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PEARLAND, TX, United States | Member Since 2012

  • 26 reviews
  • 66 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 37 purchased in 2015

  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Robin Sloan
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone - and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything....

    L. Calder says: "Nerdy, action filled romp through cyber space"
    "Fun, thought-provoking, mysterious.... and FUN !"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore to be better than the print version?

    This is a book to be HEARD. Very much at issue in this novel is the relationship between content and method of delivery. The narrator uses his voice to great advantage, just the right nuances -- sometimes he appears to be going over the top, but then you realize that the effect is spot on.

    What other book might you compare Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore to and why?

    In an odd way, MP24HB reminds me of The Night Circus -- there is the same sense of alternate reality layered onto "real" reality. Mr Penumbr'a is shorter and less serious, the setting is very different, and the "magic" here is in the technology.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Oh, yes. In fact, I almost did.

    Any additional comments?

    This would make a good book club selection -- a nice length, easy to follow, light-hearted, but offering some interesting discussion points. In the thousands of years of human history, print hasn't been around all that long. Is it really a tragedy that many are turning to digital and audio sources for "reading" material? Is it ultimately an either/or situation? What would you do for immortality? What's a friend? A mentor? For that matter, what is a book?

    Not perfect -- the epilogue is superfluous -- but a very nice debut.

    51 of 53 people found this review helpful
  • The Plagiarist: A Novella

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 29 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Alexander J. Masters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Adam Griffey is living two lives. By day, he teaches literature. At night, he steals it. Adam is a plagiarist, an expert reader with an eye for great works. He prowls simulated worlds perusing virtual texts, looking for the next big thing. And when he finds it, he memorizes it page by page, line by line, word for word. And then he brings it back to his world, the real world, and he sells it. But what happens when these virtual worlds begin to seem more real than his own? What happens when the people within them mean more to him than flesh and blood?

    Katherine says: "PKD could have written this story"
    "A Cautionary Tale"

    Predictble but done reasonably well. Not something I will go back to, but okay for a gloomy afternoon when I didn't feel like stirring. Narrator is a bit pompous.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Macgyver on Mars"
    "Best combination of narrator and text EVER!"

    I can't imagine anything more suited to be an audiobook, and R.C. Bray does an amazing job of narration. Much of the book consists of excerpts from the astronaut's audio log There is no pretense of carefully constructed prose; rather it reflects someone who is keeping up morale by talking to himself with quirky gallows humor.

    By now, everybody knows the story: stranded on Mars, no communication, figure out how to survive. Two things drive the book. First is the fun of watching the protagonist Mark Whatney solve one puzzle after another, with varying degrees of success.

    Second is Wahtney's ironic humor in the face of certain death, narrow escape from death, hope of avoiding death, and a general high probability of death.

    Both are reflected in my favorite quote from the book:"As usual I’m working with stuff that was deliberately designed not to burn, but no amount of careful design by NASA can get around a determined arsonist with a tank of pure oxygen."

    The Martian has been compared to various books and movies, notably Robinson Crusoe, Castaway, Apollo 13, Gravity, and of course the the cult classic Robinson Crusoe on Mars. The book that it most reminded me of is Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff. Those of us who are of a certain age will remember how funny the stories of real-life astronauts' pranks and reactions to ridiculous scenarios were.

    Warning: lots of swearing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Station Eleven

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Emily St. John Mandel
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

    Stacy says: "gah!"
    "Interesting take on the post-apocalyptic theme"

    Interesting premise, and it's nice to read a novel with characters I mostly like for a change. Unfortunately, there are too many "main" characters, all with intersecting but essentially separate plot lines, so that they are given more of a short-story characterization than a fully formed novel persona.

    One of the things that kept me listening was the use of Shakespeare's plays as a backdrop. As an old Trekkie from the 60s, I was amused by the Star Trek references. The Station Eleven story was a teaser; by the end, I was finding it a bit tedious.

    One gripe: the "prophet" character was a cardboard cutout, strictly cliche. His motivation was completely unconvincing -- "he's just crazy" is insufficient. I find it sad that the only depiction of religion of any kind in the entire novel is so warped. At least one community in the midwest would undoubtedly have spotted this guy as a heretic and refused to put up with him; and I would expect a variety of religions to have survived. The author would have done better to show a more realistic picture of religion or to leave it out altogether. There could have been any number of other ways to set up similar situations.

    The narration by Kirstin Potter was excellent. I appreciate that she didn't over-dramatize it. There was enough inflection to distinguish characters when necessary, but I like that she gave a straightforward reading without melodrama.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Timothy A. Pychyl
    • Narrated By Timothy A. Pychyl

    The new audio edition of the self-published hit, offering powerful strategies to end procrastination!

    Why do we sabotage our own best intentions? How can we eliminate procrastination from our lives for good? Based on current psychological research and supplemented with clear strategies for change, this concise guide will help listeners finally break free from self-destructive ideas and habits, and move into freedom and accomplishment.

    Sara says: "A Procrastinator at Work Right Before Your Eyes"
    "now, if I can just put it into practice....."

    Intended to give a short introduction to a complex subject, along with immediately applicable first steps to changing behavior, the book hits its mark. Pychel steps aside from scholarly writing in the interest of getting to the points of interest to the self-identified procrastinator. He does not offer a quick fix but rather suggests specific ways to change life-long habits. He is encouraging without promising overnight miracles.

    The author/narrator has a pleasant voice; this being his own work, he knows where to emphasize and where to pause.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Seth Grahame-Smith, Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren

    "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem.

    Katelyn says: "One word - Awesome!"
    "One trick pony"

    I'm a life-long Janite, with a strong appreciation for the absurd, and I really expected to be amused. Alas, not.The joke is a good one and could have made a really funny short story, but there's not enough here to make a good book.

    The narration is okay, except when an emerging zombie speaks, at which point it becomes very annoying.

    Two stars for being clever, but I can't recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Janice says: "Do you believe in miracles??"
    "Exciting true story of courage and determination"
    Would you listen to The Boys in the Boat again? Why?

    Absolutely! This is not a read-to-find-out-what-happens book -- it's charm is in the telling. The people are fascinating, better than fictional characters, the technical detail is interesting, and the narrator is perfect.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    George Pocock, the shell builder. Pocock was an enigmatic artist, the character in the book I would most like to have known.

    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    Herman's voice is smooth and even. His timing is spot-on, and his intonation is just lively enough to avoid monotony, without overpowering the content.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, though it's a little too long for that.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War

    • ABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, and others

    World War Z: The Complete Edition is a new recording of Max Brooks’ best-selling novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, featuring 21 additional Hollywood A-list actors and sci-fi fan favorites performing stories not included in the original edition. New narrators include Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, Spiderman star Alfred Molina, The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, rapper Common, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg, and members of the casts of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and more!

    Kim Venatries says: "A Good Story with an All Star Cast but ABRIDGED"
    "Best mixed cast audiobook I've ever heard"
    Where does World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition) rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    High. Really high. 4 12 stars. Really really close to a 5.

    What other book might you compare World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition) to and why?

    This is what Harry Turtledove was trying to do in Worldwar: In the Balance (which I tried to listen to but got bored with and ditched) -- global warfare, strange alliances, it takes an alien threat to unite humanity. The interview format, the multiplicity of voices, makes Z a better book, in my opinion.

    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Oh, my, how can I choose? The diver. The guy with the dog. The astronaut. The most poignant -- the South African. Major kudos to Max Brooks for his job as the interviewser.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Forget good vs. evil -- it's life vs. death!

    Any additional comments?

    I'm not a zombie fan. I'm not a military sci-fi fan. I doubt if I'd like reading this book. BUT: this is a completely mesmerizing "listen". I came really close to doing it in a single day. I've read a lot of complaints that this is "abridged". Under normal circumstances, I won't even look at anything that's not unabridged, but I didn't feel like there were any continuity problems, and the length is exactly right.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stuck with a Stiff: The Stuck with a Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By D. D. Scott, David Slegg
    • Narrated By Karyn O'Bryant, Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Stuck with a... Series is Castle-gone-country with the mom squad, Betty Boop, and My Cousin Vinny in the barnyard. But this ain't no ordinary barnyard. There's a lot more than a crazy rooster missing from the chicken coop, a bad ass cow causing a bunch of trouble, and a dog looking like a creature out of a storybook. There's a stiff too. A stiff - as in a dead guy - in a snow drift near the chicken coop. Things aren't lookin' too good for Nicky Blane, who owns the farm....

    Susan says: "Had to check to see if it was abridged"
    "Had to check to see if it was abridged"
    Would you try another book from D. D. Scott and David Slegg and/or Karyn O'Bryant and Jeffrey Kafer ?

    maybe, if it was really cheap

    What could D. D. Scott and David Slegg have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    flesh it out -- it has a clever premise, but the jumps are too sudden. I kept thinking it was a badly abridged version. The extended family premise was pretty much wasted: they set up these potentially interesting relationships then did nothing with them.

    What didn’t you like about Karyn O'Bryant and Jeffrey Kafer ’s performance?

    Dual-narration either works or it doesn't. This doesn't. The voices didn't complement each other. Plus, the Italian accents were excruciatingly awful -- sounded like a poor rendition of Romany gypsies. My Sicilian relatives would run screaming from the room.

    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Stuck with a Stiff?

    I wouldn't have cut, I'd have added!

    Any additional comments?

    Okay, it wasn't totally awful, just nowhere near as good as it could have been. The ending obviously sets up a sequel -- I wouldn't mind seeing the authors try again.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Don't waste your time"
    What would have made Gone Girl better?

    At least one character I didn't thoroughly dislike.

    What could Gillian Flynn have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Write something else entirely.

    Which character – as performed by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne – was your favorite?

    I guess Margo wasn't too bad.

    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Gone Girl?

    The diary thing just doesn't work. It is a gimmick, clever but ultimately annoying.

    Any additional comments?

    Everyone is twisted. Even when they are being self-promoting, the two main characters come off as people I would not want to be around. The parents are worse.

    I found this book to be manipulative and depressing.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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