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chris

Kelowna, BC, Canada | Member Since 2003

339
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 63 reviews
  • 124 ratings
  • 572 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
14

  • The Farseer: Assassin's Apprentice

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Robin Hobb
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2636)
    Performance
    (1932)
    Story
    (1959)

    With unforgettable characters, a sweeping backdrop, and passionate storytelling, this is a fantasy debut to rival that of Robert Jordan. Filled with adventure and bloodshed, pageantry and piracy, mystery and menace, Assassin's Apprentice is the story of a royal house and the young man who is destined to chart its course through tempests of change.

    Jake says: "Great book"
    "Diary of a Wimpy Assassin"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I ended up buying all three books, and I enjoyed them, but it was really hard to like this hero. He is not much of an assassin. The only assassinations he does are by poisoning and those are mostly zombies, and he feels guilty about it. He kills in self defense and feels guilty about it. He doesn't take out the really bad people, even though everyone knows they are the really bad people and he would have saved thousands of lives and endless suffering if he had poisoned them too, because of some promise he made... but mostly because it would end the story too soon.

    He has magic ability he doesn't want to use and doubts himself constantly and really hates himself... but ends up saving the kingdom anyway... and gets little credit for it. He spends a large chunk of the third book on a useless quest, and all the while he is thinking (and I was thinking) this is a bad idea. And it was.

    Conan he is not. He is more like Conan's half-witted baby sister.

    Despite all that, the plot was good, the world was rich, and the narration was very good. There is magic and herbology and animal kinship woven in here. I enjoyed it overall. I just wish the main character had more backbone.

    19 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • A Memory of Light: Wheel of Time, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5407)
    Performance
    (4902)
    Story
    (4966)

    Since 1990, when Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time® burst on the world with its first book, The Eye of the World, listeners have been anticipating the final scenes of this extraordinary saga, which has sold over 40 million copies in over 32 languages. When Robert Jordan died in 2007, all feared that these concluding scenes would never be written. But working from notes and partials left by Jordan, established fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson stepped in to complete the masterwork.

    Amazon Customer says: "End of one of my favorite fantasy series ever."
    "Wow.... just... wow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Hard to believe I have been reading this series for 20 years. The first five books or so were stellar, then it started to drag on as Jordan brought in more and more characters and storylines. People began to question if he had lost control of the story. I was one of them. Sure enough, some of those plotlines were forgotten, by me anyway. However, it started to pick up again around book ten (IIRC) and the last three books by Sanderson have been outstanding. This last book is the best I've read in a long time. Kudos to Jordan and Sanderson for a thundering epic fantasy series, and the narrators for bringing it to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Robert Macfarlane
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (36)

    In this exquisitely written book, Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge, England, home to follow the ancient tracks, holloways, drove roads, and sea paths that crisscross both the British landscape and its waters and territories beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, and of pilgrimage and ritual. Told in Macfarlane’s distinctive voice, The Old Ways folds together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology, and literature.

    chris says: "A perfect pairing of prose and narrator"
    "A perfect pairing of prose and narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is about walking along old paths, and not much more than that, however Macfarlane's prose is flawless and beautifully descriptive; it immediately drew me in. The narrator's voice is soft and hypnotic with a slight English lilt. I have never heard a better pairing of book and narrator. They weave in a considerable amount of history about these paths along the way, from Britain to Israel to Spain to Tibet. I enjoyed it enough to read it again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Giver

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Lois Lowry
    • Narrated By Ron Rifkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2538)
    Performance
    (1776)
    Story
    (1815)

    December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man, the man called only the Giver, he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

    far_to_go says: "Annoying music"
    "What the heck did I just read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book starts slowly but depicts the utopian society well. The writing and descriptions are strong. I give the book three stars for that. But I found most of what was shocking to be predictable, and the ending was a letdown. The author didn't know how to end it, so he left it vague for the reader to figure out. Was it a dream? Was it real? Was it magic? Was it some benevolent deity? You decide. No, Mr. Author, you decide -- that's your job, not mine.

    The setting is a spin on some old ideas. An Orwellian society was done in, well, 1984. The idea of society's sacrificial lamb has been explored before, such as Jackson's short story "The Lottery" which came out in 1948.

    And there were huge plot holes. The author had a strong theme and point to make, which I applaud, but didn't plug the holes. I would have enjoyed this more if I wasn't constantly bothered by pesky questions.

    Warning: slight spoilers...

    If you buy the vague existentialism of everyone's feelings and memories being contained in one person and released violently if he/she dies, fine, but if they are so dangerous why do they leave it all up to one person? They think of everything else, so what about a backup Giver in case the one and only Giver decides to, I don't know, off himself because he can't take the suffering and isolation anymore? And seeing color is due to physical hard wiring, every mammal has it to a certain extent. You can't lose it because you can't remember what war or snow is like.

    And the big one: you take a 12 year old who has not experienced suffering of any kind, then torture him every day for a year, tell him he is going to be an outcast for the rest of his life, tell him he has nothing to look forward to but a life of pain and isolation, tell him there will be no one he can talk to about it until some decades later when he is going to inflict all this on some other poor kid that he has to select himself... why are you surprised when the kid tries to escape? And I can't believe the last Receiver selected was the first since "back and back" who killed herself. This would happen every time.

    And finally, where does the kid pedal his bike, for hours and weeks on end? If he was going through forest thick enough to hide from airplanes, where did he find roads to ride on?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Happy Accidents: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Jane Lynch, Carol Burnett (foreword)
    • Narrated By Jane Lynch, Carol Burnett
    Overall
    (252)
    Performance
    (229)
    Story
    (228)

    In the summer of 1974, a 14-year-old girl in Dolton, Illinois, had a dream - a dream to become an actress. But it was a long way from the South Side of Chicago to Hollywood, and it didn’t help that she’d recently dropped out of the school play, The Ugly Duckling, or that the Hollywood casting directors she wrote to replied that "professional training was a requirement". But the funny thing is, it all came true....

    Tzachariah Krosz says: "I liked Jane Lynch before this book....."
    "Interesting but not life changing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked up this book because hers was my favorite minor character on 2 1/2 Men. I liked her in 40 Year Old Virgin too. I've never watched Glee so I only know her in bit parts, and I had no idea she had so many. I Youtubed and found her appearances in movies, TV shows, and commercials I had seen over the years and sure enough, she has been everywhere. It's great to see a hard working and abundantly talented actor finally hit big. The title is misleading -- she had Happy Accidents, it's true, but also decades of persistence, hard work, and lifetime connections that paid off.

    However I couldn't relate to her life story, and while interesting it didn't grab me. I enjoyed the book though, and it was narrated by a pro -- herself.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Final Empire: Mistborn Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8874)
    Performance
    (6286)
    Story
    (6324)

    For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison.

    Lore says: "Book 1 of a great series that is not to be missed!"
    "Incredibly good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Immediately after reading this book I got the other two, so I'm reviewing all together: the characters and the stories were original and startlingly great. The series is as good as The Wheel of Time before Jordan lost his way at around, oh, book six or so. Never a dull or predictable moment. I enjoyed every minute of this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Janet Reitman
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1119)
    Performance
    (927)
    Story
    (940)

    Scientology, created in 1954 by a prolific sci-fi writer named L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be the world's fastest-growing religion, with millions of members around the world and huge financial holdings. Its celebrity believers keep its profile high, and its teams of "volunteer ministers" offer aid at disaster sites such as Haiti and the World Trade Center. But Scientology is also a notably closed faith, harassing journalists and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating the highest levels of government to further its goals.

    Matt says: "My cup of tea."
    "Inspirational"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the story of how a dreamer can become a charismatic con man and then a religious leader with thousands of fanatic followers, and his very own pretend navy. It's a story of how those fanatics will swallow anything and will bully and harass anyone who opposes them, until even the mighty IRS is afraid to stand up to them. It shows that no matter how ridiculous the story, if you call it a religion and really sell it, someone will buy it. If anyone can read this book and not be inspired to go out and find their own army of fools, I will be not surprised. Because there are so many idiots in this world, and Hubbard has surely sucked them all in already.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • True Grit

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Charles Portis
    • Narrated By Donna Tartt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1964)
    Performance
    (1122)
    Story
    (1127)

    Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, sets out to avenge her Daddy who was shot to death by a no-good outlaw. Mattie convinces one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest U.S. marshal in the land, to ride along with her. In True Grit, we have a true American classic, as young Mattie, as vital as she is innocent, outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten men of the trail in a legend that will last through the ages.

    Tommygaus says: "So worth it!"
    "I don't get what the fuss is about"
    Overall

    It's a good story, but short, with great, but few, characters. It's more of a novella than a novel. I enjoyed it but I wouldn't consider it a classic. The ending was a bit predictable, and the denouement whipped through several decades and left a lot of questions.

    I docked a star for the poor narration. The narrator's voice was perfect, but her lip smacking, breath noises, and pregnant pauses ruined it for me. I have never heard such a clunky sound track. I don't understand why they didn't simply edit them out -- just a few hours' work in Audacity and the narration would have been smooth and professional.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Full Dark, No Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson, Jessica Hecht
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2381)
    Performance
    (1132)
    Story
    (1128)

    "I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger...." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922", the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

    Parusski says: "Eerie, honest, frightening!"
    "A page turner (virtually)"
    Overall

    It's nice to see the master back in full form. This collection of novellas doesn't have a dud in the bunch. I found myself eagerly awaiting to see what happened next, which is odd considering they were short and simple stories. The characters are incredibly strong and placed in real situations so vivid that I found myself caring about them. The narration is excellent.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • I'd Rather We Got Casinos

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Larry Wilmore
    • Narrated By Larry Wilmore
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (45)

    Within these pages are the musings, the revelations, the ruminations, and the reflections of the incomparable Larry Wilmore. Here, collected for the first time, all in one place, are his Black Thoughts. From why black weathermen make him feel happy (or sad) and why brothas don't see UFOs to his search for Black Jesus or his quest to replace "African-American" with "chocolate," Wilmore has finally relented, agreeing to share his unique (black) perspective.

    chris says: "Some bits funny, some not"
    "Some bits funny, some not"
    Overall

    I always enjoy Wilmore's spots on The Daily Show. His mild take on racism has some unexpected reversals -- like the title, "I'd rather we got casinos". The bits in this book are in the same vein but most go on too long and lack punch. I would say it's amusing most of the time and funny only some of the time. His delivery is perfect though. He is an excellent narrator.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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