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Diana

Member Since 2013

183
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 125 reviews
  • 164 ratings
  • 331 titles in library
  • 183 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
27

  • Uncle Fred in the Springtime

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By P. G. Wodehouse
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cecil
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (9)

    Uncle Fred, or to give him his full title of Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton, fifth Earl of Ickenham, is considered by some as a splendid gentleman - a sportsman to his fingertips. Mr. Twistleton, nephew to the Earl, and otherwise known as Pongo to his friends, has a differing view. He simply describes his uncle as being loopy to the tonsils. But when the eccentric and well-loved Uncle Fred plays Cupid to Lord Emsworth, his old friend at Blandings Castle, little did he know that he would be known as Impostor A and the Lord’s beloved pig, the Empress, as Impostor B....

    Diana says: ""I say dear man . . . would you spot me a . . .?""
    ""I say dear man . . . would you spot me a . . .?""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The reviews I read about this classic were good, with a few negatives that made me wonder if I was going to like this book, but it was a fun listen. There were only a couple of laugh-out-loud spots, but it's the cleverness and wit throughout the book that made it enjoyable.

    I think people don't really talk like this in England, it does seem like it's an old-fashioned speech of a British stereotype, but it's a lot of fun to hear the unusual turn of phrases. The narrator did a great job with the accents and different characters.

    The writing is ingenious in the line of an "Oh what a tangled web we weave . . . " plot line as untruths, bent truths, deceptions, impersonations, rigged gambling and card tricks ensue. The characters are beautifully described and memorable. Even the Empress, a large pig is has a rounded out character to which she stays true.

    The story is a pleasant diversion from daily life, but not something to listen to in the background as all the machinations and trickery going on from beginning to end require the listener to pay close attention to keep up with the story.

    If you appreciate a complex plot with funny and manipulative people, you might enjoy this book too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Path: One Man's Quest on the Only Path There Is

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By J. Donald Walters
    • Narrated By J. Donald Walters
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    The Path is a fascinating story of one man's search for the truth. J. Donald Walters (also known as Swami Kriyananda) recounts how as a young man he examined and discarded as false many of the promises offered by modern society. Eventually his searching brought him to the door of one of the spiritual giants of this century, Paramhansa Yogananda. The Path offers a wealth of practical and inspirational wisdom. Indeed, it holds for those seeking it the transforming power of a spiritual classic.

    Diana says: "40 minutes in, and still in his childhood . . ."
    "40 minutes in, and still in his childhood . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Spiritual-, metaphysical-, and consciousness-related books interest me. I'd read some negative reviews on this book, so held off. But, thought I'd give it a try now.

    I have no idea who this man is, but also have no idea who most of the authors whose books I read. So, I thought I'd ignore the negative comments and see for myself.

    40 minutes into this audiobook we are *still* in his childhood and I have no idea WHATSOEVER what this man has accomplished and has to contribute to the edification of me or anybody else.

    Perhaps he has a brilliant observation that I would be interested in. But how long will I have to wait to get to it? Maybe he should have started with that and then gone into his detailed personal history afterwards for anyone who is interested. As a footnote. Or an Appendix. Maybe the linear approach is not the best for all books. We all have a childhood and most childhoods can be summed up in 30 seconds.

    I skipped forward a bit to see if it gets better, but gave up. Nothing interesting.

    At the same time I bought a couple audiobooks with Alan Watts speaking. The total opposite. Alan Watts talks about ideas, life, and makes brilliant observations that make for "light bulb" moments as I listen. I feel enlightened and expanded listening to Alan Watts share his thoughts.

    After 40 minutes of this audiobook I was wondering when I was going to find out what this man has to share - any Insights?, Observations?, Experiences?

    Perhaps they are in this audiobook, but I prefer books that GET TO THE POINT. Maybe this book is one where I should be enjoying the journey and not focus on the destination, but so far it's a boring trip, and I'm going no further.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Koban: Rise of the Kobani: Koban, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Stephen W. Bennett
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer
    Overall
    (126)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (121)

    The Kobani use captured Krall ships to return to Human Space. They seek expert training for their genetically modified fighters, modern weapons and new medical technology. There's a possible block to this help in the form of death penalty laws of the Planetary Union, prohibiting gene modifications of humans. A holdover from the Gene War, which nearly extinguished humanity. A perilous descent through a war torn planet's space defenses is a first step.

    Ron says: "Human genetic upgrades galore, Good Book"
    "Loved the speculative applications of Sci/Bio/Tech"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Really interesting series. Book 3 leaves off with a feeling that there will be a Book 4.

    Still miss those great sound effects from revised narration of Book 1. And especially in the middle of this book, where there was a lot of dialogue between humans, wished that more accents or perhaps regional distinctions in speech patterns were used. When there planets that were colonized by Japanese, or West Africans, or Russians, or Europe, or planets with names like New Glasgow, or Norwegian names, for example, there could have been more usage of regional accents to keep characters distinct for the listener. And, the aliens in Book 1 had such interesting speech. At one point in Book 3, the narration got so bland that one of the Krall aliens sounded just like Captain Mirukami. The sound effects of Book 1 would have helped keep characters distinctive.

    The interesting usage of science, genetics, and physics via the technology along with some creative twists make this series worth reading. The strength of this series is the imaginative use of futuristic tech and the creative worlds and settings. Medium strength is plot. The weakness is in the often juvenile banter between characters that are highly intelligent and strong minded and that once a character has a certain set of personality traits, that is where they stay. The same few quirks are not enough to make a character. They could be deeper, maybe a bit flawed, and thus show change and growth. They aren't quite as shallow as a cardboard cutout, but not quite 3-D either.

    Still, this is a very exciting series. Not perfect, but even in imperfection a lot better read than most.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Koban: The Mark of Koban, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Stephen W. Bennett
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (377)
    Performance
    (352)
    Story
    (354)

    Already faster and more powerful than the last 17 species that they have destroyed or subjugated, the Krall have set their sights on humankind. After testing humans on their future home world of Koban and finding them worthy opponents, the Krall start a war of slow extermination with the rest of humanity. The war is intended to last generations as they apply their own version of "natural selection" to cull their weaker warriors in combat, purifying the Krall gene pool with their finest warriors for breeding.

    Douglas says: "One of the best stories in a long time"
    "The "science" in Science Fiction plus great plot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an exciting series. Not perfect, but really interesting because a lot of thought has been put into technical and biological innovations and human ingenuity.

    The fantastic sound effects of the revised narration of Book 1 are missed. The banter between characters is still the weak point of the book, but the innovative uses of science, genetics, and tech stuff makes up for areas the author can improve on. Also, maybe the author can do less repeating and explaining of what has happened before or what is happening now and give the readers some credit for having some intelligence. It really drags down what should be an action scene to insert so many lengthy explanations and reminders.

    With regard to narration, the "acting" was very good. But, mis-pronounced words could have been caught by an editor - for example - the word "envelop" (to surround, like the atmosphere of a planet) was pronounced "envelope." But, this seems to happen too often in audiobooks and hopefully at some point someone will care enough to insert some type of editing or quality control in the creation process of audiobooks.

    And, it is strange to have characters from Book 1 lose their accent (like Thad going from an old gruff tough military man with a tinge of Eastern European or Russian accent in Book 1 to a younger man with a bland American accent in Book 2) In Book 2, too many characters without accents or distinct inflections in on a consistent basis made it harder to tell who was talking. Sometimes everyone started to sound the same. In Book 1 it was a lot easier to distinguish between characters.

    Yet, the story is so interesting, the concepts and surroundings and broad scope so fascinating that this is an audiobook that is hard to turn off. I'm looking forward to Book 3.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Koban, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen W. Bennett
    • Narrated By Patrick Freeman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (507)
    Performance
    (481)
    Story
    (479)

    We colonized 700 planets. Humankind enjoyed the benefits of expansion room and the end of wars. We even disbanded our military. Then the Krall found us. The Krall have used thousands of years of combat to select the genes of the strongest and fastest warriors. They are a species determined to dominate the entire galaxy, through destruction and annihilation of every opponent.

    Koban is an uninhabited high-gravity planet with impossibly fast savage animals, which employ organic superconducting nerves. This deadly world is where the Krall tested humans for war capability.

    Richard says: "Well Developed Story Line, Well Developed World!"
    "Exciting and smart, great sound effects"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is, apparently, a re-done audio version after too much negative feedback on the previous narration of book 1. And, it's excellent. I love the sound effects and especially the speech of the aliens.

    The story is exciting and manages to convey danger and death without having to go into great detail on gore . . . which is what some other authors seem to specialize in. Thankfully, the specialization in this story line is of human inventiveness when in a pinch.

    Like the recent book The Martian, this story kept me interested and amazed at how much science and tech know-how could be squeezed into a story line and only make things better.

    I didn't hear the previous version of narration to make a comparison, but this version's narration is good. My only wish is that there wasn't so much "chuckling" as people spoke. I never hear people chuckling in real life, and this book was full of it. Also, the "banter" written into the story line was the weakest part and felt awkward and often immature - which didn't fit since it was often between characters that had Ph.D's or were leaders.

    I'm already some hours into book 2, and have already bought book 3. Unfortunately, in Book 2, there is a voice change on one major character, Thad, who in Book 1 is introduced as a former Colonel of some other earth colony world, and speaks with an accent tinged of Eastern Europe or Russia. In Book 2, the character Thad suddenly has the voice of a much younger man with an American type of accent. (Note, as of this date, there *are* three books in the series, but if you click "Series" you will only see two books. Click the author's name to find the third book in the series) Also, in Book 2, there are apparently none of the great sound effects (so far at 6.5 hours in) that were in Book 1.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Hard Luck Hank: Basketful of Crap, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Steven Campbell
    • Narrated By Liam Owen
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (44)

    Hank was a dying breed on the space station Belvaille. The criminal gangs that had once made their homes there were forced out by the corporations that had taken over since the facility became an Independent Protectorate. Instead of the gentlemanly gang wars that had once dominated the scene, and made Hank's services prized as a negotiator, the city was now plagued by the clash of corporate armies using heavy weapons. Even tanks roamed the streets regularly.

    Michael says: "Let the good times roll!"
    "Great Sci-Fi humor and action - lots of fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love writing that can make me laugh. There's one scene written in this book that had me laughing really hard (Hank in the space shuttle going to meet the general.) The rest of the book is pretty even throughout with wry humor, wisecracks, and Hank's continuous self-deprecating viewpoints. It's awesome that Steven Campbell can keep up a high rate of humor throughout the book.

    The narration is good, and most characters are identifiable by voice, although the narrator is a bit limited in variety in comparison to Fisher Stevens or Bronson Pinchot. Liam Owen is perfect as the voice of Hank, with dry wit, snarky, sarcastic and long-suffering tones modulating Hank's speech and inner voice.

    It's a book that manages to be funny and still have an interesting and inventive plot and pretty good action scenes.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hard Luck Hank: Screw the Galaxy

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Steven Campbell
    • Narrated By Liam Owen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (235)
    Performance
    (217)
    Story
    (220)

    Hank is a thug. He knows he's a thug. He has no problem with that realization. In his view the galaxy has given him a gift: a mutation that allows him to withstand great deals of physical trauma. He puts his abilities to the best use possible and that isn't by being a scientist. Besides, the space station Belvaille doesn't need scientists. It is not, generally, a thinking person's locale. It is the remotest habitation in the entire Colmarian Confederation. There is literally no reason to be there.

    Connor says: "Fun Sci-Fi Humor"
    "Funny from start to finish in a deadpan, sardonic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    way. If you liked the movie Army of Darkness, this is written with a similar tone of voice throughout - kind of smart aleck and sarcastic - yet intelligent.

    There were a few laugh-out-loud moments, but basically it's a wry viewpoint and the inner voice of the guy that keeps chaos down, is a more brilliant negotiator than he looks, and has a way of enforcing negotiations to get them accepted and kept. And, he's old in years, but not in body. So old that when he and another old timer on the space station try to reminisce they have a hard time because there's too much they've done, and they've forgotten a lot more than they can remember. The plot isn't intricate or deep, but there are enough twists and turns that it never gets dull - there's plenty of action going on all the time.

    A fun listen, and the humor was good and stayed "on" from start to finish. The actual book is written smarter than the cover art implies, and I had held off buying because I didn't want to listen to something juvenile. But, it's actually pretty wise and has good observations on humanity and human behavior laced throughout.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Only Love Is Real

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Brian L. Weiss
    • Narrated By Brian L. Weiss
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (93)

    Ana Petrova says: "One of the most interesting..."
    "Often touches back to Many Lives Many Masters, as"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    a new story unfolds of two people undergoing past life regressions at Dr. Weiss's office, each telling their memories of the same events . . . and . . . when is Dr. Weiss going to notice? And, then, what could he do?

    Dr. Weiss would go back from time to time during this audiobook to reference events mentioned in his first book, Many Lives Many Masters, and those recollections were a comfortable experience and filled in this shorter story, perhaps enough that Only Love Is Real could stand alone for someone who hadn't read his first book.

    (Although, Many Lives Many Masters is probably not a book to miss if a person is interested in Consciousness or reincarnation, because it is a pivotal book of this era and genre)

    This is a relaxing book, like visiting an old friend if you've read Dr Weiss's other books, up until near the end, where I couldn't turn off the audiobook and had to change my plans because I had to find out how this ended.

    I'd held off buying this book since it seemed short for the price, but am glad I did. The underlying message is powerful once you suss it out.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Lisette Lecat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2697)
    Performance
    (1209)
    Story
    (1210)

    Mma "Precious" Ramotswe sets up a detective agency in Botswana on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, making her the only female detective in the country. At first, cases are hard to come by. But eventually, troubled people come to Precious with a variety of concerns. Potentially philandering husbands, seemingly schizophrenic doctors, and a missing boy who may have been killed by witch doctors all compel Precious to roam about in her tiny van, searching for clues.

    Gene says: "Transcends its Genre"
    "Smart and simple pleasure to experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sometimes the world feels like a dirty and cruel place. A place where people are making self-centered choices.

    So, a book like this, where the main character makes good choices while navigating through the same world can brighten the view of humanity. There's hope.

    The author writes so simply yet the scenes are set vividly. The narrator is wonderful.

    The tone of this book just exudes peace and balance, even though the stories are not of gentle stuff. The world is still dirty and cruel, but because we are gracefully navigated by the author and the narrator's voice, and humanity overcomes evil, the experience is simple, joyful, and heartfelt.

    I love this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Death Masks: The Dresden Files, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5794)
    Performance
    (4422)
    Story
    (4399)

    Harry Dresden, Chicago's only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But he also knows that whenever things are going good, the only way left for them to go is bad. Way bad. Recent examples: A duel with the lethal champion of the Red Court, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards...Hit men using Harry for target practice...The missing Shroud of Turin - and the possible involvement of Chicago's most feared mob boss.

    James says: "Pick up the coin?"
    "Getting boring . . and grown man and teenager? No"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This series is growing old. I have listened to two other newer books in lieu of finishing this one. Have even gone back to an older book.

    Throughout the series so far, I've been flexible on the main character's attitude towards women. And, the writing about women.

    I draw the line at being flexible when there is a scene written that has sexual undertones with a young teenager character (Molly), daughter of his friend Michael character. The author apparently has no boundaries about exploring an adult male alone in a tree house with his friend's rebellious teenage daughter, who changes clothes in front of him, wearing a red satin bra, etc etc, talking about sex . . . Jim Butcher writes physical descriptions of the teen's body and clothing. The adult male's (main character Harry Dresden) observations and the rebellious teen's dialogue are written as if it is normal, thus possibly desensitizing some readers to the inappropriateness of such a scenario . . .

    Yes, this is fiction. Yes, this is just for fun.

    But, I'm done with this author.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Well of Shades: Bridei Chronicles, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Juliet Marillier
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (67)

    King Bridei is a man with a mission. His wish to unite his kingdom seems almost within his grasp but there are forces working to undo his dream. He sends Faolan, his most trusted advisor (who is also a master assassin and spymaster) out into the world to ferret out the truth of who is friend and who is foe. Along the way Faolan will uncover many truths. Some may hold the key to Bridei's future. But more important, they may unlock the secrets that Faolan has held deep within his soul for decades. And offer him the chance of redemption.

    Diana says: "Book 3 of Trilogy the best of all"
    "Book 3 of Trilogy the best of all"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The third book of this trilogy is an enjoyable, fantastic experience. It's a book that envelopes the listener into the story. The second book was good too. But I fear that some people won't get to either book 2 and 3 due to book 1, which was just okay.

    Because there is a lot of "review" of previous back story written into books 2 and 3, a reader that isn't obsessed with reading the complete trilogy might do better just to skip book 1.

    Strangely, with other author's trilogies, usually the first book is really good and the others will not be as interesting, but with this series, the writing got tighter, the plot more intricate, and the characters and story line deeper and more complex. It's a great story.

    A bit of an "ick" factor for me about 2/3rds of the way into the storyline with the choice of the character Ella, and I started to wonder if this series was being written by a man . . .

    I still wish there was a little bit more fine tuning in the description of the environment, physical character appearances or changes, and use of sensory descriptions to make the listener (reader) feel the story, but books 2 and 3 did improve on that in comparison to book 1.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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