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Ellen

I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.

Chesterton, IN, United States | Member Since 2008

125
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 115 reviews
  • 284 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
4

  • The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Simon Baron-Cohen
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cowley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (171)
    Performance
    (145)
    Story
    (141)

    Borderline personality disorder, autism, narcissism, psychosis, Asperger's: All of these syndromes have one thing in common---lack of empathy. In some cases, this absence can be dangerous, but in others it can simply mean a different way of seeing the world. In The Science of Evil, Simon Baron-Cohen, an award-winning British researcher who has investigated psychology and autism for decades, develops a new brain-based theory of human cruelty.

    Douglas says: "A fine primer..."
    "Some interesting premises"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book that explores the phenomena of evil as the inability to feel empathy. The science bits of it devolve into nonsense syllables: aerograms put together into a system I believe only applies to this man's theory.
    But it does discuss unsocial and dangerous people in light of the limitations of their illnesses. I did find that helpful.
    I don't agree with him that the inability to empathize is all of anti social behavior. It's a puzzle piece among other puzzle pieces. But it is a piece.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Cutting Season: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Attica Locke
    • Narrated By Quincy Tyler Bernstine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (248)
    Performance
    (214)
    Story
    (211)

    Caren Gray manages Belle Vie, a sprawling antebellum plantation that sits between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where the past and the present coexist uneasily. The estate's owners have turned the place into an eerie tourist attraction, complete with full-dress re-enactments and carefully restored slave quarters. Outside the gates, a corporation with ambitious plans has been busy snapping up land from struggling families who have been growing sugar cane for generations, and now replacing local employees with illegal laborers. Tensions mount when the body of a female migrant worker is found in a shallow grave on the edge of the property.

    C. Telfair says: "Mystery + Atmosphere = A Definite Winner!"
    "The Past Doesn't Go Away Nor is it Past"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an interesting book from several angles. I do believe I'm not really in a position to judge it correctly. I am neither black or southern, and I would think you would need to be both for it to honestly make sense.
    The past mystery is quite wonderful, and makes historic sense. And is in it's own way, agonizing. The current one is less so in both regards. But either way, it's a good read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Paris Architect

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Charles Belfoure
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    Like most gentiles in Nazi-occupied Paris, architect Lucien Bernard has little empathy for the Jews. So when a wealthy industrialist offers him a large sum of money to devise secret hiding places for Jews, Lucien struggles with the choice of risking his life for a cause he doesn't really believe in. Ultimately he can't resist the challenge and begins designing expertly concealed hiding spaces - behind a painting, within a column, or inside a drainpipe - detecting possibilities invisible to the average eye. But when one of his clever hiding spaces fails and the immense suffering of Jews becomes incredibly personal, he can no longer deny reality.

    Ellen says: "Grows on you"
    "Grows on you"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't like where this book started. I loved where it ended. It was about Paris and people's moral limits in war time. The characters all did some interesting life change turns, when confronted with evil past stupidity. Don't know if it was realistic, but it was heart warming.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Guns for the Dead: A Graveminder Story

    • UNABRIDGED (39 mins)
    • By Melissa Marr
    • Narrated By DJ Holte
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    The worst part isn’t being dead, but finding a job. Francis Lee Lemons wakes up in the land of the dead, unemployed and bored. As a criminal in his life in modern America, he figured that the best plan in his afterlife is to stick to what he knows. But getting in with the local crime syndicate - run by an 1800s gunslinger, Alicia - isn’t that easy.

    Ellen says: "Short but fun"
    "Short but fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a spin off from Graveminder, although it has only one of the original characters in it. It's a short story, and suffers from that. But it's a nice view into that world and I hope it means Marr will write more about it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Jim Bernheimer
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (256)

    "My name is Mike Ross. I'm a Ferryman. I help people with ghost problems, or ghosts with people problems. Funny thing, no one ever helps me with my problems. Civil War ghosts bent on killing me, Skinwalkers who just want my body, and a vindictive spirit linked both to my bloodline and my destiny... It turns out the dead still hold a good deal of influence over the world, and they don't want to give it up. I'm in way over my head. Fortunately, I'm too stubborn to quit."

    DonNel says: "Like Harry Dresden? You will love Michael Ross!"
    "Not much substance, but fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved Graveminder, and this is as short story spin off. It explains a bit of the world of the dead. I'm hoping it means there will be more in this series soon.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fair Peril

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Nancy Springer
    • Narrated By Gabrielle De Cuir
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Buffy - a fat, 40ish, divorced mother - encounters a talking frog and, ignoring the warnings of fairy tales, does not turn the frog back into a prince. Trouble ensues when Buffy's rebellious teenage daughter Emily does kiss the frog; soon she and handsome Prince Adamus disappear into the enchanted land of Fair Peril. It is up to Buffy to rescue Emily and, in the process, learn that magic does exist in the most ordinary of lives.

    Ellen says: "My favorite fairy tale"
    "My favorite fairy tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I dearly love this book. It's the punch line to the joke that starts" I caught a talking frog". It has some wonderful things to say about middle age and about self help.
    The performance does some very odd things with volume that I really found distracting. Once I got used to that, it was still the book I loved.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Quiver: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Holly Luhning
    • Narrated By Jennifer Wiltsie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Danica, a young forensic psychologist, is one of many who have been drawn into the orbit of Bathory's enduring legend. Danica has moved to England from Canada to work at Stowmoor, a former insane asylum turned forensic hospital, and one of her patients is Martin Foster, imprisoned for murdering a fourteen-year-old girl. Foster is a menacing but fascinating patient, and Danica begins to suspect he may have belonged to a cabal idolizing Bathory and reenacting her savage murders.

    Ellen says: "Distressing but compelling"
    "Distressing but compelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a heart of darkness kind of book. It's about Elizabeth Bathory, and she is a nasty piece of business in any century. It's also a very interesting look at psychopaths without saying it's about them. It was a compelling read but I could see the end chapters away and that was a disappointment. It''s also terribly graphic. I would say it's pg35 (No. I wouldn't hand it to someone in their irresponsible tweens.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Sister's Keeper

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By various
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2693)
    Performance
    (937)
    Story
    (936)

    New York Times best-selling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness.

    Lisa says: "Wonderful Book, Very Emotional"
    "These people aren't real"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The premise that you would have one child as parts for another child is so obnoxious that I can't believe it passed the sniff test. But that's not the worst part of this book. The worst part is that the characters end up getting exactly what they were fighting for ( which is morally repugnant) after they supposedly had learned better.
    The parents are incomprehensible. The two sisters really do, I think, have an understanding of each other. But the ending took all of that, smeared happy jelly on it, and stuffed it down your throat.
    Did I say I didn't like this book? I really didn't.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Declare

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Tim Powers
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (118)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (87)

    As a young double agent infiltrating the Soviet spy network in Nazi-occupied Paris, Andrew Hale finds himself caught up in a secret, even more ruthless war. Two decades later, a coded message draws Professor Andrew Hale back into Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Elements from his past are gathering in Beirut, including ex-British counterespionage chief and Soviet mole Kim Philby, and a beautiful former Spanish Civil War soldier-turned-intelligence operative.

    art says: "Oh Fish. Art Thou Constant???"
    "Interesting history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tim Powers for some while has taken characters out of history, added a paranormal element and has told the story in that light. This one is hot and cold running war spies. It's a very fun book, but it is disjointed and hard to follow on the timeline. But the characters are a hoot and the look into a spy's life is chilling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor's Soul

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Angela Lin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (633)
    Performance
    (574)
    Story
    (580)

    New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson is widely celebrated for his Mistborn Trilogy and contribution to the final three books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. In The Emperor's Soul, a Forger named Shai can copy and re-create any item by using magic to rewrite its history. After being condemned to death for attempting to steal the emperor's scepter, Shai is given one final chance. She' ll be allowed to live if she can create a new soul for the emperor, who hovers near death.

    debbie says: "A Great Short Novella that is Long in Story"
    "Lovely and unexpected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this book for several reasons. It looks into an artist's soul in a way that is illuminating. It looks into who we could have been if we were someone else. And it's a look at court life that is probably quite accurate if distasteful. It made me wish the world worked the way that the writer described.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight Bayou

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By James Daniels, Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (764)
    Performance
    (603)
    Story
    (608)

    Declan Fitzgerald had always been the family maverick, but even he couldn't understand his impulse to buy a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans. All he knew was that ever since he saw Manet Hall, he'd been enchanted - and obsessed - with it. So when the opportunity to buy the house comes up Declan jumps at the chance to live out a dream.

    Phyllis says: "Not the Norm"
    "Overdone romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I will confess to a prejudice against romances. But this one is particularly inane. The male lead thinks like a girl, responds to stimulus like a girl and is unrecognizable as a man. Although you can't miss that he's supposed to be one. And the ghost line is over obvious. I should have known better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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