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Dana

ratings
20
REVIEWS
9
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
22

  • Peter & Max: A Fables Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Willingham
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (428)
    Performance
    (362)
    Story
    (362)

    When an unspeakable tragedy befalls a family of traveling minstrels, they become stranded and left for dead. Here in the heart of The Black Forest, Peter Piper and his older brother Max encounter ominous forces that will change them both irreparably. Thus begins an epic tale of sibling rivalry, magic, music and revenge that spans medieval times to the present day when their deadly conflict surfaces in the placid calm of modern-day Fabletown.

    Joshua says: "Not just for Fables fans only"
    "Lightweight, pleasant, Wil Wheaton helps."
    Overall
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    Not going to write a deep review, just wanted to say: This is a pleasant fantasy involving magical, semi-immortal characters with a well-worn plot: someone turns evil and the feud extends through time. It's aimed at teenage listeners/readers but suitable for adults as there aren't any disparaging plot holes or intelligence-insulting aspects.
    Mostly, Wil Wheaton is an excellent story teller with a great voice. Consider his other works. In the science fantasy genre I think the Scalzi books, like Fuzzy Nation, are more interesting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Should Not - and Put Ourselves in Great Danger

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Daniel Gardner
    • Narrated By Scott Peterson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (714)
    Performance
    (414)
    Story
    (418)

    From terror attacks to the War on Terror, bursting real-estate bubbles to crystal meth epidemics, sexual predators to poisonous toys from China, our list of fears seems to be exploding. And yet, we are the safest and healthiest humans in history. Irrational fear is running amok, and often with tragic results. In the months after 9/11, when people decided to drive instead of fly - believing they were avoiding risk - road deaths rose by 1,595. Those lives were lost to fear.

    Kristopher says: "A rational assessment of the world we live in"
    "Most life-altering book I've read"
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    Everyone should read this book. Possibly you could find a couple other books that cover the subjects better but I don't know them and this has a lot to get you started.

    As noted by others, it's perhaps 2 books in 1. Gardner does a great job of presenting the recent about-face in our model or understanding about how we think. Our primitive, quick and emotional brain is in the driver's seat but is prone to many mistakes from biases no longer appropriate in the modern world. Our conscious and learned brain is reasoned but slow and lazy and loathe to override our hunches. The various vestigial biases from our prior evolution are very well explained in lay terms and this is the most valuable lesson I've learned from any book in many years.
    How our subconscious biases lead to mistakes in judgement and distortions of danger and risk are similarly well explained. How these biases led to (what I'll call) the mass hysteria over 9-11 and terrorism is then covered in perhaps excess.

    This leads to a 2nd way this book was so revolutionary to me, from the hub-bub over the initial terrorism to the Iraq invasion, I was aghast that media and the public were so uniformly enthralled and supportive of our government's efforts. As a physician, I see every day the effects of overeating, under-exercising and smoking. These lifestyle factors kill 100 times more per year in the US than the single terrorist event. Why was everyone ignoring these real threats to American prosperity/well-being and focusing on a remote and irrelevant threat of terrorism? Having read the book, now I know.

    Knowing how people make decisions has changed the way I practice medicine. e.g.: One bias you'll learn we have is, if a product or technology is perceived to have high benefit, it is automatically assigned low danger and vice versa. Specifically in my business, if a drug is thought to have high danger, it automatically is seen as having low benefit. And, once this danger/benefit level is assigned, it won't change. I no longer argue when my patients say they're afraid to try a drug I think may help them if they've seen the TV ad and are frightened. I'll just have to try something else. I won't convince a smoker to quit with facts and figures, they have to be scared. Seeing a picture of smoker's lungs at autopsy is worth more than a thousand words.
    (Another vice versa: the public universally perceives a hospital as the place that can save you from the worst disease and injury. The extreme danger from being in a hospital and over-use of medications and interventions is not factored in.)

    To live well in the modern world, you must understand your caveman biases and how they lead to wrong decisions. Politicians and advertisers know them well and use them to trick you continuously. Unfortunately, one of our biases is that we don't see biases in ourselves. (We have poor metacognition despite what we think. Is that ironic?) So our biases must be explained to us in a non-offensive way (as soon as you hear something opposing your world-view, your likely to dismiss the rest). This book does an excellent job. I think it has taught me more than a year's worth of medical school.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Woman Who Died a Lot: A Thursday Next Novel, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jasper Fforde
    • Narrated By Emily Gray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (332)
    Performance
    (292)
    Story
    (297)

    Jasper Fforde's delightfully zany Thursday Next series shows no signs of slowing down with its seventh entry, The Woman Who Died a Lot. Despite being semihappily semi-retired from SpecOps, Thursday accepts the head librarian position at the Swindon library. But soon threats from a supreme Deity, a mnemonomorph, and the nefarious Goliath corporation press Thursday back into active duty.

    Lenny says: "Great continuation of the Thursday Next series"
    "middle-aged Thursday Next"
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    I think this is fifth in the Thursday Next series. A worthy addition, tho the plot pattern is beginning to get familiar. other reviews have summarized well, I have 2 points to make:
    1. Start at the beginning with the Eyre Affair, or as early in the series as you can. The first book introduces a bizarre and amusing world and the following couple books add some wild dimensions.
    2. Emily Gray sounds like she's middle aged or beyond and perhaps appropriate for Thursday's time of life in this book. Her words are clipped and quick but excellently enunciated and I have no real complaint. But Elizabeth Sastre did the earliest narrations and her voice is a real treasure. Her voice is richer, like Glenda (witch of the north in Wizard of Oz) but sexier. Definitely more pleasant to hear and more appropriate for a young Thursday. I got the earlier books on cassette or CD from the library and the first 3 for sure are narrated by her. I notice some of the same books are by Emily Gray on Audible: get the Elizabeth Sastre versions if you can.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Relic: Pendergast, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4173)
    Performance
    (2611)
    Story
    (2639)

    Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. But the museum's directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders. Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who - or what - is doing the killing.

    Snoodely says: "Non-Perishable"
    "starts silly gets ridiculous"
    Overall
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    Are all New Yorkers stupid? This book would have you believe that officials in high places and New York's smartest high achievers all panic at the sight of a dead body and make 1 stupid decision after another. And that FBI supervisors are untrained with the emotions of tween-age girls. You have to overlook a barrage of unlikely and stupid choices to enjoy this book. POSSIBLY A SPOILER alert: And you will come up against another common pattern for this genre, where a clever creature that has maintained a secret existence suddenly has a death-wish at the time the book's narration begins.
    If you are able to dismiss a series of unlikely events and characters with simplistic mentation, you will have nearly 2 hours of suspense and thrills at the end of this book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3976)
    Performance
    (3492)
    Story
    (3492)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "Fantastic Fantasy. not for right-wingers"
    Overall
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    This book and Wil Wheaton's narration are AWESOME. It's a great RE-LISTEN book, even though you know the plot, the excellent prose and Wheaton's voice remain rewarding and you can cheer for the characters more the 2nd, 3rd time.

    So many reviews already, not much can be added. But IF YOU'RE A RIGHT-WINGED CAPITALIST, THIS BOOK WON'T REFLECT YOUR WORLD VIEW. The subject and point-of-view is expressed inoffensively (and the subjects loveable) but the hero is a lawyer and courts have power and the industrialist is a bad guy and environmentalism is summarily the theme. (Though a conservative person, I loved this but I imagine some people I know wouldn't.) Just a warning.

    If you like Jasper Fforde or Terry Pratchett, you will likely love this also. This book is possibly less far-fetched, and more concise than their books but the good-natured humor rivals and the conversational constructs probably exceed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Rachel Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Broadbent
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3046)
    Performance
    (2713)
    Story
    (2719)

    Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack is a letter addressed to Harold from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in 20 years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person.

    FanB14 says: "Wonderful Walkabout"
    "Bleak and British Forrest Gump"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Harold Fry is honest and mannerly but dim and forgetful. He has a sort of "I just felt like running" moment with an irrational purpose. The entire book describes his trek and the observations of Harold and wife Maureen who mostly stays home.
    Unlike Forrest, Harold is not optimistic nor buoyant. He is a witness to some social phenomena and meets a famous person but otherwise this book is very different. The mood is mostly cold-drizzle bleak and the attitude is stiff-upper-lip British; it very much lacks the sunny and upbeat tone of typical American literature.

    As Harold walks north across England, he meets some kind people, makes some observations, learns some things, recalls some repressed memories and deals with frailties of the flesh. He remains steadfastly agnostic, humorless and non-spiritual. His interpretation of his observations seems simple, existential and non-judgemental but often astute. You see the British people and culture examined through the eyes of a lowly citizen. In parallel, it's an uncomplicated, evenly (and slowly) plotted story; sub-themes and revelations partly distract from the otherwise unrelenting dreary atmosphere.

    I make it through about 85% of audible books and this was a close call. I had to stop periodically and thank God for the better life I was given as Harold's is a real downer. (I use the Forrest Gump compare/contrast above to convey my overall impression and help you decide if you want a listen. But I'm not claiming it's a close or apt analogy.) Obviously, listen to a sample before buying.

    Harold isn't someone you'd probably pick for a close friend and he had a tough life; hearing his story continuously may wear on you, but the near-excellent British prose and story development may make it worthwhile.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Chalk Girl: A Mallory Novel, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Carol O'Connell
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (359)
    Performance
    (286)
    Story
    (290)

    New York Times best-selling author Carol O’Connell has won a wide fan base with her popular novels starring NYPD detective Kathy Mallory. In The Chalk Girl, a little girl is abandoned in Central Park—with her uncle’s body in a tree not far away. Recognizing a kindred spirit in the girl, Mallory takes the case. But her investigation soon leads to a trail of murder and blackmail spanning 15 years.

    shopper from Playa del Rey says: "More, More, More!"
    "misandrist sociopath or schizoid PDO?"
    Overall
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    Kathy Mallory is back in 10th book. This is the only one I've heard but my wife has read all. If you're wondering if this is for you, a couple comments: Mallory is a rare female counterpart to the schizoid personality disorder type or gunslinger. She has some admirable strengths -- tough, smart, relentless in pursuit of solving murders -- qualities found in many male characters but blended into a well-dressed tomboy homicide detective.

    As a male listener, I'm put off somewhat by 2 things: 1. Barbara Rosenblat has an unpleasant smoker's type voice, can't really do a male or child's voice. (She also reads for Nevada Barr, a distinctly misandristic author). 2. In an early scene, Mallory cruelly destroys the property of a teen- or tween-age boy for no good reason. When I was 12, I worked about 140 hours on a farm to earn the money for a similar toy (a cassette-radio in the early 70's) and deeply treasured this possession. I would have been devastated if someone had done this to me and just can't cheer for a character who is so outright mean.

    As the story progresses, Mallory enjoys hurting or intimidating many others, but males certainly take the brunt of this. I'm guessing that the presence of a vulnerable little girl in the narrative is supposed to balance all this out. Thematic tension begins to mount: though the girl adores Mallory, is this really reciprocated? Or does Mallory coldly play the girl like she does everyone else?

    If you don't need a warm and fuzzy protagonist and perhaps enjoy the turnabout in gender roles delivered by a gruff older female voice, this isn't a bad listen. (If you're already a fan, my view as a newbie is impertinent anyway. You already knew you were going to listen.)

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Hissers

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Ryan C. Thomas
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (334)
    Performance
    (303)
    Story
    (301)

    It's the last weekend of summer break in the small town of Castor, and four teenage friends are about to attend the most popular end-of-summer high-school party in town… with a massive wave of mutated undead about to crash the party. It's The Breakfast Club meets Resident Evil as the teens of Castor fight to stay alive.

    Mike Naka says: "stephen king of zombies"
    "Bland, contrived, humorless Zombie-Teen B-movie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a cliche 60's style B-movie overly stretched to novel length. 4 teens in a Dawn of the Dead scenario. The Breakfast Club set-up unfortunately falls flat from artificial, witless and humorless dialogue. If you can overlook this, there is a little coming-of-age redemption going on thru the long middle 3/4s of the story. The drawn-out action and conversations follow smoothly enough but the prose is formulaic or calculated rather than artful or insightful.
    If you love the genre, maybe you'll endure it. For improved near-human metaphysics, consider a Christopher Moore book instead ("Lamb" if you want some adolescent characters, all the others involve mostly young adults).

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Secret of the Seventh Son

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Glenn Cooper
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (805)
    Performance
    (382)
    Story
    (385)

    Nine people have been slain in New York City, nine strangers with nothing in common - the apparent victims of a frighteningly elusive serial killer. Only one thing links the dead: postcards they received, mailed from Las Vegas, announcing the day they would die.

    Rebecca says: "An Ear Burner"
    "involving yarn of serial killings and monks"
    Overall
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    Story

    (of previous reviews, Rebecca, "...ear burning" has good encapsulation.)
    this flowed smoothly as 3-4 narratives confluence. Several complaints are legitimate: our protagonist is flawed, stereotypical and shallow generally but this oscillates with aggrandizement. The work of a large FBI investigation is largely done by Will's sidekick alone, only 2 total people seem to be involved and there's no particular protocol. This is not terribly suspenseful: most revelations are foreshadowed and obvious well before they are explicit. Though the detail and character development descriptions never seem gratuitous, the book is about 1/3 too long for what is an interesting but not intricate plot. i.e. somewhat pleonastic.

    But, that's the most I could find wrong. the book flows well, smooth narrative and crisp dialog. Beside the narrative-expedience of minimal supporting characters, there was good verisimilitude (rarely thought, "Oh that can't happen" or "no one would say that"). Deftly written, prose is devoid of repetition or excess cliche. Generally cheerful, though not overtly clever or funny, it continued to entertain and avoided tragic or macabre mood.
    On a gut level, I loved it and looked forward to getting back to it until done. I was glad to read that the author has another similar book, shall start looking for it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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