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Cather

Cumberland, VA, United States | Member Since 2005

268
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 76 reviews
  • 117 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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10

  • High Wizardry: Young Wizard Series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Diane Duane
    • Narrated By Christina Moore
    Overall
    (255)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (80)

    As young wizards, Nita and her friend, Kit, share magic spells and spectacular adventures. Twice, they have successfully thwarted a dark power called the Lone One. Each victory has protected the universe against its paralyzing force, for a while. But now Darine, Nita's 10-year-old sister, has found her wizard's manual. With the help of a laptop computer, Darine has not only absorbed the book's wisdom, she has become a powerful wizard herself.

    Walter says: "Great Book, Unique Narrator"
    "And the series marches on...."
    Overall

    Okay, if you've read the first two books, you're going to read this. And you're going to be surprised.

    I always felt that the earlier books had a Heinlein flavor... it really comes through in this book, which adds a heavy sci-fi element to the mix.

    I am still amazed at how intelligent these books are, and how much thought went into the rules of the world.

    Of course, it has the compelling characters that brought us this far, and I really love what she did with Darine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Speaker for the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By David Birney, Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7803)
    Performance
    (4301)
    Story
    (4355)

    In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: the Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War. Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered by Portuguese colonists on the planet Lusitania. But again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening...again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery...and the truth.

    Joe says: "The Enderverse"
    "BLOWN. AWAY."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I kind of hate Orson Scott Card personally-- at least his public persona. His politics are odious. I mention this just to put context to the following sentence:

    This book is one of the finest pieces of science fiction-- or any fiction-- I have ever read.

    Top Ten. As much as I enjoyed Ender's Game; the book was pretty much setup for this, and-- compared to this-- fluffy and inconsequential. My favourite parts of Ender's Game were tangled up in the side story with Ender's Siblings, which is what set the stage for Speaker.

    Read Ender's Game, then read this. You won't regret it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Dan Savage
    • Narrated By Dan Savage
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Dan Savage eviscerates the right-wing conservatives as he commits each of the Seven Deadly Sins himself (or tries to) and finds those everyday Americans who take particular delight in their sinful pursuits. Combine a unique history of the Seven Deadly Sins, a new interpretation of the biblical stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, and enough Bill Bennett, Robert Bork, Pat Buchanan, Dr. Laura, and Bill O'Reilly bashing to more than make up for their incessant carping, and you've got the most provocative book of the fall.

    Cather says: "Not my favourite Savage, but still a must read."
    "Not my favourite Savage, but still a must read."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay, let's start of by admitting that I'm an absolute Savage Fan. The thought process that went into buying this book was "Oh, there's a new book by Dan Savage available? I'd better pre-order it!!!"

    And while the notion of exploring the seven deadly sins might seem a little... gratuitous... and might seem to serve only to promote Mr. Savage as a shameless hedonist trying to tear down the walls of decency.... okay, let's not kid ourselves. That's what it is, and that's what he is.

    But... the entire point of the book is that our notions of "sin" and "decency" need to be re-evaluated, and there's nothing wrong with a little shameless hedonism. Not only that, but he doesn't go in the directions you'd expect.

    For example, for Pride he talks about the Pride Parades... and whether he thinks they're relevant anymore. This is actually one of the two points I disagree with him on-- I think their meaning has changed and they are totally relevant.

    I also did not think that "firing a gun" served well as Wrath-- it was more of a platform for him to attack the second amendment. And I'll freely admit I'm one of those people who gets bitchy when you attack the second amendment, and that it's my main complaint with Mr. Savage. This a review, not a rebuttal, so I'll just leave it at "if you're like me on the second amendment, you will have objections." Well, and I'll add that his perspective is still worth reading.... I certainly don't think he's wrong about every point he makes, I just think he doesn't accurately represent the views he's opposing (which is as much the fault of the NRA as his).

    As always, the author is inappropriate, but as I believe he has said himself-- just inappropriate enough to get the job done. The books is, at different points, thought provoking, insightful, informative, outrageous... and real.

    I'm very glad he read it himself-- it always irritates me when books by talented speakers are read by others.

    That being said, there were some production issues; at several points he stops and starts a sentence over-- perfectly understandable, but should have been edited out.

    If you haven't read a Dan Savage book, or listened to his podcast, or read his column, this is probably not the place to start.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Summer: America, 1927

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1116)
    Performance
    (1008)
    Story
    (992)

    One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

    Mark says: "Why 1927?"
    "Bill Bryson. 'Nufsed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the man who could make a trip to the post office interesting (and has), and could probably make a reading of the tax code entertaining.

    And this... isn't a trip to the post office, and it isn't the tax code. Aeronautics history. Corruption. Sex and violence. Baseball. Boxing. Prohibition and gangsters. Murder sprees. All delivered with context, wit, and oooooh so much style.

    I'm guessing from the fact that you're reading this review that you like audiobooks. That's all I need to know to know that you should STOP reading this review and buy the book. Then go for "A Short History of Nearly Everything" (the unabridged, even though he didn't read it) and "In a Sunburned Country." That should be enough to get you hooked.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stranger in a Strange Land

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2605)
    Performance
    (1178)
    Story
    (1193)

    Stranger in a Strange Land tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling born and educated on Mars, who arrives on Earth with superhuman powers and a total ignorance of the mores of man. Smith is destined to become a freak, a media commodity, a scam artist, a searcher, and finally, a messiah.

    Harris says: "A Parable for the Ages"
    "Not typical Heinlein or sci-fi. Still a must."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Let's get this out of the way-- I'm a Pagan, and a lot of Pagan culture and development was heavily influenced by this book, including but not limited to, the existence of an actual Church of All Worlds.

    That being said, Heinlein wasn't a Rand or a Hubbard. He wasn't trying to start a movement. Oh, sure, he wasn't unaware of the influence of his writing, but this was a book that was written to be sold-- and despite the label, an abridged version at that.

    (This the unabridged recording-- of the original, abridged, version of the novel; the unabridged version wasn't published for another 30 years, and most people who loved the novel as it was published, myself included, prefer the abridgment.)

    What Heinlein did was poke fun at the established morals-- the sacred cows. Monogamy, Monotheism, Money. His vehicle for this was Valentine Michael Smith-- a man in body, but raised by Martians until he was 25, with no knowledge of human culture. The other vehicle is Jubal Harshaw, lawyer, doctor, and hack writer. Between the two viewpoints of innocence and experience, we get an interesting view of this future-- which is, of course, just an updated version of the 1960's, which was "the present."

    It's not the typical Heinlein-- there's a lot of argument over whether it can even be considered science fiction. It's a valid argument-- let's face it, the story only uses the trappings of science fiction to get away with disguising the real world behind fake names. Sure, there are flying cars and spaceships-- but they only serve to set the story up. The same thing could have been accomplished with fantasy creatures instead of "Martians."

    Me, I don't think it was a typical Heinlein. And it's certainly not my favourite. When I tell people I like Heinlein, and they say they loved this book-- I tend to cringe. It's like being a Queen fan and someone saying "Oh, yeah, I loved that song they did for Wayne's World." Yes, okay, it's a great song, but it's not even the best on the freaking album AND IT WAS PROBABLY RECORDED BEFORE YOU WERE BO-- wups, forgot to take my medication.

    But yeah, it's like that.

    Don't get me wrong, it's an absolutely great book. And it's a must read, because for all my comments above about "written to be sold" and "argument about sci-fi", Heinlein is an excellent writer. If Paul McCartney suddenly started recording jingles for Burger King, yeah, it would be slumming, but it would probably change the world of commercial jingles forever and people would be downloading it.

    Heinlein couldn't help himself; in his commercialism, he brought up a whole lot of valid points-- points that had never quite been phrased that way, and that found people listening in the counter-culture movements of the 1960's. And the parts that are science fiction are handled marvellously, and work smoothly into the plot.

    This book leaves behind three things as a legacy-- the aformentioned Church of All Worlds, the waterbed (invented by the author in Double Star, expounded here, and this book was used as an example of prior art to prevent a patent on the concept), and the word "grok."

    One last note-- I read (or listen to) this book every couple of years, and have since I was about 14. It's NEVER the same book twice. So... yeah... check it out.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Monster Hunter Vendetta

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4521)
    Performance
    (4002)
    Story
    (4018)

    Accountant turned professional monster hunter, Owen Zastava Pitt, managed to stop the nefarious Old Ones' invasion plans last year, but as a result made an enemy out of one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Now an evil death cult known as the Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition wants to capture Owen in order to gain the favor of the great Old Ones.

    Jason says: "Exciting story, well told, with a great villain"
    "Take the ball from MHI and just keeps running."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay, I was really happy with Monster Hunter International.

    There is nothing that I said about that book that doesn't apply to this, with the exception of the stuff about how MHI was an excellent "First book". Actually, I could even expound on that, because one didn't realise how much of the stage for this book was being set.

    I expect that the author had this book in mind while he was writing the first; we learn more details about things that we thought were fully explained, or some things we just accepted as they were. It's handled expertly. A few of the threads from the first book are resolved, a few left open, more threads are introduced. Relationships develop and change.

    I was very relieved that the return of Grant Jeffries did not re-open the romantic competition-- that's a settled thing, nobody's gonna mess with that.

    Again, the reader is spectacular. Again, exposition is handled deftly, and with an excellent plot device. Again, there is a broad reliance on archetypes and the Lovecraft influence is even more defined (they don't call the Necronomicon by name. But they don't give it another one, either). Another fantasy icon is plagiarised, but I won't spoil which one... and it's done well.

    Again, there's a single storyline that's followed to completion. There's a lot more left open for the series to pursue, but it's not so much that it takes any satisfaction away from the storyline, and there's no "Your princess is in another castle" hooey.

    And Again, you'll buy the next book because you want more of the same. I know I will.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Monster Hunter International

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6545)
    Performance
    (5752)
    Story
    (5752)

    Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a 14th story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.

    Konstantin says: "Suprizingly entertaining"
    "More than what you expect. Way more."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For starters, Oliver Wyman NAILS this. With a big honkin' hammer. At no point does it sounds like he's reading from a page. There are no failures of direction or editing. Owen Pitt is talking to you, telling you about what happened, and Pitt is good with voices. Okay, some of the women are a little weak, but... it doesn't distract because it's Owen doing the voices. On the rare occasions that he shifts narrative characters, it's that other character talking. It's flawless.

    As for the story-- the author does an amazing job at creating the universe without bogging you down with exposition. You're sucked in along with Owen, and it happens with amazing speed and craftsmanship without feeling forced. The plot itself, of course, lends well to to exposition, but Correia doesn't lean on it too heavily. Characters, concepts, and relationships are established firmly, but the plot advances even when he occasionally stops for Backstory.

    The dings it gets are for unoriginality. Part of the reason that it is able to accomplish so much exposition in so short a time is that the Monster Control Bureau is one part Men In Black and one part Bureau 13, with standard government paranoia sprinkled in for cohesion and flavour. And the big bad is unapologetically borrowed from Lovecraft, falling juuuuuuust short of calling the thousand foot squid god Cthulu.

    But don't get me wrong, that's almost part of the charm. A few brief references and you've got a wider universe in place. Not all the gaps are filled in, but there's enough that you fully understand that there's a lot different from this world and the one we live in. But the story itself is excellent. The romance is a little forced, but not overly so, and the author resists the urge to establish a will-they-or-won't-they dynamic. Some might be bothered by the right-wing rhetoric, but it is not only in character for the people, but it's appropriate for the world they inhabit.

    Interestingly, the most overused tropes-- vampires, zombies, and the undead in general-- are handled INCREDIBLY well, as well as the characters' interactions with them. The temptation is to compare it to a summer blockbuster film or a pulp fantasy is strong-- it has the fun of the first and the archetypes of the second (and a few other pulp genres), but it's way more than you would expect from such comparisons.

    Also, it does an excellent job of balancing between being a book in its own right and the first book in a series. It serves as an excellent introduction to the universe while telling a story of its own. Yes, it's the story of how Owen joins MHI, and his journey from newbie to full fledged Monster Hunter, but it resists the urge to leave the overarching story unresolved. There are plenty of open threads, and of course the epilogue is a set-up for the next book, but you buy the next book because you want more of what this book gave you, not because you are hanging on the edge of your seat for the cliffhanger.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Something Else: The Complete First Season

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 53 mins)
    • By John A. Robinson
    • Narrated By John A. Robinson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Twenty-four pieces of short fiction, inspired by pieces of digital photography taken with varying phone cameras. The subject matter covers everything from the undead and what they want from you to the latest in neural viruses and cleansing.

    Cather says: "Little Bites of Madness and Delight"
    "Little Bites of Madness and Delight"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Something Else: The Complete First Season to be better than the print version?

    Yes. While the little photographs are missing, almost any book is superior when read by the author. And this particular author is a talented performer.


    What about John A. Robinson’s performance did you like?

    It was a performance, rather than just a straight reading. And again, he's good at this.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes, but it was the ending to a story, so I'm not going to spoil it.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a book of VERY short stories-- brief glimpses of a universe, or a person's life. Brilliant ideas, sketched out quickly and in remarkable detail. Some are fascinating. Some are amusing. Some are CREEPY. And many are a combination of both. But all are very well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Dan Savage
    • Narrated By Dan Savage
    Overall
    (473)
    Performance
    (435)
    Story
    (436)

    Dan Savage has always had a loyal audience, thanks to his syndicated sex-advice column Savage Love but since the incredible global success of his It Gets Better project, his profile has skyrocketed. Savage is recognized as someone whose opinions about our culture, politics, and society should not only be listened to but taken seriously. Now, in American Savage, he writes on topics ranging from marriage, parenting, and the gay agenda to the Catholic Church, sex education, and the obesity epidemic.

    J. C. Schmidt says: "Savage is an Amazing Writer and Narrator"
    "Gotta Love Dan Savage"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, wholeheartedly. Why? Because Dan Savage is doing what he does best-- talking candidly-- often hilariously-- about issues. Not just LGBT issues, but religion, politics, and culture as a whole. Yes, he talks about LGBT issues, but he makes the argument very well that LGBT issues are "straight" issues.

    If nothing else, his offer to the "choicers" is CLASSIC.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Dan Freaking Savage.


    What about Dan Savage’s performance did you like?

    He played Dan Savage REALLY convincingly.

    Seriously, though, he does this well-- he's clear-spoken, entertaining, and he doesn't sound like he's reading from the book. He's just talking to you.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Rather a lot, actually. Him talking about his parents as he was growing up, and about his mother's death in particular.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Thicker Than Water: A Felix Castor Novel, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Mike Carey
    • Narrated By Damian Lynch
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (200)
    Story
    (203)

    Old ghosts of different kinds come back to haunt Felix, in the fourth gripping Felix Castor novel. Names and faces he thought he'd left behind in Liverpool resurface in London, bringing Castor far more trouble than he'd anticipated. Childhood memories, family traumas, sins old and new, and a council estate that was meant to be a modern utopia until it turned into something like hell...these are just some of the sticks life uses to beat Felix Castor with as things go from bad to worse for London's favourite freelance exorcist.

    Robin says: "Why did they change the narrator with book 4?"
    "Still Brilliant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    It's impossible to explain what makes this book awesome without spoiling it for you, but I can be general.

    1) Felix Castor is an entertaining fellow.

    2) The universe he lives is interesting and well-developed.

    3) There is something very, very, wrong with Mike Carey that causes him to think up stuff like this. I'm just saying. This is a knife-twister.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Jumper

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Steven Gould
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (738)
    Performance
    (660)
    Story
    (670)

    What if you could go anywhere in the world, in the blink of an eye? Where would you go? What would you do?Davy can teleport. To survive, Davy must learn to use and control his power in a world that is more violent and complex than he ever imagined. But mere survival is not enough for him. Davy wants to find others like himself, others who can Jump.

    Katherine says: "Lot's of fun"
    "A nice descent into fantasy..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    (Disclaimer: If you saw the movie, then you still know practically nothing about this book. They do not share the same plot, or really even the characters. "Griffin's Story" is actually set in the MOVIE universe, not this one.)

    What would you do if you could teleport?

    This wasn't high-sci-fi or high-fantasy. The world is more or less our world, except for this one kid who can teleport. He's got real problems with his abusive dad, his girlfriend, the cop downstairs who beats his wife.... oh, yeah, and the NSA.

    Definitely worth reading. Will inspire a lot of fantasies and daydreams.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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