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Mrs. V

Mom, Author, Teacher, and Critter Lover

ratings
21
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
1

  • Spirit Wolf: Wolves of the Beyond, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Kathryn Lasky
    • Narrated By Erik Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    No one ever saw Faolan as a leader. Banished as a pup, he survived and returned as a gnaw wolf - the lowest member of the wolf pack. But Faolan wasn't meant to be a gnaw wolf. It's not just his strange, splayed paw, or his uncanny connection with the bears. There's something about Faolan that inspires certain wolves...and leaves others deeply suspicious. Now, with a dangerous threat on the horizon, the pack must make a choice. Will they trust the silver outsider with the task of leading?

    Mrs. V says: "Dystopian Wolf Fantasy"
    "Dystopian Wolf Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    On the whole, I like this series... but this particular volume didn't really speak to me. I'm a fan of "furry fantasy" - but not a fan of dystopia, so this book, where the world literally crumbles at the main character's paws, didn't score high on my list. Add to that a focus on the very real death and carnage of a major geologic upheaval, and some parts are genuinely grim.

    Erik Davies does a good job with straight narrative, but I find that his voices can be a bit inconsistent from one book to another... the wolf Heep, for example. If the story were stronger - as the past volumes were - I might have not noticed so much.

    I'll stick with the series because I'm a huge wolf fan - but I'm hoping that this was an anomaly in an otherwise sound tween fantasy series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Brutus: My Life with Brutus the Bear and the Grizzlies of North America

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Casey Anderson
    • Narrated By Kevin Young
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Casey Anderson, the host of National Geographic’s Expedition Grizzly, met a month-old bear cub in a wildlife preserve in 2002, whom he affectionately named Brutus. Little Brutus was destined to remain in captivity or, more likely, even euthanized due to overpopulation at the preserve. Anderson, already an expert in animal rescue and rehabilitation, just could not let that happen to Brutus, who looked like a "fuzzy Twinkie."

    Mrs. V says: "Where's Brutus?????"
    "Where's Brutus?????"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    It's a fine book for someone who wants to read a more generalized story about working with wildlife or exotic creatures. I generally enjoy those sorts of books... but bought it because I wanted to hear about BRUTUS, not the wolves, wild grizzlies, other grizzlies, and myriad other characters Casey discusses. It was like taking a bite of cake expecting chocolate - only to discover it was, in fact, gingerbread. Not bad, but jarring, and not what was expected.


    What could Casey Anderson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Focus on Brutus! If you're going to write a book and call it THE STORY OF BRUTUS, the story of Brutus should be front and center. Halfway through the book, I was still wondering what on earth happened to the bear cub between his removal from his mother and the snatches of anecdote about his adolescent and adult self.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The cadence of the narration wasn't my style... it seemed a bit off, emphasis-wise.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Story of Brutus?

    I would have minimized Casey's backstory in the opening chapters, having it support lengthier passages about Brutus, rather than the reverse. For example, it truly IS fascinating how Casey observed wild grizzlies... but start off discussing Brutus, his habits and needs, and then lead into the wild.

    OR... well, we could take the easy alternative and change the title. A LIFE AMONG GRIZZLIES or WALKING WITH GRIZZLIES would have been more apt, and not so misleading. Don't get me wrong, Brutus IS included in the book... but given the title, he should be the focus, not Casey.


    Any additional comments?

    Not a BAD book... it's just not what it appears.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Atul Gawande
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (974)
    Performance
    (533)
    Story
    (538)

    We live in a world of great and increasing complexity, where even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced technologies - neither seems to prevent grievous errors. But in a hopeful turn, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande finds a remedy in the humblest and simplest of techniques: the checklist.

    Tad Davis says: "Riveting!"
    "Checklists are Important... for EVERYONE!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Atul Gawande and/or John Bedford Lloyd?

    No. I was interested in this book because I hoped it would have specific ideas for making checklists effective and efficient... instead, I heard a LOT about doctors and nurses and how checklists are great for them. I gave up after two chapters, ran to the store, paged through the hard copy, and did not see anything that would apply to my need - making checklists for teachers or parents.


    Has The Checklist Manifesto turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, but I would be hesitant to read anything by this author again.


    How could the performance have been better?

    It wasn't bad so much as very bland.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes, certainly - if you are in the medical field, a medical student, or interested in checklists in a purely academic sense. It's not a BAD book... it was just bad for what I needed, and nothing I read prior to purchasing could fill me in on how it really left it to the reader to tease out the "how to's" of making checklists work for you.


    Any additional comments?

    The first chapter is enough to scare anyone away from a hospital. I have panic/anxiety disorder, and my nerves were jangling by the end of the first anecdote. It can be skipped entirely - it's truly not crucial to the book - if you are a sensitive soul.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (128)

    One rat, popping up here and there, squeaking loudly, and taking a bath in the cream, could be a plague all by himself. After a few days of this, it was amazing how glad people were to see the kid with his magical rat pipe. And they were amazing when the rats followed hint out of town. They'd have been really amazed if they'd ever found out that the rats and the piper met up with a cat somewhere outside of town and solemnly counted out the money.

    Alexandra says: "Much better as an audiobook"
    "Great Story, Poor Performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was thrilled with the release of one of my favorite Pratchett books on audio, but displeased to the extreme with the vocal performance. The voices for the animal characters and narrator are fine; the humans sound like caricatures. Keith and Malicia in particular are lacking; neither sound like children, and Malicia doesn't even sound female. There are text inaccuracies, on occasion, and while I understand why the German accents were chosen, they don't seem to fit the world of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spirit of the Wolves: Wolf Chronicles, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Dorothy Hearst
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    The third and final title in The Wolf Chronicles: Kaala the young wolf fulfills her destiny - to either help humans and wolves to live in peace, or bring war that will destroy them all. Fourteen thousand years ago in southern Europe, a wolf cub named Kaala discovers that she alone can link wolves and humans, thus keeping humans from growing distant from and destroying the world around them. In Promise of the Wolves and Secrets of the Wolves, Kaala came to understand her role.

    Mrs. V says: "Loved the Series, Hated the Ending"
    "Loved the Series, Hated the Ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    No... I feel the ending was horrible, almost a betrayal of storyteller/ listener bond. Hated it.


    What could Dorothy Hearst have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Alter the ending. She could easily have maintained the ending she wrote with a little more exposition, giving the reader more sense of closure in regards to the other vital characters.


    Which character – as performed by Justine Eyre – was your favorite?

    I love all of Justine Eyre's characters. She is wonderful.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me want to hurl my device through the window of my car. I was THAT angry. The ending was, frankly, awful... A horrible thing to do to readers who have given years of time and hard earned cash to an otherwise great series.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Mark of Athena: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Joshua Swanson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2004)
    Performance
    (1788)
    Story
    (1817)

    Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy - after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera - it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon figurehead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans.

    Charlene Blake says: "Great story-- Josh Swanson (narrator) is PERFECT"
    "Love the Series, Love the Narrator!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd definitely recommend this book to a student or adult fan of children's literature... the characters are engaging, realistic enough for the now-older fans of the original series to appreciate, but still wholesome and goodhearted. None of this "gritty preteen" nonsense with this series... the author manages to keep the tone both light and emotionally engaging, weaving in real-world teen issues (friendships, first romance, social awkwardness) with honest-to-goodness fantasy. The core of Greco-Roman mythology is spot-on, lending a trendiness to what, for some readers, can be dusty traditional tales.

    For the tween reader who favors (ugh) dystopian sci-fi, this series won't hold up - but for kids who are still allowed to be kids without the "edge" modern media tries to put on them, this is exactly the sort of romp to fill a snowy winter afternoon. Don't get me wrong - this isn't pat and bland. Percy Jackson's world is to, say, the dystopian realms of The Hunger Games what Spider-Man is compared to the X Men: more humorous, willing to laugh at itself, and definitely not into taking itself too seriously.

    Oh, and there are educational gleanings in there, too, from the best place to find whale sharks in captivity to what was going on as Fort Sumter was attacked... happy teacher, here. The best kind of learning happens when kids don't think they ARE learning.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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