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Christine D. Baker

Member Since 2012

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 133 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 90 purchased in 2014
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  • Hell House

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Richard Matheson
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (673)
    Performance
    (419)
    Story
    (421)

    For over 20 years, Belasco House has stood empty. Regarded as the Mt. Everest of haunted houses, its shadowed walls have witnessed scenes of unimaginable horror and depravity. All previous attempts to probe its mysteries have ended in murder, suicide, or insanity.

    But now, a new investigation has been launched, bringing four strangers to Belasco House in search of the ultimate secrets of life and death. A wealthy publisher, brooding over his impending death, has paid a physicist and two mediums to establish the facts of life after death once and for all. For one night, they will investigate the Belasco House and learn exactly why the townsfolk refer to it as the Hell House.

    Phebe says: "Hell House is like Hill House, but fiercer"
    "Beware: 1970s schlock horror"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was ridiculous and has not stood the test of time well. But, as an example of 1970s social attitudes, it's a pretty amusing read. The only thing really scary about it is 1970s attitudes towards women and homosexuality.

    Important lessons learned from this book:
    -If you're a lady and you wander alone in a haunted house, you will either be tempted to have sex with ghosts or become a lesbian. You're definitely going to have sex with *something*, if you go off wandering alone. Mens: keep an eye on your womens.
    -Tiny ladybrains cannot understand technical science things.
    -Scientists are generally assholes and especially don't like being challenged by ladies.
    -Being attacked by a slime monster while trapped in a steam room seems like a pretty scary way to go.

    The narration by Ray Porter was, as expected, absolutely excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Amy Stewart
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (139)

    Every great drink starts with a plant. Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley. Gin was born from a conifer shrub when medieval physicians boiled juniper berries with wine to treat stomach pain. The Drunken Botanist uncovers the surprising botanical history and fascinating science and chemistry of over 150 plants, flowers, trees, and fruits (and even a few fungi).

    Cynthia says: "No more cheap tequila!"
    "Excellent, awesome book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was awesome and informative. It got me to try new drinks. It made me want to start a garden. I cannot say enough good things about it.

    It is only about 85% awesome as an audiobook. A lot of the early sections of the book do well as an audiobook - there's a fair amount of 'history' of the different plants and their connections to alcohol. But, by the end of the book, there are a lot of sections that seem more encyclopedic and reference-oriented. It's not *bad* as an audiobook, but I knew that I was going to want to consult this book after I'd read it, which is hard to do with an audiobook.

    I actually got an addition copy of it in hardcover for reference.

    Definitely recommended.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Anne Lamott
    • Narrated By Anne Lamott
    Overall
    (251)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (123)

    What does it take to be a writer? What does it mean to live a writer's life? This instruction book gives the answers to these questions, ranging through all aspects of writing - from faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear.

    Colin says: "Wonderfully honest and funny"
    "Hate to say it, but horrible narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've wanted to 'read' this book for a long time. During a period when I could really use some writing inspiration, I picked up the audio version.

    The book itself is a little dry and not quite as translatable for non-fiction authors and I would have hoped. The best part of the book, in my opinion, is in the blurb where she explains the story of the title. I will grant that part of the issue is that a lot of the advice in this book, which may have been new when she wrote it, is not available in countless writing guides and blogs.

    The real issue with this book is the narration. Narrated by the author and it is horrible. Were it not so short, I probably wouldn't have been able to make it through it. I have never felt so strongly about narration being so bad before. Seriously -- listen to a test clip before you buy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Magicians: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Lev Grossman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2995)
    Performance
    (2234)
    Story
    (2249)

    Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.

    Kyle says: "Not an average book"
    "I wanted to like this more than I did"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Magicians was described to me as 'edgier, more grown up Harry Potter'. And, I suppose, that's kind of accurate. My problem was that I found the main character so whiny and unlikeable that it was hard to get past that. He does grow up over the course of the book, but not enough.

    I also wish that there had been more world building. There wasn't quite enough description of the magic and how it fit into the 'real' non-magical world for me -- most of it was explained away with using magic to make sure that non-magic people don't notice things. There's also this whole other magical realm but the descriptions of it felt shallow to me.

    I didn't *dislike* the book, but I really wanted to like it more than I did. I haven't decided if I'm interested in the sequel yet.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    Overall
    (2581)
    Performance
    (2321)
    Story
    (2307)

    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....

    Susan says: "Fun, thought-provoking, mysterious.... and FUN !"
    "Quirky and Endearing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I downloaded this book, but it really pulled me in and I ended up liking it a lot. It starts a bit slow, but the characters were quirky and loveable, the plot diverting enough that it wasn't easy to guess where it was going, and the ending was satisfying.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deep Storm

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2119)
    Performance
    (729)
    Story
    (736)

    Former naval doctor Peter Crane is summoned to a remote oil platform in the North Atlantic to help diagnose a bizarre medical condition. But when he arrives, Crane learns that the real trouble lies far below on "Deep Storm", a stunningly advanced science-research facility built two miles beneath the surface on the ocean floor. The top-secret structure has been designed for one purpose: to excavate a recently discovered undersea site that may hold the answers to an ancient mystery.

    Tom says: "Must Read"
    "Ridiculous and Annoying"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I generally like mindless action books. But, wow, this one was too annoying and required far too much suspension of disbelief. None of the characters had any depth -- not even the little bit of depth that you might expect in an action book. None of their motivations were even a little bit believable.

    It wasn't so bad that I didn't finish it, but it was close.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead or Alive

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy, Grant Blackwood
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4956)
    Performance
    (2725)
    Story
    (2741)

    Jack Ryan, the former president of the United States, is out of office, but not out of the loop about his brainchild, the “Campus” - a highly effective, counter-terrorism organization that operates outside the Washington hierarchy. But what Ryan doesn’t know is that his son, Jack Ryan, Jr., has joined his cousins, Brian and Dominic Caruso, at the shadowy Campus. While a highly effective analyst, young Ryan hungers for the action of a field agent.

    Robert B. Wales says: "Same great Clancey - Great narration"
    "What you'd expect from Tom Clancy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's a good action novel. The characters are fairly likeable. Lou Diamond Phillips often does a horrible job with some of the Arabic pronunciation and Clancy has some very skewed ideas about Islam, but neither of those are particularly surprising.

    Overall, it was a pretty diverting listen.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Dan Charnas
    • Narrated By Kevin R. Free
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (55)

    An original journalist for The Source, Dan Charnas built a celebrated career in the rap industry. In The Big Payback, he chronicles the rise of the hip-hop culture and shows how it became so powerful in a matter of decades. Charnas also profiles many of the movers and shakers in this burgeoning cultural movement, offering unprecedented access to an industry that continues to shake the globe.

    Chief Break Everything says: "So much love"
    "Great book -- I learned a lot!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was awesome. I knew pretty much nothing about the history of hip hop as a genre when I started and I learned so much. I really, really enjoyed it.

    It's definitely long. And there are times when there's a bit too much detail about certain aspects of the industry (I definitely got bored when they started talking about hip hop artists getting sponsorship from different kinds of flavored water), but it was really excellent overall.

    I especially enjoyed the sections about the early history of R&B, DJs, and the disco scene and how that connected with the rise of hip hop.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Company: A Novel of the CIA

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Littell
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (5078)
    Performance
    (2177)
    Story
    (2169)

    "If Robert Littell didn't invent the American spy novel," says Tom Clancy, "he should have." In this spectacular Cold-War-as-Alice-in-Wonderland epic, Littell, "the American le Carre," takes us down the rabbit hole and into the labyrinthine world of espionage that has been the CIA for the last half-century. "Ostensibly a single novel, The Company can also be listened to as an anthology of cracking good spy stories," says (Publishers Weekly).

    Cynthia says: "Hang on to your Hat"
    "Excellent!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this book -- it was a great suspense novel. Great twists and turns and kept me guessing.

    You do definitely need to pay attention -- there are a lot of characters and details. If you're not paying attention, things won't make sense later.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Never Sky

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Veronica Rossi
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne Flagler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (628)
    Performance
    (549)
    Story
    (551)

    Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse. Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

    Katheryne says: "Beware of the Triology"
    "Good story, but ending doesn't resolve enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Under the Never Sky again? Why?

    No -- it was fine, but I don't usually listen to audiobooks multiple times.


    Would you recommend Under the Never Sky to your friends? Why or why not?

    Probably not. I enjoyed some of the dystopian aspects of the novel, but it was too much of a romance novel set in a dystopian universe when I was looking for more of a novel about the dystopian universe without the romance being center stage.

    I liked the characters and enjoyed the story, but it very soon became clear that the romance was the central aspect of the story. Honestly, I think that this book needs a sequel -- there was so much that wasn't resolved at the end of the story. And a lot of things about the universe that I thought would get revealed over time (like how it became dystopian) that the author never explained. I found that frustrating because I was interested in those aspects of the story more than the romance.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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