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SJ

Idaho | Member Since 2003

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 17 ratings
  • 271 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2014
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  • Hunted: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4221)
    Performance
    (3930)
    Story
    (3930)

    For a 2,000-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt - Artemis and Diana - for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, Granuaile, and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide-and-seek, the game plan is...run like hell.

    D says: "Another Serving of Hilari-tea"
    "A real "page turner""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Given all the difficulty Atticus has had after deciding not to run from Aengus Óg, it's a miracle he lived the first 2000 years. He is now dodging the Roman and Greek pantheon, while his partner in crime Granuaile tries to keep him alive and away from decisions that will make them any more enemies. This book had us driving around in the car because we didn't want to end it yet, which is true of all of the series. There are two things that happen in this book that I thought "he couldn't have written that!", one of which actually had me in tears. Vampire politics continue to affect the story, and his former friend seems to look at them as pieces on a chess board, protected if they continue to be useful and sent against opponents without asking permission or feeling guilt.

    I look forward to the snarky comments Oberon brings to the text, and he is both comic relief and something of the 'sacred clown' who brings the focus back to what's important. I hope Granuaile will play a larger part as the series progresses, since her modern understanding of druidic identity is different than Atticus'. She has been raised in a thoroughly Western world view, and her ethics is different from his. I suspect revenge against her stepfather is not going to be able to be put off once they finally stop running for their lives - if they ever manage to stop running.I look forward to seeing what mischief they will get into next.

    I can't imagine a better reader than Luke Daniels; he gives Oberon a voice that is truly his own, and I never have to stumble over the pronunciation or the accent. Even reading a female voice works; he doesn't engage in an annoying falsetto but you can tell whose voice it is.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hard Magic: Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    Overall
    (6062)
    Performance
    (5511)
    Story
    (5528)

    Jake Sullivan is a licensed private eye with a seriously hardboiled attitude. He also possesses raw magical talent and the ability to make objects in his vicinity light as a feather or as heavy as depleted uranium, all with a magical thought. It's no wonder the G-men turn to Jake when they need someoneto go after a suspected killer who has been knocking off banks in a magic-enhanced crime spree.

    Clinton says: "Not what I thought it was going to be."
    "Hard to put down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My husband and I listened to this while driving the hour back and forth to the grocery store and two hours never seemed to be long enough. We found ourselves discussing the plight of the characters in the book, wondering how Jake would ever manage to survive his magically altered nemesis, or whether the Pale Horse was a hero or a villain.

    One of the things I liked about this series is the moral complexity; good people can do bad things for good reasons, and bad people can do bad things that may have some good consequences. At one point as we turned off the car I told my husband that I thought the book would kill me, since I spent so much time holding my breath during the intense parts. He informed me that he thought it would kill me because I spent so much time dodging bullets during the fire fights and was going to get in the way of his driving. Much of that is due to Bronson Pinchot's narration, which really puts you into the story. Altered histories and steampunk is a newly popular genre, and in this version, you can easily see the world as though it were the 'real' one, and I could easily visualize the blimp landing platform on the top of the Empire State Building. The quotes he begins the chapters with really add to the realism, reframing a quote from the Scopes Trial as though it were about magic, for example. You can easily see the conflict between 'normals' and 'magicals' and how that would add to the difficulties of race and class already within the 1930's worldview.

    Bronson Pinchot is an amazing narrator, and his work added a great deal to the story. Even while playing a young "Okie" girl or a japanese soldier his characterizations always felt real, bringing life to the characters. I would read another book just to hear him read it, so I hope he is selective in the things he chooses to read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Separate Peace

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By John Knowles
    • Narrated By Scott Snively
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (165)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (107)

    Now a modern classic, this story of two boys' friendship at an exclusive New Hampshire prep school as it parallels the inescapable and escalating atmosphere of World War II, is intense and engaging to the last word.

    Teddy says: "How can one fault a Classic like this?"
    "essay assistant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am reviewing this on behalf of my 16 year old, who could not get through the printed book and needed to do well on this in order to be allowed to play baseball. The audiobook was more accessible than the written word and he found the story "okay", but his comments were that the writer made little effort to be theatrical in his reading and was extremely slow paced. It was hard for him to stay focused on the story and he would have sped up the reader about double if he had a speed control on his player. Given all that, he did much better than he would have just reading the book on his own and so it was definitely worth the money. At some point I will read it myself and give a 'non 16 year old' review.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11563)
    Performance
    (10782)
    Story
    (10790)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Julie W. Capell says: "I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book."
    "Nearly Perfect Game"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is captivating, a vivid description of a dystopian world in which the multinationals have won, global warming and over-population has made the world nearly uninhabitable, and everyone lives in the virtual reality of the ultimate MMORPG (massively multi-player role playing game) called the Oasis. As always, humans are looking for a way to escape from reality and so the Oasis has become the escape. The inventors, who appear to be a bit more like Bill Gates than he would probably want to admit, are reclusive and socially awkward themselves, so they built a video-game in which the social is just one more part of the game to master and can be changed much more easily than the real person inhabiting the character. When one of the inventors dies, his will stipulates that his wealth, and the control of the Oasis, is hidden as a series of quests. The quests are hidden somewhere, but no one knows where, and as the Oasis is a virtual universe of hundreds of thousands of worlds inhabited by both real and virtual people, no one will stumble on it by accident, so an intense study of the things the inventor loved is seen to be the most important clues to where they might be hidden. And what he most loves is the 80's in all of it's minutiae.

    The major multi-national corporation, who wants control so that they can "properly monetize" the Oasis, has been trying to cheat its way into a win, without success. No one has even found the first key, but the protagonist, born in the days after the Oasis was born, and having a teenager's tenacity and a case of social awkwardness that echoes the inventor's own, has figured something out. Others will try to get that at any means possible, even if that means murder - and not just of a character.

    We started this on a long car trip. We ended up being so engrossed in the book that we were unwilling to stop until the book ended, which meant that we ended up driving until 4AM because when we finally got to the end of the book we were in the middle of nowhere. If you love the 80's video games and culture, this will bring you back to the time, and I confess that having grown up in the 80's I still didn't remember all the little things that he brought up. I wish the book had an accompanying CD of the music to play during the important parts of the book. It will make you want to run out and buy a copy of Ms. Pac Man, just to see if you too can get a perfect game. And if you owned an original copy of the Fiend Folio, you will probably miss the camaraderie of the old fashioned D&D game, listening to this.

    The narrator is brilliant, of course, and even though he doesn't change voice to indicate the various character it is clear somehow who is speaking. Wil Wheaton is one of our favorite voices to listen to. It has slow spots, but not many, and it has sudden turns of the plot that you do not expect, but this is really an adolescent coming of age novel, and a search for what community and morality are when we no longer interact directly. I recently read that the average MMORPG player spends an average of 20 hours a week in play, which is far more than we do any other single activity than work. This is a world that is an exaggeration of the connection we have with our Avatars now, and easily imaginable. I cannot imagine what would come after this book, but would gladly follow along should he decide to write it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hexed: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8207)
    Performance
    (7380)
    Story
    (7394)

    Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II. With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt.

    Adam says: "Authenticity, Humor and Brilliant Writing"
    "Atticus wins - and loses"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Hexed?

    Atticus has lost the anonymity that he had worked so hard to gain by putting down roots in one community. This brings him the negative attention he has tried to avoid for a very long time. The story made you believe the relationships he had made with people and the pain he felt when those bonds were stretched - maybe to the point of breaking. The sex that he has is well written, so that it didn't gloss over it with a "soft focus camera angle" but wasn't so descriptive that we had to hear of every sweat droplet and position change, either.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story kept us guessing about who's plot was driving the action, and the ending surprised us. We got a better sense of his connection with the land, since in the first book he mainly just takes from the earth, and doesn't give much in return, which isn't compatible with Celtic beliefs. The one thing that surprised me is his idealization of certain gods in his pantheon. He has interacted enough with them over the years to realize that his gods are remarkably "human" in their plotting and petty jealousies. I suppose you would want your gods to be more than you are. He describes things vividly, so it feels like you are actually there with him.


    What about Luke Daniels’s performance did you like?

    He doesn't make silly voices to change from one character to another, but it is clear that a new person is speaking, which helps with the immersion into the character. I love the way he vocalizes the dog, which I would never had been able to do as well with my "inside voice".


    Any additional comments?

    The book was fast paced and so enthralling my son didn't want to get out of the car before it finished, even though he missed the whole first book and the first hour of the second. At 16, he has become a bit prejudiced against fantasy, but wanted to know how soon we could get the third book so he could listen to it. That is the highest compliment I could give to any book, if you can get the next generation to read it.

    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
    Overall
    (10637)
    Performance
    (9503)
    Story
    (9478)

    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"
    "A brilliant story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Hounded again? Why?

    The book kept us on the edge of our seat for a long car trip and was so arresting that we had a difficult time tearing ourselves away from it to stop, and actually drove around more than we needed.


    What other book might you compare Hounded to and why?

    It was similar to Jim Butcher 's Dresden Files; it made the magical understandable and mixed cultures and ages brilliantly.


    What does Luke Daniels bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His ability to bring life to the characters was amazing, especially Oberon. Reading the dog's part brought life to the character that my inside voice would have never done. It also made the Irish words less of a stumbling block.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't wait to listen to the next one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shades of Grey

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jasper Fforde
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (483)
    Performance
    (253)
    Story
    (258)

    As long as anyone can remember, society has been ruled by a Colortocracy. From the underground feedpipes that keep the municipal park green to the healing hues viewed to cure illness to a social hierarchy based upon one's limited color perception, society is dominated by color. In this world, you are what you can see.

    Roger says: "Slow, weird... but a good set-up for sequels."
    "I wanted so badly to like it...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Shades of Grey? What did you like least?

    I enjoy Mr. Fforde's Thursday Next and Nursery Crime series, and expected it to be written in a similar style. However, the level of description of the environments was exhaustive, in both senses of the word. Though description may be important in a visually related world, I found it to be tedious, and ended up not finishing the book, which I rarely do.


    Would you recommend Shades of Grey to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would recommend Thursday Next or the Nursery Crimes, but not this one unless you have a lot of patience and a better sense of visual memory than I. However, I might be interested in an abridged version, as an editor might make this book a bit better.


    Do you think Shades of Grey needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Based on my love of Fforde's books, I would recommend a sequel, as it would be unlikely he would write a second less than awesome book.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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