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  • Shadowmarch: Shadowmarch, Volume I

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Tad Williams
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For generations the misty Shadowline has marked the boundary between the lands of men and the lost northern lands that are the lair of their inhuman enemies, the ageless Qar. But now that boundary line is moving outward, threatening to engulf the northernmost land in which humans still live - the kingdom of Southmarch.

    Laura says: "By Far, NOT Williams' Best"
    "It's the characters that matter..."

    As a longtime reader of fantasy novels, I understand that the first book in a series is many times a bit slower paced than the later books. The author has to paint the picture of an entire world and the characters and things within it. This book however was a bit of a yawner. Williams is a tallented writer as far as describing things in the universe that he has created, but he falls far far short on character development.

    There are four main story lines in the book, with most of the book concentrating on the two most uninteresting characters in the story. A spoiled prince and princess. There is a pretty good storyline about a mysterious orphan boy and a dwarf (for lack of a better word). I'd like to fiind out what happens to them. I never will though, because after thirty plus hours of listening, I don't think I could take another book with the same boring characters.

    You can have an interesting story and universe, but if you don't fill it with interesting characters, characters that readers will care about, then you just have a long boring slog to the end.

    The narrator does a fine job on the book. He gives the characters very definable voices and livens things up. But try as he might, this book still falls short on several different levels.

    Favorite authors lately: Robin Hobb, Jim Butcher, Guy Gavriel Kay. If you are a fan of these three authors I reccomend you stay away from this one.

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Mental Training: A Guide to Performance Excellence, Collector's Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By D. C. Gonzalez
    • Narrated By D. C. Gonzalez
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Achieve the champion mindset for peak performance. Reach new levels of success and mental toughness with this ultimate guide. Learn the "Science of Success" and prepare to excel. In this concise and highly acclaimed training guide, Peak Performance Coach DC Gonzalez teaches a blend of unique mental training technologies, sports psychology essentials, and peak performance methods that are effective and motivational. Get ready to increase your self-belief, self-confidence, and mental toughness using this powerful guide designed to help you reach new levels of success, sports performance and personal development.

    Sara says: "Sports Psychology Excellence"
    "Great content!"

    The book is written by a high achiever that has put to paper lessons that he learned from his martial arts instructor and put to use as a Navy pilot and a Federal Law Enforcement Special Agent. The book has quite a few gems for the listener. The techniques described fall in line with a lot of other mental training books that I have read. I really wish authors would hire professional narrators, but I looked past the mediocre narration and paid attention to the excellent content. Recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Spencer Rascoff, Stan Humphries
    • Narrated By Spencer Rascoff, Stan Humphries

    Thanks to its treasure trove of proprietary data and army of statisticians and data scientists, led by chief economist Stan Humphries, Zillow has been able to spot the trends and truths of today's housing market while acknowledging that a home is more than an economic asset. In Zillow Talk, Humphries and CEO Spencer Rascoff explain the science behind where and how we live now and reveal practical, data-driven insights about buying, selling, renting, and financing real estate.

    CARLOS says: "If you are in Real Estate & or Mortgage read it"

    The authors of this book are the founders of and spend the first chapters continually reminding you how smart they are and how much their website has changed the face of real estate in the U.S. I found my self saying things like, "Okay, we get it!"

    The narration is done by the authors. Out of 250 Audible titles I've noticed that whenever an author or authors reads their own book, it is never as good as other books that hired professional narrators. This is no exception. The narration both narrators is halting. One of the narrators is particularly annoying because he speaks in 3 and 4 word bursts. Next time put the ego away and hire a pro.

    Lastly, the authors write in such a way that you can tell they think they are being clever. In most cases it doesn't work. Example, instead of just calling the southwestern part of the country the southwest, they repeatedly call it the "wild west." It gets old after the third time, let alone the fifteenth. Another example is the use of the made up word, Gayghborhoods, to talk about how gays living in an area affect surrounding home values. Com'on guys, just give us the facts. Stop trying to be clever. Save it for bedtime stories for the children.

    There were a few eye opening stats, such as, only 2 out of every 15 home owners deduct the interest on the mortgage of their home at tax time. Other than a few obscure facts though, the book doesn't offer much beyond obvious statements such as low income neighborhoods don't appreciate as fast as upper class ones. Well no kidding...

    The book is just not worth a credit.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Thinblade Part 2: Sovereign of the Seven Isles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By David A. Wells
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins

    When second son Alexander Valentine loses his brother to an assassin's arrow, he discovers that his family protects an ancient secret and reluctantly finds himself at the center of the final battle of a war that was supposed to have ended two thousand years ago. Pursued by the dark minions of an ancient enemy, Alexander flees to the mountain city of Glen Morillian where he discovers that he is the heir to the throne of Ruatha, one of the Seven Isles, but before he can claim the throne he must recover the ancient Thinblade.

    Marty says: "Okay"

    I like the concept of the thinblade...but not enough to get the second book. The characters are all very one dimensional. Not enough there to make me to buy the second book to see how it all turns out. Not sure I need to. Alexander will save the day in the end....There are books that you lose interest in because the protagonists are so great at everything they attempt. This is one of those books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Blinding Knife: Lightbringer, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Brent Weeks
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Gavin Guile is dying. He'd thought he had five years left - now he has less than one. With 50,0000 refugees, a bastard son, and an ex-fiancée who may have learned his darkest secret, Gavin has problems on every side. All magic in the world is running wild and threatens to destroy the Seven Satrapies. Worst of all, the old gods are being reborn, and their army of color wights is unstoppable. The only salvation may be the brother whose freedom and life Gavin stole 16 years ago.

    robert says: "great book but missing content in chapter 90 and 9"
    "Took a chance. Glad I did!"
    Any additional comments?

    After not being able to finish book 1 in the series, due to the atrocious narator choice, I took a chance on book 2. They changed the series narrator and it's for the better. Simon Vance does a great job bringing the world to life. The magic system is easy enough to understand even after missing most of the first book.

    You can tell Weeks did a lot of research while writing the book and Weeks tells us as much in a nice behind the scenes type of PostScript.

    I won't give anything away and I'll keep this short. Nice character development, a plot that isn't boring and well written action scenes about sums it up. There's also a fair amount of witty banter as well. I like it enough that, after finishing, I went right back to Audible and downloaded book 3. Looking forward to more Mr. Weeks!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries....

    Chris says: "Finally, a modern day fantasy that really hits the"
    "Move along...There's nothing to see here."

    Here's the stick that broke the camel's back...When the main characters dog called a 2000 plus year old enemy an, "Epic douche." Then went on to tell his owner to, "Testify." Are you kidding me? That's just, well, stupid. It is an adolescent and childish statement that takes 100% of the believability out of the story. What little it had anyway.
    I get that kids today talk in a certain way. Heck, I talk that way sometimes. However, the melding of fantasy with contemporary speech just does not work.

    The main character makes jokes in the face of death. You want to take believability out of a story? Just make your characters crack jokes as they are about to get into a life of death struggle.

    Lastly, the author needs to research what cops and detectives actually do and say, because there are several chapters in the book that are rediculous. I'd say he has a problem with the police in general and used his book to invent an embarrassing situation for law enforcement.

    2 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Prism

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Brent Weeks
    • Narrated By Cristofer Jean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals. But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

    Lee says: "Big fan of Brent Weeks but..."
    ""Surfer" narrators should be banned!"

    Wow! Awful, awful, awful narration. To Hatchett Audio: whomever made the decision to put this yahoo narrator on this book should be fired. This guy actually got paid to do this narration? If I were Brent Weeks I'd be seriously upset. The narrator absolutely ruined the book. A surfer dude magician? You gotta be kidding me! I will listen to the audio samples from now on. I'm really sorry I didn't prior to downloading this one.

    As others have stated, the writing is a bit sophomoric in places, but it could have been salvaged with a decent narrator.

    One of only two books I have failed to finish after over 100 titles. You have been warned. Nuff said.

    52 of 55 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of Kings: Book One of The Stormlight Archive

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor.

    Katy Crumpton says: "Very enjoyable (but a slight warning)"
    "Wonderful story, characters and narration!"

    This was quite simply the most enjoyable book I have heard since becoming a member of Audible. After listening to over 100 titles, this is the only one that I felt compelled to buy (in hardcover no less) after hearing it. It is also the only one I have listened to twice. It is the only book I have raved to my friends about and told them to listen to the first few chapters. Sells them every time. I am normally a closet audible listener.

    Simply amazing story. Yes, there is a lot of build up in some of the plot lines, but it never goes flat. The action sequences are the best I have ever read. THIS is why I love fantasy! Big battles, big heros, big swords, valor, magic, and just pure "bad-ass-ness." Awesome! Lots of books claim to be epic in scope. This book delivers. The opening and closing chapters alone are worth the price. The book fires on all cylinders. I found myself listening to some passages, two, three or even four times, because they made such an impression. Way of Kings has what I always wished The Lord of the Rings to have. WoK doesn't nibble around the edges and hint at powerful beings and magic. It serves them up on a big platter and blows you away!

    This would make such a great big budget movie or series. Actually it would have to be a series to cover all of the material.

    Narration: Michael Kramer's deadpan delivery is perfect for the book. Kate Reading does a fine job as well.

    I don't want to give anything away, so I'll end here.

    Bottom line: If you don't like this, then you don't like fantasy!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gathering Storm: Book Twelve of the Wheel of Time

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, struggles to unite a fractured network of kingdoms and alliances in preparation for the Last Battle. As he attempts to halt the Seanchan encroachment northward - wishing he could form at least a temporary truce with the invaders - his allies watch in terror the shadow that seems to be growing within the heart of the Dragon Reborn himself.

    D. Ramirez says: "I normally wouldn't, but..."
    "Just a bunch of egos..."

    This book is the story of a collection of characters with massive egos whose biggest concern seems to be engaging in verbal one-upmanship with whomever they happen to be speaking with. This is such a prominent character tendency (flaw) as to make the book unreadable.

    This is especially true of the women in the series. They are all way to much, "I am woman, hear me roar!" Not just one or two mind you, but darn near every one, antagonist and protagonist alike. It's enough to drive you crazy. I can appreciate a strong female character. Look at nearly all of the female characters in Sanderson's The Way of Kings. They are strong, and they manage to have civil conversations with others without getting completely worked up over every cotton picking little thing.

    No one gets along in Jordan's universe. I mean NO ONE! Even if they are on the same side, they can't have a single conversation without gritting their teeth, tensing their jaw, coldly staring or just flat out screaming at the other person and storming away. It seems at times that every character feels that they should be worshiped. How dare "so and so" talk to them in that way!

    It is strongly implied that the protagonists are the most powerful, wise and intelligent warriors and magicians that the world has ever seen. At the very least, it is reinforced, time and time again that they are are uniquely qualified to save the world. Yet they can't put their petty squabbles away long enough to work together to save the entirety of mankind. These people are supposed to be HEROES!

    Such a shame because the world and concept that Jordan created is very deep and detailed. Too bad the characters, with a few exceptions are arrogant jerks.

    I know real people like this. They are not happy and they are very hard to be around. I don't like hanging around real jerks. I surely don't want to waste my time reading about a bunch of fictional ones. Flame away Jordan fans...

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "Good story, crappy narration"

    Martin does a good job filling out the characters and the world he has created. I must say though that I did not like the narration. Why?
    1. He gives many of the upper crust characters "cockney" accents. I'm sorry, maybe its just me, but a knight just should not sound like that. A whore, yeah that makes sense, but a knight? Com'on!
    2. Several of the characters have such over the top accents that it's laughable. You know that British butler accent? Well two prominent characters have that. Ridiculous! It doesn't end there. There is also a character with a bad French accent. On top of all this he decided to give a couple of the characters pirate accents! That would be okay if they were sea captains or sailors, but they are not. They're just normal characters. Its like he randomly assigned how each character should sound with no regard to where they fall in the social pecking order.
    3. Lastly, too many of the characters sound like they're old. The reason for this isn't so much because of the sound of his voice as much as it is the wierd "old person" accent he gives most of the characters. There was several times he made teenagers sound like old men or women and it isnt until several paragraphs later that you find out that the person is only supposed to be 13 years old.

    I really can't believe that more people are not turned off by the narration. Just because the guy acts out all the characters doesn't make him a good narrator. The voices need to fit the story and too many times they just don't.

    I like the story, so I am gong to get the next one in the series, but I really wish it had a different narrator.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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