealing with his wholly new experiences with the supernatural.
    This is a very adult novel, it's got some horrific scenes, as well as use of language, and sexual situations. None of it is gratuitous, however, it all slides well into the story.
    I read a couple of pans involving how british this book is - in that there are some words and phrases americans wouldn't necessarily get. The book was written for a british audience and I don't mind popping over to google to look up "punter" (cause it certainly isn't talking about football players) and other such words as well as place names I wouldn't know by hearing in the book.
    As a narrator, for the most part Holdbrook-Smith does a bangup job. He does most of the accents so well, that when he flubbed one by not being able to maintain it, I still gave him a pass. The only thing that really gets on me are the occasional mouth noises that leave me wanting to say "swallow!". I enjoy that he acts the book as opposed to just reading it and I'm glad he does the whole series as it's been published in the US so far.
    I really recommend this book to those who enjoy urban fantasy. Particularly fans of Harry Dresden. He has some fun takes on issues Dresden has encountered (such as magic farbing technology) and the main character's enjoyable wit, along with self expressed flaws put me in mind of that series. Though once again - different animals, but equally as enjoyable.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • An Unquenchable Thirst: Following Mother Teresa in Search of Love, Service, and an Authentic Life

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Mary Johnson
    • Narrated By Mary Johnson
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    An unforgettable spiritual autobiography about a search for meaning that begins alongside one of the great religious icons of our time and ends with a return to the secular world. At seventeen, Mary Johnson saw Mother Teresa’s face on the cover of Time and experienced her calling. Eighteen months later, she entered a convent in the South Bronx to begin her religious training. Not without difficulty, this bright, independent-minded Texas teenager eventually adapted to the sisters’ austere life of poverty and devotion, and in time became close to Mother Teresa herself.

    Magpie says: "A light reader enjoys the deep"
    "A light reader enjoys the deep"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I admit it: I’m a scifi, fantasy, YA kinda reader/listener. I like light reading; “The Help” is the deepest book I’d gotten into for a loooong time before this one. So why did I pick this up? A woman I know is Mary Johnson’s sister, and she mentioned it, so I read the synopsis and thought “Why not?”
    Never did I think a book this deep could “read” so easily. It was marvelous to have the author do the reading as well. She did most every accent brilliantly and I could see her “characters” through the voices she used. Mary Johnson’s story is fascinating, even if it’s difficult because of it's deeply personal nature. There were times I cringed for her, but her style of writing made is so clear and lovely, I couldn't stop listening. I wanted to know what she would choose to do next.
    The thing that was toughest for me was the feeling that in the early years of Mary’s involvement with the MC’s had too many parallels to an emotionally abusive relationship. Add to that the king rat tangle of Mother Teresa’s focus on suffering and slavish devotion to dogma, the inability of many sisters to truly lead rather than intimidate, and a lack of methods for proper communication within the order and you can't help but see what hinders a group that does so much good, yet could be so much more not only for the poor, but for the sisters themselves.
    To balance that, for all Ms. Johnson does to reveal the faults and flaws of the Missionaries of Charity, her obvious love for the good of it shines through. She shows clearly those sisters and Priests who are amazingly real human beings that manage to transcend the limitations and reveal the love that is Mother Teresa's most basic message for the order.
    Mary Johnson takes us down a rough road with such integrity, intellect, and thoughtfulness; you can’t help but want to take this trip with her.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10365)
    Performance
    (9261)
    Story
    (9236)

    Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries....

    Chris says: "Finally, a modern day fantasy that really hits the"
    "Tasty if Not Terribly Filling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book (and the series in general) remind me of a good beer. It's unlikely to change your life, but an enjoyable way to spend some time away from your everyday.
    What really *makes* this book though (aside from the interactions between Atticus and Oberon) is Luke Daniels' narration. Does passable accents, smooth reader and characterization of the Widow McDunnah and voice for Oberon is flat out fun. Takes the book from a drinkable Corona to a flavorful microbrew..

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Seth Grahame-Smith
    • Narrated By Scott Holst
    Overall
    (6849)
    Performance
    (5223)
    Story
    (5303)

    While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

    Haden says: "My friends thought I was crazy."
    "*shrug* Just Not Impressed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read the reviews, and thought this may have been better than "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" but felt it suffered from the same downfall.
    The Vampire Stuff. It just felt shoehorned in. Like this was a biography of Lincoln and the author said hmmmmmmmm... I think we could throw a vampire in here... and here... and here... Absolutely no flow, whatsoever.

    However it also had same upside as P&P&Z - as that inspired me to read *all* of Jane Austen's books. And really, that's the only reason this book is getting three stars from me: it might stir kids' interest in history. The book includes plenty of quotes from historical figures about Lincoln and by Lincoln himself, plus facts about his life. That writing alone would have made this an enjoyable biography.

    What this book reminds me of, though, is those dishes from the 50's that incorporated all kinds of vegetables in jell-o. We want to get kids to eat veggies, so we'll suspend them in this sweet, jiggly medium! Genius!
    Then you bite into it.

    As for the narrator, Scott Holst - decent voice, good pronunciation, however I think he may have been hampered by the writing, as he sounded sort of stilted and choppy in many places.



    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Lions of Al-Rassan

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Guy Gavriel Kay
    • Narrated By Euan Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (215)
    Story
    (213)

    The ruling Asharites of Al-Rassan have come from the desert sands, but over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, their stern piety has eroded. The Asharite empire has splintered into decadent city-states led by warring petty kings. King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, aided always by his friend and advisor, the notorious Ammar ibn Khairan - poet, diplomat, soldier - until a summer afternoon of savage brutality changes their relationship forever.

    Kat Hooper says: "Lots of drama"
    "I admit it, this is my all time favorite book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    To me this novel has it all: an epic storyline, fully fleshed out characters, and excellent pacing. It's complex without being complicated, clever without being trite, and explores conflict, and the people involved in that conflict, in shades of grey instead of black and white. Sure, there are characters and situations that are clearly bad and clearly good, but the main characters are depicted as being wholly human. And I love them all the more for it.

    I don't want to rewrite a description of the book; the summary does a fine job even if it takes a completely different focus than I would. I think it's to keep from alienating the more common reader/listener of fantasy: men, as the main character of the novel is a woman.

    I admit, I had a hard time with the narration. I've listened to Song for Arbonne, also written by Guy Gavriel Kay, and read by Euan Morton; it was an excellent listen. One of the problems is, I've read this book well over 20 times. It's admittedly, not the narrator's fault that he pronounces names differently than I do in my head, so I can't really criticize that. However, the accents were sometimes uneven and the language occasionally stilted. Is the narration, on the whole, bad? No, it just felt like Mr. Euan's reading skills had gotten rusty, or that he just wasn't at his best, which is a shame. This book deserves an a-game.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Theft of Swords: Riyria Revelations, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5261)
    Performance
    (4840)
    Story
    (4836)

    Acclaimed author Michael J. Sullivan created instant best sellers with his spellbinding Riyria Revelations series. This first volume introduces Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy bigger than they can imagine, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery - before it’s too late.

    Magpie says: "Two books in one - keep listening!!"
    "Two books in one - keep listening!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If there were a way, I'd have given the story 3.5 stars. It says it in the description, but in case you missed it - this audio is two books combined into one audiobook. Which is good choice on the part of the audio publishers. If I'd listened to just the first book, I may not have continued. It's not bad, it's just not something that would inspire me to listen to 5 more books. I didn't really care about the characters and it seemed like a pretty cookie cutter sword and sorcery.
    HOWEVER - in the second book, the story really hits it's stride. It's nothing revolutionary, just solid writing with fun characters and an enjoyable storyline. Which, in my opinion, is more than we're getting from a lot of fantasy writers of late. By the time I got to the end of all three audio books I was hoping to find more by this author.
    To quote from the author himself about this series: "The Riyria Revelations, especially in the beginning, is little more than fast-paced light fantasy. As the series progresses, I think you'll see more depth both in the world of Elan and the characters. This was a purposeful decision and a dangerous one. It means that by design the first book is the weakest of the set, but enables me to end it with a resounding bang."
    And he absolutely did.

    78 of 81 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11661)
    Performance
    (10598)
    Story
    (10619)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "Super solid listen!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm sure I can't say here anything that hasn't already been said, however I was so impressed, I felt like I had to. I also don't want to reveal anything, because the minimal knowledge I had before listening made the unfolding of the story so much more fun! This was such a solid listen on all fronts. The characters were engaging, the story interesting, the source of the mystery was terrific. By the time it had ended I wanted to hear more!
    The absolute best thing, though, was the narrator. If there were some way I could give Ray Porter more than 5 stars, I'd give him an enthusiastic 10! His accents were credible, pronunciation:impeccable, and timing and flow: spot on! The thing I loved the most is that his interpretation never got in the way of the story he was telling. I've never found a narrator, aside from Jim Dale, I felt I would gush about - Ray Porter is gush-worthy!

    276 of 291 people found this review helpful
  • Pawn of Prophecy: The Belgariad, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By David Eddings
    • Narrated By Cameron Beierle
    Overall
    (1750)
    Performance
    (981)
    Story
    (1001)

    Long ago, so the Storyteller claimed, the evil god Torak sought dominion and drove men and Gods to war. But Belgrath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe. That was only a story, and Garion did not believe in magic dooms, even though the man without a shadow had haunted him for years.

    Michael says: "My literary "comfort food""
    "You can't go home again."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Listening to this book left me sad on a lot of levels. I *loved* this series in my teen years. I must have read it 10 times. What I didn't realize then was how sexist it is (much as the rest of the genre written in that era). Sure, one of the main characters is a strong woman, however most of the other women, when portrayed, are incredibly stereotypical.
    Most horrific was a passage I didn't at all register as a young reader: a drunken rape by a main character of his wife. And while the character registered he felt sorry for his act - there was still more of an emphasis on it's justification because his wife would not give him sex willingly. And for good reason in my opinion!
    I still love the story for what it is - but I found it almost impossible gloss over the telling now as I could when I was a kid. That disappointment was compounded infinitely by the narration.
    Beierle is flat out awful. Even if I could get past the issues I previously mentioned, there is no way I'd make it through even one more book of the series as currently narrated (and he narrates all of the Belgariad and Mallorean) The man cannot maintain an accent for more than a few words and forgets which accent he uses from character to character - often in the same conversation! I don't know which I liked less - his attempt at a Connery-esque brogue for Belgarath or the mouthful of rocks and phlegm for Barak.
    Place and people names are also inconsistent and often defy the laws of american english (or even english english) pronunciation. Admittedly, in fantasy books, we all hear our own pronunciations in our heads unless a book specifies them to be different. But the Belgariad does not (except Ce'nedra). It almost seems like Beierle made them up out of some sort of desire to make the story feel more fantastical, which is incredibly grating and not at all necessary.
    I only have one positive thing to say about this narrator: the presentation of Garion. One reviewer mentioned not appreciating Garion sounding so whiny. Garion *is* a whiny little boy til the 2nd or 3rd book.
    I'm sorry to pan this book so thoroughly - nothing would have given me greater pleasure than to say I had come home again in this audio edition.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Elantris

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Jack Garrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4447)
    Performance
    (2922)
    Story
    (2967)

    Legendary science fiction author Orson Scott Card calls Brandon Sanderson a writer to watch, and Publishers Weekly says his debut is "outstanding." Once the godlike rulers of the capital of Arelon, the inhabitans of Elantris have been imprisoned within themselves, unable to die after the city's magic failed years ago. But when a new prince falls victim to the curse, he refuses to accept his fate.

    Lore says: "What if your body could never heal?"
    "Slow moving, annoying narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed Brandon Sanderson's "The Way of Kings" as well as the "Mistborn" series, so I thought I would try this standalone which was his first published book.
    While I like the basic idea for the story, the execution was slow, with too much expository and self congratulations on the cleverness of the characters. It wasn't until the last 1/3 of the book that I became truly interested in the story. Sanderson has, over the course of his books, become an excellent author - this one is just obviously an early effort.
    The narrator may have caused some of my issue with the book as well, because, while I must admit his pronunciation and flow were great, the constant over emphasis of the reading drove me half nuts. It made me think of how a radio personality like Casey Casem might read a book. Unless I really really wanted to listen to a specific book in future, I personally would avoid this narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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