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Pennalie

Texaco Flats | Member Since 2012

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 52 ratings
  • 158 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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  • America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Stephen Colbert
    • Narrated By Stephen Colbert, Tim Meadows, Jordin Ruderman
    Overall
    (867)
    Performance
    (797)
    Story
    (789)

    Book store nation, in the history of mankind there has never been a greater country than America. You could say we're the number one nation at being the best at greatness. But as perfect as America is in every single way, America is broken! And we can't exchange it because we're 236 years past the 30-day return window. Look around - we don't make anything anymore, we've mortgaged our future to China, and the Apologist-in-Chief goes on world tours just to bow before foreign leaders.

    Brett says: "Funny as usual"
    "Really kinda sorta disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Stephen Colbert, but this was such a disappointment. Every once in a while, on the Colbert Report, you realized that Stephen just stretching for time...not enough material and 4 1/2 minutes to fill. Over and over again I caught myself thinking--that's what he's doing here. Just stretching for time--in a REALLY short book to begin with. Yes there were many moments of cutting satire, but surrounding them was way too much over-cute, meaningless routines. Perhaps these were the monologues that didn't make it onto the Colbert Report.

    If you've ever wondered what it would be like if the genius mind of Stephen Colbert was ever loose to go deep into American hypocracy, taking the time to connect the dots of all that we pretend to be and the liars who spin the American dream.......well, this is not that.

    But if you like the Colbert Report and wish you could pay $20.00 to get 3 hours of it, then this is thePERFECT audio book for you.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Greyhound

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Steffan Piper
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Sebastien Ranes’s single mom and her feckless boyfriend can’t be bothered to take care of a stuttering 12-year-old. Banished to live with his grandmother on the far side of the country, the boy can barely understand a bus schedule when he gets dumped at the Greyhound station in Stockton, California. Given $35 and a one-way ticket to Altoona, Pennsylvania, Sebastien must cross the country - alone, without a clue how to fend for himself. Filled with youthful anger and naïveté, Sebastien heads out into the "Morning in America" of Ronald Reagan’s 1980s.

    Pennalie says: "perfect narration for an almost perfect story"
    "perfect narration for an almost perfect story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As I began listening to this story, I had an instant kinship to Sebastian Raines, an almost 12 year old boy abandoned by his mother at a Greyhound station in California. And so begins a heartwarming road trip across America with a sweet young boy entirely dependent on the kindness of strangers. Narrator, Nick Podehl, perfectly captures the voices of the never-ending array of strangers Sebastian encounters drivers, waitresses, convicts and pedophiles. He does them so well that I had to check that this was not a dramatized book with numerous narrators.

    I wanted to much to LOVE this story. But in the end, I only ever liked it. Author, Steffan Piper, almost gets you there, and you, the reader believe you are on your way to something like a modern-day Huckleberry-Finn. But he never fully delivers. The story is at its best when the author shares vignettes with varying strangers. But as the story wore on, and the strangers all disembark, and the story transitions toSebastian`s back story. This is where the author lost me. In a typical novice writer's flaw, he failed to show me the story. Everything is told. In fact, it is over-told, as though the author did not trust his reader to get it - Sebastian has a terrible mother. Sebastian stutters. Sebastian needs to become a man.

    I wanted very much to LOVE the interracial, intergenerational story of Sebastian and Marcus (a kind-hearted convict who teaches Sebastian what kind of man he can choose to be), but then it just fizzles out. What began as a tale I could not wait to return to, ended with an adolescent`s self analysis that I was just as eager to finish.

    Almost perfect. But the distance between perfect and almost perfect is equal to a Greyhound bus trip that ends in Albequerque, and one that ends in Altuna.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Robert D. Hare
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (476)
    Performance
    (418)
    Story
    (419)

    Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath. Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong....

    Douglas says: "When I gave up on books that supposedly would..."
    "Basic Stuff at Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It took me forever to get through this book. With the final sentence ended I asked myself what I had learned. The only real insight was a 10-minute section on the difficulty psychopaths have with sequencing and story-telling. Fascinating. But overall, I found the information gleaned to be rather superficial and skewed almost entirely to criminality. In addition, Boehmer's narration was rather snooty throughout. He added authentic sarcasm where it was clear that the author was condescending to his colleagues or when quoting actual psychopaths. But by the end, I was over the whole "smartest guy in the room" feel that I got from the author and especially as it was narrated.

    Robert Hare is the self-proclaimed inventor of the Psychopathy Checklist. But that is the one thing missing from this audio book - the actual check list. And so he ends the book by saying that if you are a victim of a psychopath, educate yourself and seek professional help - which is probably what many people thought they were doing when buying this book. Hmm.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Unwind

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Neal Shusterman
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1133)
    Performance
    (970)
    Story
    (975)

    Conner's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance.

    SoCalBonnie says: "It won me over completely"
    "Provocative Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read the reviews and kept this book on my wish list for months before finally downloading it. Then, within the first 2 minutes, I almost went back for the exchange - the narrator's voice and cadence were strangely off-putting. Very glad I kept listening.

    In fact, I listened to the whole thing in 1 day - as the story was rapid and engrossing. Beyond the horrific world that provides the setting and theme for this story, Neal Shusterman provided a cast of complex and engaging characters. Very fulfilling for a YA read (as I am a mom of 40+). I even came around to enjoying the narrator's embodiment of the various characters. I would also like to thank Mr Shusterman for providing a fully realized story. So often series stories leave too much out in order the get you to buy the next installment. And though I am very likely to pick up the next book in the series, I loved getting a satisfying resolution at the end of Unwind. Thanks to the author for respecting the reader with a full and captivating (if rather frightening) story.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Uglies: Uglies, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Scott Westerfeld
    • Narrated By Carine Montbertrand
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (870)
    Performance
    (610)
    Story
    (619)

    Tally Youngblood is quickly approaching her 16th birthday and the mandatory pretty-making surgery that accompanies it. But Tally isn't sure if she wants to be a placidly happy Pretty. When a top secret organization threatens her with remaining Ugly forever, she reluctantly spies on the rebels who have refused the surgery. They think it changes more than just looks and are working on a cure. But they need someone to become Pretty to test it out.

    Cather says: "Unexpectedly enjoyable"
    "Narrator's voice is a problem"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Though the story is intriguing, Monebetrand's voice is so terribly whiny that it distracted me throughout the story. I would recommend the Kindle Edition instead so you can create your own voices. Because once you spend a few hours listening to variations on the teenage whine - shrilly and slightly congested for Shay, morose and nasal for Tally, sulky and overly-tired for David, Cruella DeVille meets Gilbert Gotfried for Dr. Cable - you will never be able to enjoy these characters ever again.

    Read other reviews for comments on the story which is suspenseful, and the writing with is tight, and the love triangle which is a bit predicable. The, if you decide this is the book for you - READ it yourself, and prevent these voices for taking up residence in your imagination.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3491)
    Performance
    (2489)
    Story
    (2494)

    Always leave a little salt on the bread. Ikey Solomon's favorite saying is also his way of doing business, and in the business of thieving he's very successful indeed. Ikey's partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from thriving nineteenth century London to the convict settlement of Van Diemen's Land.

    karen says: "Best audiobook of the year!"
    "Tragic Story - Incredible Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the fictionalized story of real life prince of fences - Ikey Solomon - and his long suffering mistress, the fictional Mary Abacus. In every way a brutal tale, chilling heartbreaking and riveting. I was not sure I could bear the brutality of certain scenes - but for the amazing talents of Narrator Humphrey Bower! This book was all the more powerful and heart-wrenching thanks to Bower's ability to bring the voices, dialects and 19th Century slang to life and to carry us through the hell that Courtenay's characters endure with the spunk and determination that prevented this story from wallowing in its own despair.

    I was captivated by the world Bryce portrays and horrified by the cruelty of its inhabitants. This is not a tale for the faint of heart, and I may need to catch my breath before picking up the sequel, Tommo & Hawk, but I will long have these voices in my head - not to mention the song sung by Sperm Whale Sally . . . . Well done Mr. Bower. Well done, me dearie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • World Made by Hand: The World Made by Hand Novels, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By James Howard Kunstler
    • Narrated By Jim Meskimen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (221)
    Performance
    (151)
    Story
    (151)

    The electricity has flickered out. The automobile age is over. In Union Grove, a little town in upstate New York, the future is nothing like people thought it would be. Life is hard and close to the bone. Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy, and the outside world is largely unknown. There may be a president, and he may be in Minneapolis now, but people aren’t sure.

    David says: "A kind of Amish post-apocalypse"
    "Andy Griffith at the end of the world"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Be prepared for a leisurely pace. The first 1/2 of the story is more of a sketch of a post-electronic world than an actual story. Built to be idealistic more than realistic, this dystopian world clearly depicts the author's preference for a world with less technology. He succeeded in making me imagine the beauty that could await us if we found ourselves back in synch with nature's rhythms, but the entire story softens the blows--until the strange and abruptly violent ending. The plot takes its time developing, then takes an ugly turn in a way that seemed incongruous with the Andy Griffith beginning.

    An additional note of complaint is the author's treatment of women. Not only are they all emotionally weak, needy, manipulative or disturbed, they rely exclusively on men for their care and feeding. Kunstler's main source of differentiating between them is by remarking on their various breast sizes, which only exaggerates this misogynist worldview.

    Before adding this book to my summer reading (& listening) list, I had just finished Alas Babylon (1959, Pat Frank). The similarities are abundant. The biggest difference is in the story telling. Babylon builds suspense while offering plenty of commentary, thus never feeling dull and weary. The narrator for Alas Babylon also kept the pace and intensity in a way that Jim Meskimen never mastered. I was also able to forgive Pat Frank for his 1950's treatment of women (pre-women's liberation). On the other hand, I could not get past Kunstler's apparent chauvinism .......and racism. Really? Are no minorities in all of upstate New York? In Kunstler's future they are entirely relegated to race wars in urban centers far, far away.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alas, Babylon

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Pat Frank
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4432)
    Performance
    (3364)
    Story
    (3370)

    This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness....

    Evelyn says: "Excellent listen"
    "Delicious Narration!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Will Patton nails the narration with the kind of southern drawl that lets you close you eyes in the coldest February night and blieve you're sipping lemonade in a 1950s hot Florida summer afternoon, So wonderful is this gossiping drawl to lay out the horror that comes quickly as the cold war takes a chilling turn.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11908)
    Performance
    (10820)
    Story
    (10844)

    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!!"
    "What Fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was my first WhisperSync audible purchase and I loved going back and forth from Kindle to Audible. The story was suspenseful and filled with entertaining characters--best described (as the author does throughout) as Shaggy, Daphne, Velma and Fred. Oh how we cheer for "Shaggy" and adore the sharp-tonged, Russian "Velma" and the blue-haired "Daphne" as they solve all the riddles of the universe locked in apartment.....oops, spoiler alert.

    As with most Sci-Fi, when you finally look behind the curtain it is never quite as thrilling as the pages you just raced through to get there. But Peter Clines does not hold back on any of the potential for other-worldly adventure.

    All that being said, by far the best feature of this audio-book is the narrator--Ray Porter. For my next audible purchase, I will definately seek out another book based on his narration. He was able to use different voices for each of the characters in this vast ensemble--not an easy task with the various ethnic backgrounds and the different women involved. And he did so masterfully. When the final threatening voices are added at the end of the tale, Mr. Porter nailed the haunting/threatening voice which sounded (to me at least) similar to Gollum. Bravo on an outstanding narration!

    If you want to spend the next 9-10 hours solving puzzles and running for you life--this is absolutely the story for you!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Mitchell Zuckoff
    • Narrated By Mitchell Zuckoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1299)
    Performance
    (993)
    Story
    (1010)

    On May 13, 1945, 24 American servicemen and WACs boarded a transport plane for a sightseeing trip over “Shangri-La,” a beautiful and mysterious valley deep within the jungle-covered mountains of Dutch New Guinea. Unlike the peaceful Tibetan monks of James Hilton’s best-selling novel Lost Horizon, this Shangri-La was home to spear-carrying tribesmen, warriors rumored to be cannibals. But the pleasure tour became an unforgettable battle for survival when the plane crashed. Miraculously, three passengers pulled through.

    Janice says: "Facinating history"
    "What a great real-life story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Lost in Shangri-La?

    The suspenseful way the story developes grabs you from the very start--all the way to the epilogue.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Zuckoff was able to weave the various characters in such a way that each one leaps off the page--from the spunky WAC, to the troubled parashooter, to the chief of the Dani tribe. I especially enjoyed the anthropological data so experately woven into a dramatic narrative.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The book is action-packed throughout. But the post plane-crash survival of the 3 main chacters, their injuries and treatment was especially gripping.


    Any additional comments?

    As an aside to any parents who want to choose vivid audio-books for their entire families--this book thoroughly entertained my whole family on a recent road trip. There is plenty of action and moments of drama--but never overtly vulgar, no over-the-top language or sexuality. This is increasingly rare to pull it off believably--but Zuckoff rose to the challenge.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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