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Tim

TEMECULA, CA, United States | Member Since 2003

707
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 28 reviews
  • 48 ratings
  • 726 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
190

  • Snuff

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1584)
    Performance
    (1404)
    Story
    (1414)

    Sam Vimes is on a well-deserved holiday. But for the commander of the City Watch, a vacation in the country is anything but relaxing. The balls, the teas, the muck - not to mention all that fresh air and birdsong - are more than a bit taxing on a cynical city-born and -bred copper. Yet a policeman will find a crime anywhere if he decides to look hard enough, and it’s not long before a body is discovered, and Sam - out of his jurisdiction, out of his element, and out of bacon sandwiches (thanks to his well-meaning wife) - must rely on his instincts, guile, and street smarts to see justice done.

    Tim says: "Perfect Pratchett"
    "Perfect Pratchett"
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    If you are already a fan of the Disc World books don’t waste time reading the reviews just buy this book and start enjoying. If don’t you don’t know the series, this is a very good book and stands pretty well alone, but I might recommend you start with ‘Guards Guards’ then listen to the ‘Fifth Elephant’ and what I believe is Pratchett’s best book so far ‘Thud’ before moving on to ‘Snuff’. This story picks up just about four years after ‘Thud’ when the splendid Vimes is forced to take a vacation in the country. Vimes being Vimes he unearths all kinds of evil plots, but I won’t spoil your enjoyment by going into them here.
    The pace of the story is leisurely and packed with marvelous detail and observation, the parallel with the Blandings novels of Wodehouse is well deserved. There are a couple of oddities which fans might scratch their heads at. For example in ‘Unseen Academicals’ we are first introduced to the Goblins and in that book they were a scarce almost extinct people, in this they are as common as roaches. In ‘Thud’ the Summoning Dark possess and then leaves Vimes, in this book it’s back in Vimes giving him special powers and giving evidence with a Welsh accent. Having said that the hard core fans will more likely be amused and intrigued by the games Pratchett plays rather than annoyed. He revives and extends characters he merely sketched in other books, bringing together a cast which spans maybe six or seven of the Disc books. All in all it’s splendid entertaining, satisfying writing, beautifully read and I am enormously pleased to see that the health problems Pratchett is suffering are not impacting his genius.

    30 of 31 people found this review helpful
  • Inferno: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8498)
    Performance
    (7727)
    Story
    (7787)

    In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces: Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust...before the world is irrevocably altered.

    Livia says: "Formulaic and Hard to Finish...."
    "Trip Advisor Meets James Bond"
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    I have a theory about Dan Brown: He lives in New Hampshire and as a former Granite State resident I can attest to the fact that winter is cold and usually lasts six months. If I had Da Vinci Code money, I too would spend at least six month of each year hanging out drinking espresso in the most beautiful and interesting places in the world…then to justify the expense I too might cobble together a pot boiler on the scale of Inferno and palm it off on my fans. Note, Mr. Browns books aren’t typically set in Manchester or Cleveland…I think I see a pattern here.

    Don’t get me wrong, Inferno isn’t horrible…I mean I finished it, and some of the characters are quite interesting….but it’s a bit of a mess. I was interested to read that Mr. Brown was raised Episcopalian and has a love or organ music from an early age, so his intense affection for mediaeval architecture and symbolism is quite understandable…I share a similar affection, you just can’t beat visiting cathedrals as a way to spend a few days in Florence or Venice. However page after page of what is essentially Trip Advisor meets James Bond can get just a tiny bit much.

    My biggest problem with the book is the plot; why would a super villain (think evil Steve Jobs) go to the trouble of leaving an elaborate set of symbolic clues to allow possible thwarters of his evil plans to track down that evil pan and thwart it? It makes no sense at any level. Any plot, which starts off with amnesia, is suspect from day one in my book. The plot even throws in an old fashioned switcheroo in the middle so that all the good guys are now bad and vice versa…after I recovered from the whiplash I could hardly stop laughing.

    Overall it’s a lumbering bloated (albeit lavish and well read) story packed full of plot turns, which go from the breathless to the down right silly. If you are already a fan and happen to have a spare credit and 17 hours go ahead and dive in. It lacks the pacing of Da Vinci Code but is a better read than the fairly awful lost symbol. Ultimately the story deflates at the end…which is a shame. A confection as large and sugary as this shouldn’t leave you regretting all those empty calories.

    30 of 43 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
    (963)
    Performance
    (867)
    Story
    (869)

    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!"
    "Disc World Fans...This Way Please"
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    This book is great…it’s Disc World great, it’s PG Wodehouse great, it’s Tom Sharpe great. It’s as British as Chicken Vindaloo or Soccer Violence. As an ex-Brit, raised in London now in SoCal this book hit me like the smell of damp overcoats on the underground or fresh fish and chips. If you are a follower of BBC America or PBS and have already found and enjoyed "Doctor Who", "Luther" or "Top Gear" I invite you to shout “Yipee” and jump in the deep end. This is a funny, gripping and fiercely entertaining romp through modern day London where the ghosts are as real as science, led by our reluctant hero; a junior policemen with unexpected magical powers. If Harry Potter had joined the London cops after Hogwarts this is what might have happened.
    If you are an American, not quite so well versed in the parlance of London and its police force then you may be a little confused by the pervasive used of London and Police vernacular....but read this book anyway. It's brilliantly narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith whose accent is 100% authentic London street…and Kudos to the producers for not attempting to “RP” it up. Its basic premise is at once completely silly and absolutely sublime. The characters are authentic and in many cases hilarious.
    It’s not often that I find myself gushing …but I simply have to in this case. To find a new, funny, authentic and creative voice in the often ghastly genre of urban magic is refreshing and encouraging. This book is everything the dreadful Stackhouse or True Blood books aren't. It’s funny and credible, without taking itself too seriously. I tried this book as a special offer from Audible which promotes the first book of series presumably with the aim of hooking me in… and it worked. I invite you to follow and enjoy this exercise in Britt-erati at its best.

    27 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4216)
    Performance
    (3532)
    Story
    (3542)

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion.

    Jimmy says: "Epic, Remarkable, Easy & Enjoyable!"
    "Brilliant Sequel"
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    Story

    This is a strong, interesting, well written and superbly performed historic pot boiler which may on occasion play a little fast and loose with the facts but makes up for that with a compelling narrative drive. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good book. It’s a long and at times harrowing read which deals with the rise of Fascism and World War Two through to the start of the Cold War. What is a little irksome is the structure which relies on coincidences which draw the main actors to just the right place at the right time. It’s a device he used to great effect in Fall Of Giants but it’s wearing a tiny bit thin in this second episode. In his much under rated movie Zelig Woody Allen has his character show up in pretty much every major news event of the 20th century to great comic effect. The frequency with which his protagonists pop up at just the right place and time to witness firsthand the salient event of WWII does stretch credibility just a little here and there. Having said that, it’s still a terrific read.
    I was a little troubled by a couple of historic inaccuracies which I noticed….for example one plot line features the Nazi T4 euthanasia program which actually happened in a Berlin suburb but Follett sets in a remote small town well outside Berlin. Follett dwells in gruesome detail on the mass rape carried out by the invading Red Army but almost completely ignores the entire Holocaust. Working through the events covered in this book it’s almost inevitable that the political bias of the author will show through from place to place. It’s pretty clear that he has a soft spot for the working class heroes of the British Labor movement with a healthy contempt for aristocracy of any kind. These books are also fairly racy, certainly not for the under 16 set. If you enjoyed Fall of Giants you will likely love this book. If you haven’t read FOG yet, start there and you will likely follow straight on to this second book with your eye on the release date of the third in the series.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Jenna Miscavige Hill
    • Narrated By Sandy Rustin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (645)
    Performance
    (587)
    Story
    (586)

    Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was raised as a Scientologist but left the controversial religion in 2005. In Beyond Belief, she shares her true story of life inside the upper ranks of the sect, details her experiences as a member Sea Org - the church's highest ministry - speaks of her "disconnection" from family outside of the organization, and tells the story of her ultimate escape.

    Tim says: "The Despicable Truth Behind Scientology"
    "The Despicable Truth Behind Scientology"
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    We are all familiar with Scientology in general terms as a weird, sinister quasi religion/cult. However the depressing and shocking detail offered by this book brings home the reality of the horror to a new level. What makes the story even stranger is that the author is the niece of the current leader of the "church" and a distant relative of the Sci Fi scam artist L Ron Hubbard who created this fake “religion.”

    Her story starts at a very young age with her account of life in the concentration camp like setting of a Church communal compound in California. I have read stories of the lives or orphans raised by Priests in Ireland and if you thought that kind of abuse was a thing of the past this story will set you straight. The author becomes a member of the Sea Org the quasi priesthood of the organization. Even though she is effectively a member of the Scientology elite inner sanctum the persecution, abuse and maltreatment continues well into her adult years....indeed until she flees the "Church."

    Her accounts are quite as disturbing as anything you may have read about the excesses of communism, fascism or Cambodia under Pol Pot. The methods of though control and exploitation are straight out of the 1984 playbook. The fact that this kind of abuse and insanity is alive and well and happening right now in a town about an hour from where I live is doubly horrifying.

    The author is obviously inexperienced and stylistically it’s a little clumsy somewhat in the vein of Anne Frank’s diary, but that doesn't get in the way of the reality she describes. This is disturbing, sad and compelling reading about a corrupt, abusive organization which currently enjoys tax exemption as a religion from the IRS.

    100 of 104 people found this review helpful
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Morton Sellers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (991)
    Performance
    (885)
    Story
    (873)

    A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

    Chris Reich says: "Scared the Hell Out of Me"
    "Evil Genius....Scientology Unveiled"
    Overall
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    Story

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I worked on the same block as the London Headquarters of the Church of Scientology. Pretty much every day, often both too and from the subway station I was approached by cute young things seeking to inveigle me into taking a 'personality test' the first step into the religion. At the time I found this annoying but not actually sinister. Subsequently a couple of friends of mine did get involved peripherally with the organization and they told be horrifying, fascinating tales of how they were ruthlessly pursued for years after only a glancing encounter with the “Church.” Ever since then I have had something of a fascination with this mysterious and dangerous cult.

    This book gives a surprisingly even handed account of the life and times of the churches founder L Ron Hubbard, taking us from the it's foundation in the early fifties all the way to the couch-leaping massage-seeking antics of the Churches modern glitterati Tom Cruise and John Travolta. The story is a heady mixture or creepy cult and celebrity machine. It reveals a religion founded on fake science, fake psychology, the manipulation of the young and naive and that most addictive of all drugs… fame. The “Church” as painted in this well written and engaging book has overtones of Hitler’s Germany combined with Apple under Steve Jobs.

    It’s well sourced and thoroughly littered with footnotes from the “Church” which fiercely deny each and every well researched accusation and story. There are tales of hubris, violence, abuse which beggar belief. It exposed the weird practices and frankly ludicrous secrets of the organization, prompting the reader to ask over and again…”how could they get away with that?” Perhaps the strangest story is the account of how the Church took on the IRS and beat them at their own game.

    If you have ever pondered the weirdness which is Scientology this book will fill you in on the history and hagiography of what has to be the strangest and most successful invented religion since Mormonism. It’s a compelling, strange ride which will leave you shaking your head and maybe reaching for your rosary.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Michelle Moran
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (202)

    Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador Thomas Jefferson to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie's museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, and word even arrives that the royals themselves are coming to see their likenesses....

    Tim says: "Tales from a turbulent time"
    "Tales from a turbulent time"
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    As a high schooler in the UK we covered the French Revolution in some depth, round about the same time I had roles in various productions centered around those events so I used to think that even all these years later I had a reasonably good handle on that period. As it turns out I really didn’t. The revolution took place over a longer period than I remember and was both more strange and bloody than I ever imagined. This story retells the stunning events of those times through the eyes of Madame Tussaud. Our heroine gives modeling lessons to some of the royal family whist entertaining many of the instigators of the revolution in the rooms above their exhibit. It’s a terrifically successful device, allowing the reader access to both sides of the events through the same perspective. The wax works as the CNN of their day, with the displays changing almost day by day to mirror the rapidly changing events.
    The author maintains historic accuracy whilst weaving a dramatic narrative through the protagonists; it feels authentic without being dry or dull. If I have any criticism; the story does wander a little into romantic fiction in a few spots, they are slight transgressions and she rapidly snaps back. If you have ever wondered about that turbulent time or wandered through the modern wax works inspired by the genius of Tussaud you will find this tale gripping. It’s also fascinating for the history enthusiast as it brings great detail and color to the events. For example; in modern terms the French Royal family and their many thousands of hangers on cost the French economy 166Bn a year….which is a lot when many of your populace are starving in the streets. It was also fascinating to see how the extremists of the time foreshadowed the excesses in thought and deed we have seen many times since, the same kind of madness which gripped Fascist Germany, Stains Russia and Pol Pots Cambodia.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Long Earth: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter
    • Narrated By Michael Fenton-Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (553)
    Performance
    (487)
    Story
    (490)

    The Western Front, 1916. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone? Madison, Wisconsin, 2015. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive - some say mad, others allege dangerous - scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson find a curious gadget.

    colleen says: "A Different Pratchett"
    "A scratching Post for Schrödinger's cat"
    Overall
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    Story

    I love Terry Pratchett, I have read everything by him I could find….I would read his grocery list or the label in the back of his underwear. So when I discovered that this wasn’t a Disc World novel was momentarily disappointed….but that didn’t last. This is a terrific read, it’s closer to straight science fiction than the Disc World books…it feels a little like Strata (one of my favorite Pratchett books which is only tangentially Disc World based). Once it gets going (which it does pretty quickly it’s a brilliant ‘what if’ book which imagines a world where almost anyone can step between alternate universes each of which contains a variant on the earth we currently inhabit.
    I found the plot a little untidy in places. It develops then somewhat abandons multiple sub themes all of which I enjoyed and most of which would have deserved their own book. Nevertheless I found myself enjoying the book and its impeccable reading like you might enjoy a fine wine or a sunset.
    The story weaves quantum physics and universal branching theory with Cyberpunk, The Lost Gate by Scott Card and even a smattering of Little House on the Prairie. Although frequently amusing, its tongue is nowhere near buried as deep in cheek as with the Disc World books, but the story entertains mightily none the less. If you are already a Pratchett fan you can buy this book in the confident knowledge that whilst lacking Vimes or Vetenari you will enjoy a diverting diversion from the typical Pratchett cannon. If you have kids or young adults you might also want to point them in the direction of this book. The style is engaging, fun and easy to follow, whist still posing some intriguing scientific questions.

    16 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • The Wind Through the Keyhole: The Dark Tower

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1998)
    Performance
    (1823)
    Story
    (1809)

    In The Wind Through the Keyhole, Stephen King has returned to the rich landscape of Mid-World. This story within a story within a story finds Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, in his early days during the guilt-ridden year following his mother’s death. Sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a "skin-man", Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, a brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter.

    Cassandra says: "An exceptional story, but I miss George Guidall."
    "The King Brothers Grimm"
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    Performance
    Story

    King is the consummate story teller. Many of his stories inhabit a magically realistic world where reality and magic over lap. This story is a little different in that it’s essentially a grownup fairy story pretty much from beginning to end. The tale is inserted into the gap between book 4 and 5 in the Dark Tower saga but can easily stand alone. You really don’t have to ‘follow the path of the beam’ to enjoy this tale. Many of the reviews are critical of the reading, and it’s true King does have a rather thin nasal Maine accent. It would be great if Audible would offer the book voiced by (for example) George Guidall with King as an interesting alternative. Having said that, it’s a marvelous tale which feels closer in style to Neil Gamin than King and it’s so compelling you really get used to the narration after a while. It draws the listener in from the very beginning and never disappoints. At a little over ten hours in King terms it’s a quick light listen I can highly recommend it.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9792)
    Performance
    (6761)
    Story
    (6769)

    A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters.

    Tom says: "Excellent Story, Distracting Sound Engineering"
    "The Wizard Sam Spade"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The premise that there is a real Wizard working as a private eye in Chicago is brilliant. The execution of the story and the performance by James Marsters is similarly near perfect. There is a gritty film Noir feel to the story which makes it at once credible and compelling. It has amusing moments and enough adult content for this not to be a great read for the Harry Potter crowd. The action (of which there is a great deal) feels very cinematic; you can imagine Riddley Scott doing a great job with the mayhem and monsters. I came to this series from the Iron Druid Chronicles which I have seen described as “Dresden Light.” That’s a pretty fair assessment, the villains are darker, sexier more violent and less funny in Dresden; it’s a different kind of story. If Iron Druid is ‘Twilight’ Dresden is ‘True Blood’. That’s probably a bit unfair to the ‘Iron Druid’ as ‘Twilight’ is horrible and ‘Druid’ is terrific...but you get my point. If I have any criticism of Dresden (and it’s slight) it’s that the hero almost never has a good time. There seems to be a rule in fantasy writing that along with fabulous magical ability comes a generally horrible life …to quote the Genie in Aladdin “Phenomenal cosmic powers! Itty bitty living space.” Beyond that tiny reservation, this is a terrific story and performance which I can highly recommend.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Hammered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6014)
    Performance
    (5446)
    Story
    (5446)

    Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully - he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona....

    Hallie says: "Love this series!"
    "Too many Gods"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The third book in this series was a bit of a disappointment. The performance is just as good as the other episodes but the story weaker in a crucial way. The reason the first two books work as well as they do is the contrast between the druid magic and the modern age. It’s funny and clever and quite compelling. However most of this book is set in mythical realms of Asgard where our hero and his Demi-God buddies do battle with an obnoxious bunch of Norse monsters and their sidekicks. The problem is that in a world where everything is completely imaginary and there is no context and apparently no meaningful rules it all ends up a bit like a dungeons and dragons tournament in somebody’s parents’ basement. You can almost hear the dice rolling and cries of “my ice giants have greater killing power over magical cats than your spooky ravens…even though they may be the eyes of Odin.” My hope is that the forth book in the saga will get back to 'earth based' action.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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