STORY - This is definitely one of the better books in this series of short stories. The main characters from the other books have all joined together in this one, and "The B Team" from Book 1 finally is acknowledged as a topnotch A team. There is some good sci-fi action -- attack upon space stations, humans escaping into shuttles, good stuff. If Scalzi writes other books in this series, I will consider hearing them. I haven't completely enjoyed this series as a whole, as some of the books have been quite boring, but the saga has gained speed and I'm interested in how the human race will survive this division amongst themselves. Scalzi's irritating writing style of identifying the speakers every time they open their mouths is not quite as bothersome in this book, though it used to drive me INSANE!
PERFORMANCE - Okay. Doesn't add or subtract from the story.
OVERALL- Good book. The problem is that it doesn't really stand alone so you kinda need to hear the other 12 short stories that come before this one and -- well, they haven't been as good as this one.
STORY (gay/lesbian romance) -- I'm not gay/lesbian, but I was curious. I stumbled on Clear Water in a sale and decided to check it out. I got a little bit too much information, but this cat isn't curious anymore so all is well. I didn't find this book in the gay/lesbian section since I don't shop there, but I will try to review this book for those who do.
Whiskey is 30-something, bisexual and a marine biologist. Patrick is 20-something, gay, has ADHD and teaches yoga. They meet when Whiskey saves Patrick from nearly drowning. Most of the story takes place on a marine research vessel near Sacramento where Whiskey lives and does research on water pollution and marine anomalies.
The characters were likeable, and the romance is sweet. Patrick is pretty screwed up emotionally, but Whiskey is supportive and wants to take care of him. The marine biology background of the story is pretty light, and I would have liked the book much better if there had been more depth in that area. All in all, the book held my interest but, if it hadn't been for "satisfying my curiosity," I would have found it pretty boring.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator had a nice voice and read well, but often he would get lost in a sentence and didn't seem to know what words to accent or where to pause for emphasis. Also he didn't differentiate between characters.
OVERALL - Recommended primarily for gay male listeners. There are several sexual situations but they only last a couple minutes each. Lots of cursing.
STORY (European classic) - I need my head examined. I'm not particularly "deep," so why did I buy Tolstoy???? I think I was drawn in by a couple of reviewers who said this book really made them put their life into perspective and think about how they should spend the time they have left on earth. Then there's the fact that I'll try anything once. It's only 2 1/2 hours, how bad could it be, right?
PRETTY BAD, unless you were the kid that loved to dissect literature in English class. If you're looking for anything entertaining, you won't find it here. Ivan, the main character, lives a boring life and then he dies. As he's dying, he realizes that his main goal had been to achieve a life of success and to surround himself with members of high society, but he also realizes the fallacy of such a life was that he had never been truly happy. Yeah, that's something we should all probably keep in mind, but I'd suggest you take the money and time you'd spend on this book, buy a "Life is short so be happy" refrigerator magnet and do something you enjoy for 2 1/2 hours.
PERFORMANCE - He did an okay job. He sounded middle-aged and had a British accent.
OVERALL - No bad language or sex. (Maybe Ivan would have been happier if he'd had some.) Recommended only for deep thinkers and lovers of classic literature.
STORY (sci-fi) - As the summary suggests, Mark Watney has been abandoned by his crew and left on the surface of Mars. Unbeknownst to them, he is only injured and very much still alive. Mark, who had been the mission's botanist, must now try to survive alone on Mars till help arrives...if it does. What follows is a fast-paced, fascinating tale of survival. He must deal with finding shelter, food, water and breathable air, among other things. He must try to establish communications with NASA and survive sand storms, etc.
Mark is one of my favorite characters EVER. He's brave and smart, even kinda geeky. He works tirelessly and doesn't give up on his situation, and then there's his sense of humor! He's always making fun of his colleagues, himself or his situation, and he's not afraid of saying exactly how he feels. The opening line of the book, when he discovers he's been left behind alone on Mars, is: "I am so f**ked!" I enjoyed his unabashed irreverence but the language flows freely in this book, so it may not be for everyone.
The story is never dull. You will hear how he modifies everything from its original purpose to one fit for survival. (He's quite an inventor). You will hear the various plans that NASA scientists formulate for his rescue and you will hear why they fall by the wayside or fail. Finally (and without giving too much away) you will hear how Mark attempts a treacherous excursion across the planet to attempt a rendezvous with those on a mission to save his life. Great suspense!
PERFORMANCE - He was so perfect for this job! His delivery of Mark's sarcasm and humor was spot on. He also did a great job with various foreign accents possessed by NASA employees and fellow astronauts.
OVERALL - No sex (duh, he's alone on Mars), and no violence. Quite a bit of F-bombs, as mentioned above. I would recommend this book for everyone except children, for obvious reasons. I don't give five stars out freely, but this book is special.
STORY (creepy) - This is a very dark story about an alternate world on the other side of a door in Coraline's home. When young Coraline (probably age 10ish) discovers the door and passes through, she meets twisted versions of her parents and neighbors, talking rats, a talking cat and other strange creatures. She becomes involved in a dangerous life-and-death game of strategy against her "Other Mother" and, in particular, one of her detachable hands. Coraline is smart and resourceful for a young girl her age and manages to come up with a pretty clever way to win the game, save the day and eliminate the threat of the villainous hand!
I thought the story was unique and somewhat interesting, but I can't help wonder what Gaimon's target audience actually was meant to be. As an adult listener, I thought it was fairly juvenile but, on the other hand, I think it would be too dark or intense for many children.
PERFORMANCE - Gaimon himself reads this work, and he does a good job. Not so sure that the weird songs added anything, but they were kind of creepy.
OVERALL - As stated above, I question what age group Gaimon wrote this book for, but maybe girls around 10-12 years old would find it enjoyable, perhaps even as a Halloween listen. No adult situations or language, but quite a bit of creepy characters and events, the type that can cause bad dreams...
STORY (mystery) - This books starts off quickly. A young boy has been kidnapped, drugged and put in a suitcase which has been stuffed in a locker in a train station. Nina, the main character, tries to find who he is so that he can be returned safely home. The boy's mother is desperately trying to find who's taken him and why. The story rocks along as Nina and the mother (working separately) travel around the Copenhagen area following clues, until the final scenes where everything finally all comes together.
Some reviewers have commented that Nina is stupid, but I don't feel that common sense is thrown out the window in this story any more than most fiction. While this wasn't the most exciting mystery I've ever read or listened to, I was never bored and was entertained throughout.
PERFORMANCE - Katherine Kellgren is my favorite female narrator. Her performances are usually so awesome that I save my five-star ratings almost exclusively for her. This time, however, she just gets a four. I don't have any complaints about her performance. It just wasn't one of her more stellar ones.
OVERALL - This is Book 1 of the series, but it stands alone. There's no sex, but there's violence and some foul language. Recommended for mature adults.
STORY (fiction) - First let me vent about Audible's rating system. This book is suggested for kids age 8-10. What are they thinking? The main characters are in high school and beyond. There's the vocabulary, with words like churlish, ablution, frenetic and taciturn coming to my mind. Then there's the F-word thrown in a couple times for emphasis. And of course, anyone who's seen the movie trailer might guess the subject matter isn't for children. So I'll get off that soapbox for a while, until Audible screws up the recommendation for another book!
Mia, the main character, is a high school senior with a cute rock star boyfriend named Adam. She plays the cello and hopes to attend Julliard in the fall. Until the accident. Her parents and younger brother are killed and Mia is unconscious with multiple life-threatening injuries. She has an out-of-body experience beginning at the accident scene. She describes the horrific crash as if it's happening in slow motion, she describes the bodies of her family as she finds them, and she describes her own body laying motionless on the ground. As she's moved to the helicopter and finally the hospital, she continues to describe her treatments and the reactions of her loved ones as they arrive.
The book basically alternates between Mia's out-of-body viewpoint and flashbacks of her life, kind of like her life is flashing before her eyes. She realizes that the choice between life and death is in her hands. It's her choice, just like the title of the book, "If I Stay." I won't tell you how the book ends, but be sure to have some Kleenex handy.
PERFORMANCE - Good job. Sometimes I could "feel" the smile in her voice, and her emotional performance during the more serious scenes was convincing as well.
OVERALL - For mature teenagers and adults only, due primarily to the subject matter. There's no sex, but there is an unusual scene where Mia and Adam play each other like instruments. The descriptions at the accident scene are a bit graphic (complete with brain matter on the road), but they don't last long. Some of the flashbacks were a little slow, but I enjoyed the book and plan to see the movie.
STORY (contemporary romance) - As you might guess by the cover art, much of this story takes place in and around wine country, someplace in New York. Faith (the main character) has a large family, and each member has his own quirky personality or situation that keeps the story interesting. The summary suggests that Faith is left at the altar, but it doesn't say why and I won't either. Let me just say it's another interesting component to this cute romance. There's lots of clever dialogue between characters which will make you giggle, and then there's a hilarious scene involving a restroom window which will make you laugh out loud.
I loved the romance in the story. Levi is dreamy and sexy, but the author never really "goes there" with long, explicit descriptions of sexual acts. While there are some pretty hot scenes, they're tasteful and romantic as opposed to graphic. (I like both kinds equally well).
PERFORMANCE - Amy Rubinate reads one of my favorite series, The Selection. This is not a difficult performance, but I love her sultry voice and she does a good job.
OVERALL (Actual rating 4.5) - This book has sexual situations and lots of talk about Faith's "rack" but otherwise is fairly tame compared to most romance novels. There's some mild curse words (mainly $hit) but not a lot. If you like clever contemporary romance, I'd definitely check this one out.
STORY (true crime) - True crime is not my favorite genre, but Homicidal is a free download so I decided to try it. It's sort of like the crime documentaries my husband watches on TV which, again, isn't my favorite genre. It's short (less than 4 hours) and talks a lot about various crimes committed in Los Angeles in the seventies and eighties. The main thrust of the book is the story of "The Grim Sleeper," which is very interesting. I don't have the numbers memorized, but he's accused of killing many women over a period of several decades. He supposedly took a multiple-year "break" from murdering women, thus his nickname.
Like most crime documentaries, the book lays out the facts, the problems with the investigation and the evidence, etc. The book ends with a comment that The Grim Sleeper will have to answer to God for his crimes, but it says nothing about his trial or his sentence. Well, since this inquiring mind wants to know, I immediately Googled him after the book finished. Apparently, there's been a movie made about him, and he has been sitting in jail while continuing to draw a retirement pension. His attorneys have been using delay tactics to stall the trial and according to my research, he's still awaiting trial as of today, 9-5-2014.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator's job is to read the facts documentary style, and he does a good job.
OVERALL - No sex or cursing, but there's reference to prostitutes and lots of murders. While the killings are obviously violent, the descriptions in this book aren't detailed or gruesome, so those with weak stomachs needn't fear. It's pretty interesting, it's short, and it's free. I say go for it, but it's definitely not for every listener and it's definitely not a must-hear.
STORY (fiction) - As the summary suggests, this book is about how a small band of people in rural Florida survive a nuclear attack by the Russians. It is set sometime in the sixties, I suppose. In the beginning you will be introduced to the main characters and learn about international tension. Then there's an event that slowly escalates into a nuclear attack by the Russians. You will be on the edge of your seat as the story progresses into war. It's creepy to be "in the heads" of the characters as they watch bombs hit nearby Tampa and Orlando and as they realize they've just been pushed back 100 years -- no electricity, communication, etc. The major part of the story is after the bombings as the people band together to survive. They must find food and water, combat radiation sickness and disease, find a way to stop highwaymen from looting, etc. etc.
In my opinion, this story is not depressing, though I will admit it sat in my library for a while before I felt like I was in the mood to hear it. After the bombings, the story changes from exciting to one of human courage and survival. You will love the characters and you will root for them as they face each new challenge. They never dwell on the sadness of their situation. They just think positively, work together and make smart decisions as they move forward.
PERFORMANCE - The narrator does a good job, including some good southern accents and the voice of a radio commentator.
OVERALL - I'd recommend for any adult who's interested in the subject matter. The book is well-written and performed. There's no sex or bad language. It will make you count your blessings.
STORY (classic sci-fi) - Way Station is a thoroughly enjoyable book. It was written in the sixties, but it's still forward-thinking even today in 2014. I suppose that's why it's won numerous awards and has become a sci-fi classic. The basic story is that for over 100 years a human, Enoch, has operated a way station on earth for aliens from a multitude of other planets to stop. He gives them a place to stay and sometimes entertains them. Some visit repeatedly and have become dear friends. Throughout the story you will "meet" various aliens, each with his own special appearance and characteristics. Eventually, Enoch unintentionally becomes involved in an incident of intergalactic importance. This incident threatens his life, his way station and the future of the human race.
While the story is very good, it's a little slow at times. The intergalactic incident is unique and interesting, but there's not a lot of action and it doesn't rise to the standards of today's thrillers. (Not necessarily a bad thing).
PERFORMANCE - Good job, but nothing special.
OVERALL - There is no sex or inappropriate language and only some mild violence. I'd recommend this book for mature male or female listeners, but younger listeners might find it boring.
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