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V. Stone

love2laugh

Colorado, USA

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 33 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Timescape

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Gregory Benford
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble, Pete Bradbury
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (85)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    In a future wracked by environmental catastrophe and social instability, physicist John Renfrew devises a longshot plan to use tachyons - strange, time-traveling particles - to send a warning to the past. In 1962, Gordon Bernstein, a California researcher, gets Renfrew's message as a strange pattern of interference in an experiment he's conducting.

    Mike Schultz says: "An enjoyable book with problems"
    "Amazingly well-written & poetic, plus totally cool"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is, quite simply, one of the best-written science fiction novels I have ever read. Scifi can be interesting, quirky, creative, but novels in this genre usually don't read like they're written by people who have mastered the craft of prose. This novel does. It sings!

    Interpersonal nuance, human foibles, narrative tension, and the poetry of the cosmos are all woven toegether expertly. Not only that, but the science is well-explained and is grounded in authentic quantum and relativity theories, though of course it's speculative, being about time travel paradoxes. Still, no hand-waving flux capacitors here! (As you'd expect, since the author is an academic astrophysicist.)


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I found that although the dramatic performances of the readers were truly excellent, the reading was sloppy in producing some errors, kind of like finding a lot of typos in a written book. The narrators (and especially Audible's editors, who should have caught this) should have been careful about catching these mistakes. One of the protagonist's partners is variously called Penny or Peggy early in the novel, and the phrase "causal loop" is always mis-read as "casual loop", which is laughable. There were one or two other reading errors that I don't remember, but that brought me up short because they didn't make sense.


    Any additional comments?

    There's a reason this is an award-winning novel! If you can prepare yourself to mentally substitute "causal loop" every time the narrators say "casual loop", you'll really enjoy listening to this.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Female Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Louann Brizendine
    • Narrated By Louann Brizendine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (372)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (152)

    Why are women more verbal than men? Why do women remember details of fights that men can't remember at all? Why do women tend to form deeper bonds with their female friends than men do with their male counterparts? These and other questions have stumped both sexes throughout the ages. Now, pioneering neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, M.D., brings together the latest findings to show how the unique structure of the female brain determines how women think and what they value.

    Michael Dillman says: "Great material :^D -- Agonizing orator >:^("
    "Appallingly bad science on an interesting topic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    1) Someone besides the author should have read it.

    2) The topic of how genes, neurons, and experiences all contribute to gender differences is an important and valuable topic in science, and one on which there is a lot of research on how these factors work together to create very real differences between men and women. This book does a true disservice to all of that scientific research. The author repeatedly used terms that are inappropriate for human brains: "hard-wired", "determined by genes," "driven by hormones." As a neuroscientist myself, I know that in the human brain, unlike in some animal brains, no neural connections are completely hard-wired.

    The way development works in human (and many primate and mammalian) brains allows for an elegant interaction of neuron growth regulated by genes, neural wiring regulated by experience, and genetic activity in neurons regulated by both genes and experience. It's a disservice to readers to portray brain development so inaccurately, as if it were less flexible than it really is.

    3) The scientist/author should have done what scientists are supposed to do: consider alternative hypotheses to her own, and how well various alternatives explain the data. did not even try to imagine how gender differences apparent in children aged 3 or 4 might be explained by experiences, but simply stated that if such differences were present at such a young age, they must be "genetically determined" or "controlled by hormones" or "hard-wired."

    There is ample research on how people treat even new-born babies differently depending, not on the baby's actual gender, but on what they think the baby's gender is. Boys are handled more roughly, girls more gently; people talk to boys and girls differently; as babies grow into toddlers who interact with others, girls are given disapproval if they are rough or assertive, whereas boys receive approval and praise for such behavior.

    None of this research is acknowledged, nor are the author's hypotheses ever truly considered in the scientific light of evidence that is inconsistent with the author's point of view. (We at least deserve to get her explanation of how to deal with such evidence.) Instead, an oversimplified narrative about gender is driven home, and many unsupported claims are made throughout the book, but written as though they constitute "scientific facts." This book gives science writing a bad name.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Louann Brizendine again?

    No.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Dull, flat voice.


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

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was a complete disappointment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steamed: A Steampunk Romance

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Katie MacAlister
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    Award-winning author Katie MacAlister has published dozens of acclaimed novels. When Captain Octavia Pye discovers people not wearing proper 19th-century fashions aboard her Victorian airship, she wonders if they’re pirates. The reality is—they’re actually from an alternate universe.

    Erika says: "Not worth the 9 hours"
    "The worst kind of drivel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Steamed better?

    A different story, and a different writing style would have made Steamed better.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Nothing by Kate MacAllister!


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Jonathan Davis and Bianca Amato ?

    Maybe.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Tired, bored disappointment. It read kind of like a teenager's inexperienced erotica, shallow characters, hackneyed plot, boring, boring, boring. There is good Steampunk literature out there. ZThere's even good erotica out there. This isn't part of either of those genres; it isn't even on the same map. Very sad.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Hours

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Karen White
    • Narrated By Beth Devries
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (138)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (79)

    When Piper Mills was 12, she helped her grandfather bury a box that belonged to her grandmother in the backyard. For 12 years, it remained untouched. Now a near-fatal accident has shattered Piper's dreams of Olympic glory. After her grandfather's death, she inherits the house and all its secrets, including a key to a room that doesn't exist - or does it? And after her grandmother is sent away to a nursing home, she remembers the box buried in the backyard.

    amanda says: "s...l...o...w... start"
    "A historical mystery, fun characters - diverting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    No, it was enjoyable. Not a great work of literature, but a really good summer vacation read. Showed a little bit of history and pre-civil-rights racism, and how people in the South covered up so much. I guess if you're going to repress more than half the population, a little shame and self-repression goes right along with it. But the characters were interesting, a little complex and not cartoonish, like they are in some of Karen White's other books.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narration detracted quite a lot. For novels set in the South, you have to get narrators who can truly do Southern accents. Ms. Devries' inconsistent accent for the main protagonist, kind of sloshing back and forth between a Yankee and a southern accent, was distracting. It constantly pulled me out of the story and made me aware I was listening to a recording.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    Overall
    (3679)
    Performance
    (3215)
    Story
    (3253)

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "Non-stop hilarious thrills"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Reamde in three words, what would they be?

    Chinese computer viruses, Al-Qaeda, the Russian mafia. All they have in common is a Midwestern farm girl.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Reamde?

    While exiting a building set on fire to escape the terrorists who are hot in pursuit, one of the characters feels vaguely guilty about using the emergency exit, since it's really only supposed to be used in emergencies. The book is full of such subtly drawn, amusing, and realistic psychological moments.


    Any additional comments?

    Neal Stephenson at his best. This could have used a little editing to tighten it up, but this was so much more fun and readable than the Baroque Cycle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Three Junes

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Julia Glass
    • Narrated By John Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1143)
    Performance
    (279)
    Story
    (283)

    Three Junes is a vividly textured symphonic novel set on both sides of the Atlantic during three fateful summers in the lives of a Scottish family. Three Junes "almost threatens to burst with all the life it contains...extraordinary," says Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours.

    Dagmar says: "Beautiful Narration of a Wonderful Story!"
    "Kind of pointless w-mildly interesting characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Julia Glass and/or John Keating?

    No, I would not read another book by Julia Glass unless I had some assurance that she had learned what a P-L-O-T is, or how to write a N-A-R-R-A-T-I-V-E. Some of the characters were kind of interesting, others, like the main protagonist, were just kind of, eh. The main problem is that there was absolutely no narrative arc. A novel is supposed to be more than: here are some people I invented in my head, and here are some things that they did, and that happened to them. What was the editor thinking? Why didn't this author get some guidance that she was only partway towards a novel? A really disappointing read/listen, and a waste of my money.


    Has Three Junes turned you off from other books in this genre?

    The genre of books without plots? Yes, definitely, don't want to read another one of those.


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

    Individual sentences and paragraphs were well-crafted. Dialogue was believable. John Keating did a good performance - the problem was with the writing, not the performance.


    Any additional comments?

    I was just so disappointed in whoever makes decisions about the Natl Book Award. It's a sad statement about American literature if a pointless, overly long, meandering nothing can win an award. Was there really nothing better written that year?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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