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Yakima, WA, United States | Member Since 2013

  • 22 reviews
  • 57 ratings
  • 91 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Deborah Blum
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In The Poisoner's Handbook, Blum draws from highly original research to track the fascinating, perilous days when a pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime.

    Aaron - Audible says: "CSI eat your heart out"
    "Enjoyable Enough"

    This audiobook was good if you like to hear about the development of science and interaction of scientific advances with history, politics and society and crime.

    The narrator was fine, though I disliked the voices she used when quoting some characters--they seemed like rude caricatures.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Susan Bennett

    A striking red-head, 20-something Jody is attacked and transformed into a vampire while walking home one night in downtown San Francisco. Befriending 19-year-old Tommy, Jody tries to understand her new undead life, but trouble finds her when the cops start suspecting Tommy of being a local bloodsucking serial killer.

    SHEILA says: "Bloodsucking FUN!"
    "funny, likable and fun"

    like twilight but the characters actually behave in a logical way given the circumstances. I'm not saying they do what I'd do or what they should, but at least you aren't cringing at what they are doing every step of they way.

    The writing is funny and has a logic or sense of its own. The characters are very unique and likable, too. I wanted to know what would happen to them and I wanted it to be good. I wanted to meet more of the people Moore created. (Also, I LOVE that I had just learned about the real-life Emperor of San Francisco before I listened to this! He was real!)

    I loved Fool and Lamb and didn't love Fluke. This is much more of the first persuasion. The narrator was great most of the time but I couldn't handle her Fargo/UP accent for the family from Indiana (just a midwesterner's peeve).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Jeff Shesol
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Beginning in 1935, in a series of devastating decisions, the Supreme Court's conservative majority left much of Franklin Roosevelt's agenda in ruins. The pillars of the New Deal fell in short succession. It was not just the New Deal but democracy itself that stood on trial. In February 1937, Roosevelt struck back with an audacious plan to expand the Court to fifteen justices - and to "pack" the new seats with liberals who shared his belief in a "living" Constitution.

    IRP says: "Excellent Book and Naration"
    "very tight focus"

    I was a little surprised by how narrow and tight was the focus of this book. I guess I let myself believe this book would talk more broadly about the history of the supreme court or even more broadly about the presidency of FDR. Instead the book covered several years (~36-~38) mostly during FDR's second term. The action and insight of the book was almost entirely focused on the supreme court and FDR's court packing plan. I know this was what was blurbed for the book but I was surprised that mentions of other national and world events (depression, New Deal and WW2) were quite minimal and only mentioned in passing as they related to the court.
    I would have liked more in-depth analysis of those concurrent events and a broader ranging discussion of both the court history and maybe FDR's history. For how much time I spent with this book, I feel like I have gained little, though the reading and the story itself was enjoyable enough while I was listening to it.
    I also had to do some homework part way through this book. I needed to refresh myself on the order and years of the presidents just before FDR and I needed to google the 'teapot dome" scandal. I wish the author had filled that in a bit more, though now that I've read the Wikipedia entry I can't say that background would have been very interesting.

    Overall, decent book. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it strongly but it isn't a total waste of a credit. I would like to find a broader history of the supreme court, though.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1993 Greg Mortenson was the exhausted survivor of a failed attempt to ascend K2, an American climbing bum wandering emaciated and lost through Pakistan's Karakoram Himalaya. After he was taken in and nursed back to health by the people of an impoverished Pakistani village, Mortenson promised to return one day and build them a school. From that rash, earnest promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time: Greg Mortenson's one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban.

    Karl says: "An education and inspiration"
    "This isn't about tea"

    I procrastinated reading this book because of the title. I expected a sappy seated story about a saintly humanitarian. (Not that there is anything wrong with saintly humanitarians.)

    Serendipity was a much bigger player in the story than I expected. The humanitarian didn't seem to start out with the outrageously high goal of "fight[ing] terrorism and build[ing] nations" it was more immediate and personal.

    It was interesting to hear about Mortenson's personal struggles in learning how one does this stuff. It was interesting to hear about his failures and to follow him as he learned how this other culture "works."

    A little background history of Pakistan and Afghanistan wouldn't hurt but probably isn't necessary. Of course we all are familiar (to some degree at least) with the events in Afghanistan that follow the main timeline of this book.

    The reader was good but there were a few places where the details of the story seemed to drag. A few times I got lost in events that might be summed up: He travelled all over Pakistan to check up on schools and it was sometimes tough to get them started."
    I don't begrude the superfluous details but I'm glad I was listening rather than reading them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Rebecca Skloot
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Bahni Turpin

    Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells, taken without her knowledge, became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first immortal human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than 60 years.

    Prisca says: "Amazing Story"
    "you must listen to this!"

    I loved this book.
    I usually listen to history and science with a few novels thrown in for balance. Occasionally I listen to a mystery. This was all 4!
    The narrator weaves together three stories (by my count) into one book. The juxtaposition of the stories of 1) Henrietta and her family, 2) the author's research, including interactions with Henrietta's family, and 3) the scientific breakthroughs and fallbacks because of Hela cells helps each story to bring out the strengths in the other and to cause the listener to become more invested in the story.
    Get it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Brian Fagan
    • Narrated By James Langton

    Best-selling author Brian Fagan brings early humans out of the deep freeze with his trademark mix of erudition, cutting-edge science, and vivid storytelling. Cro-Magnon reveals human society in its infancy, facing enormous environmental challenges - including a rival species of humans, the Neanderthals. For ten millennia, Cro-Magnons lived side by side with Neanderthals, an encounter that Fagan fills with drama.

    Paul says: "Fact and fiction"

    This was an interesting topic but the book got bogged down at times with information that was too complicated for a someone whose area of expertise is not pre-history, archaeology or anthropology. (particular the former two, I think).

    Perhaps others will disagree and find the dense discussion more accessible than I did. However, I don't consider myself a complete neophyte on the subject: I took a graduate level course on ancient technology that covered flintknapping and other technologies. As an art instructor, I am familar with Lascaux and Chauvet and the Venus of Willendorf among others.

    There were several times when I wanted the author to just skip the correct terminology and jump to the part where he tells us what it means. There were several other times when I felt a little confused about whether the evidence he'd just outlined supported or refuted the claim he had made at the beginning of the thought. And at least once I wondered why he said that "obviously" wasn't correct. Why was it obvious? Why not remind us? This is a long detailed history, why skip a little "obvious" bit like that?

    I listened to this book in my studio while working on several projects. It was a good mellow story, interesting enough to give my mind something to do without being a distraction. I do not recommend listening to this book while driving. The author's voice lulls you into a sleepy state.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Princess Bride

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By William Goldman
    • Narrated By Rob Reiner

    This adventure story has everything you could want: the good guy, some bad guys, the girl, sword fighting, revenge, romance, of course a happy ending, and rodents of unusual size. Join Westley the plucky farm boy, Buttercup the beautiful young maiden, Inigo Montoya the driven, embittered swordsman, and many other strange and unusual characters in this swashbuckling tale of good-natured silliness. It is read by Rob Reiner, who directed the motion picture based on this classic tale.

    rachel says: "Way Too Abridged"
    "Way Too Abridged"

    I didn't realize when I bought it that this version was abridged.
    It is the only copy I found on Audible.

    So much of the story has been cut that it lacks the feel of the original book. The story behind the book is that it is an adaptation of the "S. Morgenstern classic". Part of what is so enjoyable in reading the book is how the author/adapter intersperses his comments about the original text.
    In the unabridged book Goldman begins by giving a wandering backstory about his introduction to the S. Morgenstern classic. This audiobook almost entirely skips the book's intro and it seems almost unnecessary to mention it later on.
    The book not only refers to the bits of the "classic" that were "eliminated", the story itself meanders in funny ways around the main story, talking of Buttercup's beauty, the prince's failed engagement to a princess with many hats, etc.
    This audiobook has been cut (dare I say mutilated) so far that much of the humor is gone.
    Even an early exchange between Buttercup and her parents about hygiene has been cut so short as to be almost terse and straightforward rather than pointing out how dimwitted and dirty is our heroine and eliciting a few laughs.
    I guess the audiobook is a similar length to the movie, but it does not have the benefit of Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin (and visual effects). The reader would have done a fine job with this audiobook had he been given enough of it to read. Without the meat and flesh of the story, it is more like an oddly rushed reading of the movie script.

    Oh Audible, give me an unabridged version, please!

    54 of 54 people found this review helpful
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog: Or How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this Hugo-winner from Connie Willis, when too many jumps back to 1940 leave 21st century Oxford history student Ned Henry exhausted, a relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. But complexities like recalcitrant rowboats, missing cats, and love at first sight make Ned's holiday anything but restful - to say nothing of the way hideous pieces of Victorian art can jeopardize the entire course of history.

    Sara says: "A fun read"
    "I'm still confused"

    This is an odd book.
    I'm still not sure what I think about it.
    The narrator was fine, the story progressed.
    I think I came in somewhere in the middle of a series, I had trouble following the action for the first 30min-hour, then I sort of settled into it.
    Perhaps this would be more exciting for someone with more interest in late 19th century England, English writers and colleges at the time?
    I was happiest near the end when time travel was happening and expectations were being surprised and loose ends were finally being tied up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Throne

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Chris Kuzneski
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1890, a man collapses near the Piazza della Santa Carita in Naples, Italy. Strangers manage to revive him, but he is unable to speak. Police carry him to the nearest hospital, where he is not admitted because he has no money or identification. Frantically trying to communicate, he scribbles notes in ancient Greek and German that would have told the world about a discovery of immense importance - if anyone had read them.

    Lórien says: "The best Kuzneski yet"
    "Good easy listening mystery"

    Despite a few places where the violence and gore are a little too much for my tastes, this was an easy, enjoyable listen.
    No great literature; it won't change your life, but if you have some tedious task to preform (I was loading a kiln) it will improve the experience.
    The narrator was good and character voices were distinct which helps me follow the dialogue and change in location.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cathedral of the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Ildefonso Falcones
    • Narrated By Paul Michael

    At last: The international best seller - which has already sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide - comes to America! Cathedral of the Sea follows the fortunes of the Estanyol family, from their peasant roots to a son, Arnau, who flees the land only to realize spectacular wealth and devastating problems.

    Joseph says: "Very good historical novel."
    "boring with boring characters"

    This is no "The Pillars of the Earth."
    I bought it because of the comparisons, but was sadly disappointed.
    I could only make myself listen to just under 4 hours of the book. The characters are weak and dull, the events of their lives are sad, gruesome and predictable and there is no real action or interest in the plot (at least not 4 hours in).
    Be good to yourself, find something else to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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