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SamanthaG

SamanthaG

Marietta GA | Member Since 2010

181
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 96 reviews
  • 234 ratings
  • 569 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • Factoring Humanity

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (295)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (258)

    In the near future, a signal is detected coming from the Alpha Centauri system. Mysterious, unintelligible data streams in for ten years. Heather Davis, a professor in the University of Toronto psychology department, has devoted her career to deciphering the message. Her estranged husband, Kyle, is working on the development of artificial intelligence systems and new computer technology utilizing quantum effects to produce a near-infinite number of calculations simultaneously.

    Michael says: "It's not as good as Sawyer's later novels"
    "He can do better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Have to say that Sawyer handles aliens better than he does humans. I loved his "Calculating God", but I found this one a bit difficult what with his trying to deal with a somewhat dysfunctional human family and the resolution of marital and familial discord.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cleopatra: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Stacy Schiff
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (770)
    Performance
    (381)
    Story
    (391)

    Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than 40 years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

    Shaun says: "A pretty good listen."
    "Great Book....Characters are brought to Life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this book. Great to listen to, so I bought the e-book to see it in print and re-read because I felt that, in listening, I lost a lot of the detail. Not to demean Audible books, but there's only so much you can assimilate when listening. I felt that Schiff made the characters seem like "real people" who did not look the hieroglyphic style art that we see of them. (Think Steve Martin on SNL). That was the picture of Egyptians (ancient) that I had prior to reading this book. Little did I know that Cleopatra wasn't Egyptian, but Greek. There's so much history here, presented in an interesting and human fashion. Cleo, herself, J. Caesar, Marc Anthony, Octavian, Cicero, Plutarch, et.al. Interesting that Cleopatra's "reputation" has been defiled over the centuries, much like Mary Magdalene's, which most likely neither deserved. A very good read!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast with Buddha: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Roland Merullo
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1149)
    Performance
    (986)
    Story
    (984)

    When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger---and amuse himself---he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way.

    Mary McCarthy says: "a thoughtful and often hilarious journey"
    "Loved this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Breakfast with Buddha in three words, what would they be?

    Love, Family, Oneness


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Can't choose between Otto and Rinpoche. Rinpoche is open to anything, has transcended anger and loves life - he has fun and is game for anything. (Goofy Golf?) Otto is a "good guy" and knows it, but he's still searching for "what it's all about" and doesn't know where to look.


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

    His voice for Otto is kind and you know he's a "good guy." He has a cute and believable accent for the voice of Rinpoche.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were a lot of them....Otto's relationship with his wife and children, especially his daughter. You can tell he loves them and vice-versa. Also, when Otto figured out that his sister and Rinpoche were in love. Otto became very perceptive during the trip. Hilarious moment....Rinpoche on the beach in a Speedo.


    Any additional comments?

    Just a really good, tender, feel-good book. Also compelling and funny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Buccaneers

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Edith Wharton
    • Narrated By Flo Gibson
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (28)

    Set in the 1870s, the same period as Wharton's The Age of Innocence, The Buccaneers is about five wealthy American girls denied entry into New York Society because their parents' money is too new. At the suggestion of their clever governess, the girls sail to London, where they marry lords, earls, and dukes who find their beauty charming—and their wealth extremely useful.

    John S. says: "Any longer and it would've started dragging"
    "Narrator speaks too fast"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Edith Wharton and/or Flo Gibson?

    No - my book club read The Age of Innocence a couple of years ago and I don't think I made it through that one either. This is also for book club. My problem with it so far (only to chapter 2) is that I can't understand the narrator because she speaks so rapidly AND has some sort of an accent. I've gone back to the beginning about 5 times and still can't concentrate enough on it for my mind not to wander.


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

    Yes, though I'm sure my criticisms don't apply to the entire genre.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    See above - speaking too fast and with an (?) accent. I tried to slow the speed to .75, but that delivery wasn't good - sort of stuttering.


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

    Didn't get that far.


    Any additional comments?

    I may try to get this as an e-book to read in print, but I'm thinking it may be a waste of money. Maybe I'll try a sample first.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 5 mins)
    • By Quintus Tullius Cicero, Philip Freeman
    • Narrated By Doug Kaye
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (130)

    How to Win an Election is an ancient Roman guide for campaigning that is as up-to-date as tomorrow's headlines. In 64 BC when idealist Marcus Cicero, Rome's greatest orator, ran for consul (the highest office in the Republic), his practical brother Quintus decided he needed some no-nonsense advice on running a successful campaign.

    Benedict says: "How to be a politician ..."
    "Politics doesn't change"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of How to Win an Election to be better than the print version?

    Yes, because the narrator gave the characters a human voice and connection, even 2000 years ago.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Win an Election?

    The advice to the candidate about how to "schmooze" people and to make promises that you know you can't keep.


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

    A human voice


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I can't really see this as a film.


    Any additional comments?

    It was so interesting to read this political advice treatise from so long ago and to realize that these historical figures were real human beings, not that different from us.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Timothy A. Pychyl
    • Narrated By Timothy A. Pychyl
    Overall
    (351)
    Performance
    (297)
    Story
    (289)

    The new audio edition of the self-published hit, offering powerful strategies to end procrastination!

    Why do we sabotage our own best intentions? How can we eliminate procrastination from our lives for good? Based on current psychological research and supplemented with clear strategies for change, this concise guide will help listeners finally break free from self-destructive ideas and habits, and move into freedom and accomplishment.

    Sara says: "A Procrastinator at Work Right Before Your Eyes"
    "Didn't give me answers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    As a habitual procrastinator, I was hoping for some easy strategies to change my habits. I felt that I got more empathy than advice. An interesting read and I'm glad that I have fellow procrastinators, but I wanted more "fix-it" info.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Don't think there was an "ending."


    Which character – as performed by Timothy A. Pychyl – was your favorite?

    No characters


    Do you think Solving the Procrastination Puzzle needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No because this one didn't help much.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Nina Teicholz
    • Narrated By Erin Bennett
    Overall
    (400)
    Performance
    (338)
    Story
    (344)

    Dish up the red meat, eggs, and whole milk! In this well-researched and captivating narrative, veteran food writer Nina Teicholz proves how everything we've been told about fat is wrong. For decades, Americans have cut back on red meat and dairy products full of "bad" saturated fats. We obediently complied with nutritional guidelines to eat "heart healthy" fats found in olive oil, fish, and nuts, and followed a Mediterranean diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, and grains. Yet the nation's health has declined. What is going on?

    Ted says: "Great book. Challenges your belief system."
    "Loved this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Big Fat Surprise rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very high - probably best non-fiction.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Not a story exactly, but a well-researched treatise on the American diet and its history. I especially liked the recounting of how the "Mediterranean Diet" came to be accepted as the "healthiest," and about how diet "experts" were attracted to seminars in warm southern European spots (Mediterranean) and subsequently settled on the diet of the region as healthy with only sketchy evidence to support that conclusiont. Also, the lack of evidence, because of lack of studies, that women and children would benefit from a low saturated fat diet....and the fact that poly-unsaturated fats were healthier, which caused a sea change in the American diet with dubious results.


    Have you listened to any of Erin Bennett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I liked her narration. I don't believe I've heard any of her other performances.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No....too long, and a lot of info to digest.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't accept all of Teicholz's conclucions as gospel facts and have read some critiques of her work which raise significant questions. But I do think that research on diet has been headed in her direction. Witness, the Atkins low carb diet, which was derided as ridiculous and unhealthy for years, but now has gained a lot of mainstream acceptance.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Legendarium

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Kevin G. Summers, Michael Bunker
    • Narrated By Robert Rossmann
    Overall
    (429)
    Performance
    (390)
    Story
    (393)

    In every generation, certain writers are chosen to be protectors of The Legendarium, a metaphysical library that exists at the nexus of the multiverse. Inside this library are doorways that lead to every world ever created in literature. There are forces of evil constantly at work to destroy the library and send the world back into an age of darkness. Now, in a time of growing illiteracy, two heroes are chosen to defend The Legendarium.

    Elizabeth Hauris says: "If Butcher & Fforde had a child, this would be it."
    "Sorry, but it bored me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Legendarium?

    Just wasn't very interesting. Don't remember too much about it, but that says something, I think.


    What could Kevin G. Summers and Michael Bunker have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    ?


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Robert Rossmann?

    Sure, no problem with him.


    What character would you cut from Legendarium?

    Oh, dear - I don't remember any.


    Any additional comments?

    Well, no.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Sideways

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Rex Pickett
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (123)

    Sideways is the story of two friends, Miles and Jack, going away together for the last time to steep themselves in everything that makes it good to be young and single: pinot, putting, and prowling bars. In the week before Jack plans to marry, the pair heads out from Los Angeles to the Santa Ynez wine country.

    C. D Strother says: "if you liked the movie, you will like the book"
    "Movie was better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Rex Pickett and/or Scott Brick?

    Though not usually true, I found the movie much more engaging and funny than the book upon which it was based. Maybe I already knew all the jokes?? I stopped listening about 2/3 of the way through because, well, it was boring and I knew the end. The women - love interests - weren't fully fleshed out in the book, but they absolutely were in the movie.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Rex Pickett again?

    Maybe - depends on subject matter.


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    I thought he did a good job with what I would consider mediocre prose.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Sideways?

    The scene in which Miles steals from his mother. I thought his economic problems could have been brought to light in a softer way. I felt that way about the movie, too, although the scenes were somewhat different.


    Any additional comments?

    Hilarious movie....not so much the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Art Forger

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By B. A. Shapiro
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1095)
    Performance
    (955)
    Story
    (957)

    Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting - a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum - in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire's studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery. Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late 19th century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.

    Cynthia says: "The Art Forger"
    "Likeable - but somewhat flawed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Art Forger? What did you like least?

    The story was well written and interesting and concerned something I knew little about. I found the complexity of forging works of art incredibly compelling - and it could have been dull. There were nice twists and turns in the plot which kept me reading and listening since I had both the e-book and the audio book. What I did not like was that the story was told in present tense. This was much more apparent and awkward sounding when listening than when reading print. Everything that happened was actually in the past and the protagonist (Claire) was doing the recounting. If someone else, the author, say or a fictional narrator, were telling the story, it could be told effectively in present tense, but not in 1st person and present tense about things that have already happened.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Have to say Claire. She was a person "in-the-making" - young and finding her way in the world. She was honest with herself and not afraid to show her youthful naïveté.


    How could the performance have been better?

    In general, the narration was OK. However, the men all sounded alike and had a croaky, gravelly voice. They sounded like old men and I think they were supposed to be fairly young. This is one of my recurrent narration complaints - men trying to sound like women and women trying to sound like men Sometimes more than one narrator is called for.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    It would make a great movie!....so yes. I'd love to see the art-work or copies of it (pun intended) that was being spoken about. Also like to see the process of forging or copying art. The men would be played by male actors, so they'd sound like men. And be young and good-looking, too.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd give this 3 1/2 stars if possible..it's not quite 4 IMO. All in all, an enjoyable read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, and the Unique Child who Became Theodore Roosevelt

    • ABRIDGED (8 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (343)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (118)

    Winner of the 1982 National Book Award for Biography, Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as a masterpiece by Newsday, it is the story of a remarkable little boy, seriously handicapped by recurrent and nearly fatal attacks of asthma, and his struggle to manhood.

    Michael O'Brien says: "Great!"
    "Somewhat Dry"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from David McCullough and/or Edward Herrmann?

    Maybe, depending on the subject for McCullough; yes for Edward Herrmann. I enjoyed his narration. Also, because I listened to the abridged version, the woman who voiced the parts that I assumed were the abridged parts to bring us up to date. Clever to have someone with a completely different voice do that so that the listener knows what's actual text from the book. Wonder if there'a an abridged print or e-book that fills in the holes.


    Would you be willing to try another book from David McCullough? Why or why not?

    Pretty much the same question above? I selected the abridged version because of the length of the book in its entirety. I know I wouldn't have lasted through 20 some-odd hours of this. So, doubtful that I would select another book by McCullough unless it was about someone I had an interest in.


    What about Edward Herrmann’s performance did you like?

    His voice was pleasant and easy to understand.


    What else would you have wanted to know about David McCullough’s life?

    Well, other books he's authored - I know he's been rather prolific. Otherwise, not much.


    Any additional comments?

    This is not my favorite genre - I read it because it was a book club selection. I found the beginning rather confusing since Theodore, pere, and Theodore, fils, were both referred to as "Theodore" many times. So I had to re-listen to the beginning of the book to sort that out. I wish he had differentiated them whenever they were mentioned, at least until Daddy Theodore died.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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