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Nicole

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, United States | Member Since 2010

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 10 ratings
  • 153 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • Solaris: The Definitive Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Stanislaw Lem, Bill Johnston (translator)
    • Narrated By Alessandro Juliani
    Overall
    (2304)
    Performance
    (1883)
    Story
    (1901)

    At last, one of the world’s greatest works of science fiction is available - just as author Stanislaw Lem intended it. To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Solaris, Audible, in cooperation with the Lem Estate, has commissioned a brand-new translation - complete for the first time, and the first ever directly from the original Polish to English. Beautifully narrated by Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Lem’s provocative novel comes alive for a new generation.

    Burns says: "A comment on negative reviews"
    "Haunting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The handling of the characters is dated, and the plot more cerebral than overtly compelling, but it is haunting, alternately lovely and terrible, and ultimately...interesting. That sounds weak; I don't mean it to be. The concept of Solaris is interesting enough to justify a book that is, at times, difficult.

    I confess I found the reading a bit invasive. Juliani's voice for one of the characters in particular was too exaggerated for my taste.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Great North Road

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Toby Longworth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1046)
    Performance
    (946)
    Story
    (952)

    A century from now, thanks to a technology allowing instantaneous travel across light-years, humanity has solved its energy shortages, cleaned up the environment, and created far-flung colony worlds. The keys to this empire belong to the powerful North family - composed of successive generations of clones. Yet these clones are not identical. For one thing, genetic errors have crept in with each generation. For another, the original three clone "brothers" have gone their separate ways, and the branches of the family are now friendly rivals more than allies. Or maybe not so friendly....

    Flapjack says: "Get the Timeline and Cast of Characters"
    "One in a hundred"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well, now that I've finished I guess I should get back to my life, do some dishes, talk to my husband. But everything real seems so unreal, like waking up from a dream. It may take me a few days to untangle myself from this book.

    First of all, Great North Road is Epic. It is really something to sink your teeth into and live with for a while. The characters work themselves into your psyche like historical figures or memories from your distant past. Sid the police detective is an awesome trope given new life in the context of a space-themed sci-fi. Angela the bad-ass babe has added depth with her 1000-year life span. (I do wish she didn't have to be so hot though. Why are they always hot? What about a completely ordinary-looking bad-ass babe? Is that so hard to imagine? Give us normal girls someone to see ourselves in.) The plot is filled with teases and secrets and slow reveals. Sometimes annoying, but oh-so-satisfying when finally resolved.

    And the reader was really good too. Very British. His cadence was sometimes a little off, and he propelled us into new chapters, taking place light years away, without any warning - like a little pause or a change in tone would have been nice - so I was confused sometimes, but maybe that was just me. Still a quality performance.

    Anyway, I loved it. Get off the fence and start listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Scar

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko, Elinor Huntington (translator)
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (749)
    Performance
    (668)
    Story
    (665)

    Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic scenes with romance, action and wit, in a style both direct and lyrical. Written with a sure artistic hand, The Scar is the story of a man driven by his own feverish demons to find redemption and the woman who just might save him. Egert is a brash, confident member of the elite guards and an egotistical philanderer. But after he kills an innocent student in a duel, a mysterious man known as “The Wanderer” challenges Egert and slashes his face with his sword, leaving Egert with a scar that comes to symbolize his cowardice.

    Robert says: "Highly, highly, Highly Recommended"
    "Not so memorable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There were some things about this book that I found very interesting. Specifically: the descriptions of the crippling anxiety felt by the protagonist. However, I found the fantasy world trite, the role of women that same old path of not having anything much interesting to do beyond inspiring men to be more than they are and/or fade into the background. And it did go on a bit. Even Jonathan Davis let me down a little; he's one of my favorite readers yet it seemed that he felt the same way about the book that I did and we were both just plodding along waiting for it to end. Sorry, I normally avoid writing less than super-enthusiastic reviews and there was nothing truly terrible about this book, really. It was fine. Don't listen to me, go enjoy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Windup Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3563)
    Performance
    (1949)
    Story
    (1959)

    Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman.

    Marius says: "Al Gore nightmare meets Blade Runner."
    "I look at fruit in a whole new way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Reading this book changed the way I feel about my grocery store, about the huge piles of delicious, inexpensive produce I see there. It will for you too.

    This is a complex story, and as you-the-reader are trying to understand what is going on you are simultaneously learning what has happened to bring the world to this state. It is a dizzying experience. At first I could not decipher which of the characters was meant to be the protagonist and I felt some degree of distaste for them all. By the middle of the book, however, I loved each of them in some way or another - as much for their flaws as in spite of them. The ending was deeply satisfying, although I wish I could continue listening on and on.

    Jonathan Davis is a favorite reader of mine and I chose this book largely because of him; he did not disappoint. The dystopian future Bangkok was an amazing setting for this engrossing story, and Davis' subtle, dexterous accents distinguish the characters without distracting from the narrative.

    One of the best books I have read. Ever.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • State of Wonder: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Hope Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4370)
    Performance
    (3177)
    Story
    (3177)

    Research scientist Dr. Marina Singh is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have disappeared in the Amazon while working on an extremely valuable new drug. The last person who was sent to find her died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding answers to the questions about her friend's death, her company's future, and her own past.

    F. B. Herron says: "Do yourself a favor and listen to this book!"
    "o the humanity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I already loved Ann Patchett and expected quite a bit from this novel. I was not disappointed. Engaging from the beginning and lavish with evocative prose, this book was a treat to read and I was sad when it ended. It is filled with multidimensional characters, a journey, a jungle, a remembered Minnesota, and I was struck in particular with how effectively Patchett illustrated Dr. Swenson's commanding presence. Now I need to re-read Heart of Darkness...

    0 of 0 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
    (10513)
    Performance
    (9392)
    Story
    (9367)

    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"
    "The narrator is fantastic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think anyone who reads this book instead of listening to it is missing out. Luke Daniels adds so much to the story! And the story is already a lot of fun; it's sort of like a World of Warcraft quest - complete with level ups and loot. Not overly thought-provoking, but easy and enjoyable. I've already read the second and I'm downloading the third.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11324)
    Performance
    (10555)
    Story
    (10563)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Julie W. Capell says: "I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book."
    "Light cheesy fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story is as fluffy and light as a John Hughes movie. Wil Wheaton as the narrator is an absolute riot. Some of the more intellectually compelling aspects of virtual reality impinging on reality take second seat to the non-stop eighties gaming reference orgy which is this book, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Name of the Wind: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12928)
    Performance
    (10535)
    Story
    (10656)

    This is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

    Joanna says: "Wow!"
    "A slow-builder with great rewards"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm having a hard time putting my finger on what I like so much about this book. The pace is wonderful, and wonderfully controlled by the reader. I am bemused by how listening to a story instead of reading it enhances the experience, and in this case it emphasizes the careful way this story is constructed and told. Also, the narrator sounds young and a little cocky, just like our hero.

    At first I confess it took a while for me to get into it. I have issues with books that don't have interesting female characters and it was several hours before any appear in this story, but they do eventually arrive. I also don't like stories that rely heavily on flashbacks, and this is a story within a story, with most of the events having taken place in the past. However, the way the past and present are woven together is clever, engaging, and enhances both tales.

    I especially like the attention given to the realm of magic and its study. Rather than a few vague details, Rothfuss has an elaborate and self-consistent vision of his magical world which is not only interesting, but will make students of chemistry chuckle. Also, the slightly contemporary style of banter between characters is a welcome compliment to the traditional fantasy setting.

    I am currently listening to the second in the series and looking forward to the third.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Snow Crash

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (5625)
    Performance
    (2926)
    Story
    (2985)

    Neal Stephenson is a blazing new force on the sci-fi scene. With the groundbreaking cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, he has "vaulted onto the literary stage." It weaves virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility - in short, it is the gigathriller of the information age.

    A. Tuck says: "Classic Stephenson"
    "Would you like to try some Snow Crash?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an awesome story, but it was the reader that really got me hooked. His voice for the character of Raven was so distinctive that in one scene I recognized who was speaking well before he was actually identified in the text, and I wished the author had written more dialog for him just so I could hear that delicious accent again!

    The plot is chaotic and confusing and wonderful. This was my first Stephenson book, and I will definitely be reading more. I have also put Jonathan Davis on my "must listen" list.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Terra-Cotta Dog: An Inspector Montalbano Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Andrea Camilleri
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (128)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (62)

    Montalbano's latest case begins with a mysterious tête à tête with a Mafioso, some inexplicably abandoned loot from a supermarket heist, and some dying words that lead him to an illegal arms cache in a mountain cave. There the inspector finds two young lovers, dead for 50 years and still embracing, watched over by a life-sized terra-cotta dog. Montalbano's passion to solve this old crime takes him on a journey through Sicily's past and into a family's dark heart.

    Lehua says: "It just gets better"
    "Not a fan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My dad has been trying to get me to read this author for years. I keep telling him I have a hard time staying engaged with stories that don't have strong female characters, and he assured me that this series was "written by a woman". Which it isn't. And even if it had been, that would not change the fact that there are no strong female characters. Exemplified by his housekeeper, who we almost never see, and who not only cleans but cooks, shops, and mends clothes for him without ever having to have an actual conversation - she just intuits his needs from the way he leaves the house in the morning. Nice. The protagonist is an arrogant narcissist who does nothing but eat, talk on the phone to his cronies, and treat everyone else disrespectfully. I'm not a fan.

    The plot was good, though, and the reading was great.

    If you like straight detective stories without much character development, and you don't have my particular female character requirements, you will probably like it.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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