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Kingsley

Henely Brook, Australia
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  • And the Wolf Shall Dwell

  • By: Joni Dee
  • Narrated by: Paul Jenkins
  • Length: 5 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

Imagine being knocked over by a strange old man on a cold London morning. The man delivers a garbled message about the queen. Moments later he falls under the wheels of a train. The media calls it suicide, but you know better - something doesn't quite add up. That was the start of the day for John Daniel, a foreign professional working in the city of London.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A spy comes in from the cold

  • By Kingsley on 11-12-18

A spy comes in from the cold

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-12-18

Adam Grey was a Cold War spy for Britain's MI6, although now he had retired. But when someone contacts MI6 using an old process and code, Grey has to come out of retirement to find out what the cryptic message is all about. And this time the trouble for England might go all the way to the top.

The story is interesting and realistic, tying together old school spy methods with newer skills like programming. The story is based in current world politics and terrorism and fells like it is at least plausible. The spy work here is grounded - more Jack Ryan than James Bond.

Generally the writing is good. There is times there is too much of an information dump. Where we are told background information or history on characters through the non-character narrator, whereas it would have been better for this information to come through in dialogue or internal reports between people within MI6. Just bringing this information into the story, rather than having it giving external to the story, would have improved the work.

Narration by Paul Jenkins is good. I liked his accents and characters. It made it easy to follow and distinguish what was going on. He was clear and well paced. Overall a good piece of narration and an enjoyable book.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this review voluntarily.

#spies #ColdWar #UnlikelyHero #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

  • Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane

  • Words and Music
  • By: Patti Smith
  • Narrated by: Patti Smith
  • Length: 1 hr and 23 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 407
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 369
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 365

Patti Smith: Words and Music features live audio of performances captured over three evenings at the Minetta Lane Theatre, woven into a single, one-of-a-kind audio event.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A bonus for fans of Just Kids & M Train

  • By tru britty on 11-02-18

A great introduction to Patti Smith

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-12-18

Patti Smith is a singer-songwriter, poet, visual artist, and author of highly recommended audiobook 'Just Kids'. This, however, is my first introduction to her and her work. Recorded live on stage, 'Patti Smith and the Minetta Lane' is her, some of her family and her friends telling stories of her life, playing music, and reading her poetry. The stories include the background of her music, her life on the road, interactions with people like Alan Ginsberg (who thought she was a guy).

This is great introduction to Patti Smith. It shows her talent, her heart, and her humor. Looks like I will be adding 'Just kids' to my Audible wish list. And I might have to go find some of her music.

It is recorded live, with an audience. The sound quality shows that. That is not to say it is bad quality - there is no issue with the quality at all - just that there is laughter and applause throughout. There is interaction with the crowd, which adds to the charm.

#Poetry #Performance #musicians #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

  • The Revolution of ’28

  • Al Smith, American Progressivism, and the Coming of the New Deal
  • By: Robert Chiles
  • Narrated by: Peter Lerman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

The Revolution of ’28 explores the career of New York governor and 1928 Democratic presidential nominee Alfred E. Smith. Robert Chiles peers into Smith’s work and uncovers a distinctive strain of American progressivism that resonated among urban, ethnic, working-class Americans in the early 20th century. The book charts the rise of that idiomatic progressivism during Smith’s early years as a state legislator through his time as governor of the Empire State in the 1920s, before proceeding to a revisionist narrative of the 1928 presidential campaign.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lerman owns it!

  • By HARRYWILL on 11-04-18

Progressiveness and a lost Presidential run

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-12-18

'The Revolution of ’28' tells the rise and fall of NY Governor and US Presidential candidate Al Smith, and his relationship to progressivism. Going into reading this book I knew very little of him. I knew he had lost a Presidential election to Herbert Hoover, and I knew he was sometimes mentioned as an inspiration for FDR's New Deal. This book goes into details on both those things and more.

The book doesn't tell his full biography. That is not it's focus. It's focus is on his gubernatorial work, and subsequent presedential run. It focuses on his political positions and progressiveness, not on the man himself.

Much of the presidential election discussion focuses on the opposition to him (and also the support given to him for the same reasons) based on the fact that he was Catholic, and no the fact he has stood against the KKK. It very much presents the idea that these two things added together to bring people against him. Having only got 40% of the popular vote, and only 87 electoral college votes, he was soundly beaten.

The author never draws any conclusions or comments on this to our current political climate, but it is hard for a reader to not notice the similarities in recent elections, with the 'Obama is Muslim' concerns, and the 'is Trump aligned with the KKK' comments.

There is also a section within the presidential election period where the book goes off on a tangent around textile factories, the unions and how the downturn at the time was affecting wages and costs. I found this section very interesting, but it was a little bit too removed from the main story of Al Smith. Yes, it fed into the election, and the climate of the times, but it was beyond the detail needed to

The book doesn't go into much detail of after the election. it talks about how Smith started to become much, much more conservative and actually disagreed with many of the New Deal policies, many of which were once his own policies. It talks briefly about how and why his post election self became a contradiction of who he once was.

Certainly an interesting book, on a person and subject that you don't hear much on - a losing Presidential run.

Narration by Peter Lerman was good. Clear, precise, well paced and easy to follow. no particular issues in his narration or the recording.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this review voluntarily.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Skyward

  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Suzy Jackson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 958
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 908
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 908

From Brandon Sanderson, the number one New York Times best-selling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, and the internationally best-selling Mistborn series, comes the first book in an epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war for humanity's future.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another fantastic story from Sanderson.

  • By Drew on 11-09-18

If you like Ender's Game or Sanderson check it out

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-08-18

Skyward is a bit of a change for Sanderson. Rather than his typical Fantasy works, this is very much a science fiction. Even his other most ‘sci-fi’ type series, Reckoners, is superheros. This is spaceships, strange planets, artificial intelligence, and aliens. In some ways it reminds me of Ender's Game - teens training to fight in an alien war.

Set on an alien planet, with the scattered survivors of a war with aliens, the story follows a young lady from the lowest rungs of society. He father was a military pilot, who died in disgrace and thus she is now living in disgrace. She becomes a cadet pilot, to try follow in her father’s footstep and redeem his name. Due to her father’s actions she is living outside the main society, which enables her to stumble upon a broken down spaceship unlike any the human or enemy aliens have. If she can fix it and learn to fly, she might just be able to redeem her family’s name and make a difference in the war.

The book is Young Adult, like Reckoners and Rithmatist. The characters are mostly teens, and there is the typical tropes of the YA genre in here. But it is an exemplar version of YA sci-fi. Like much YA it is told in first person, from the point of view of the young lady. It tells her inner monologue of discovery, self-doubt and (possible) romance. There is the grizzly 'drill sergeant with a heart of gold' type character who trains the cadets.

Narration by Suzy Jackson is good. She is clear and well paced, with no issues. She differentiates the characters from one another, and the internal voice of the main character from spoken words or general narration. It makes it all very easy to follow. I found the narration to be enjoyable and well done. No audio or production issues at all either.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • 21 Days of Effective Communication

  • Everyday Habits and Exercises to Improve Your Communication Skills and Social Intelligence (Positive Psychology Coaching Series, Book 17)
  • By: Ian Tuhovsky
  • Narrated by: Randy Streu
  • Length: 2 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

In 21 Days of Effective Communication, you'll learn not only why the way you communicate makes all the difference to your success, but also just how easy it is to eliminate bad communication habits, overcome your limitations, and build better relationships.    

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Its all about communicating

  • By cosmitron on 10-19-18

Good exercises to improve communications

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-08-18

'21 Days of Effective Communication' gives a three week program to improve your listening skills. each day a new exercise of skill is added, building on the previous day's training. It is not expected that in 21 days you will pick up all the skill perfectly, just that you will be on your way to much more effective communication.

Skills and exercises include
- better listening
- noting how often you interrupt others
- expand your vocabulary
- use 'and' rather than 'but'
- offer help to others
- manners
- don't try to score points
- focus on behavior, not character
- don't put yourself down
- shut down nosey people
and man others.

The audiobook also comes with a supplemental ebook, available from the author's website.

Narration by Randy Streu is good. It is straight forward, well paced and easy to listen to. No audio of vocal issues.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this review voluntarily.

  • The Wizard Without a Wand

  • Volume 1
  • By: Dale Stubbart
  • Narrated by: Gareth Johnson
  • Length: 1 hr and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

In this first title of the series, we meet this wizard without a wand - Shmedley Thrumbledack - and his closest friends in their first year at Wizard School. This Wizard School is so expensive that Shmedley's parents run out of money buying his supplies and don't have enough left over to buy him a wand.  

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • More Dicsworld than Harry Potter

  • By Kingsley on 11-05-18

More Dicsworld than Harry Potter

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-05-18

While this book is listed in the 'swords and sorcery' section, it is very much a kids, maybe early teens, book. The cover, with an adult on it, is deceptive. The wizard school is a high school, with the characters being 14-15 years old.

It is almost impossible nowadays to have a 'wizards goes to wizards school' story without Harry Potter comparisons. So here it is: This book is not Harry Potter. HP is serious, at times dark, and with deep themes of love and loss and family. this book is a fun, absurdist delve into a strange world. Imagine more Discworld's Unseen University rather than Hogwarts. Professors, students, logic etc is all a bit off kilter. It's fun and strange and interesting.

Once you get what the book is going for in style, it's easy to enjoy.

That isn't to say it is perfect. There is a little too much info dump (for example how the grading system works). Partially due to the length much is just brushed over. Few characters get any real depth, as do few situations. The school term/semester just flies by with little telling of what actually goes on other than broad strokes. The whole thing could have been fleshed out more to give an actual feel for the school and characters

And the book just ends. There is a bit of a cliffhanger, but not much. It almost feels like the end of Act One, so you don't get anything like a full story arc. To know the rest you will have to pick up the rest of the books, but the ending isn't one that leaves you with a "must know" feeling.

Narration by Gareth Johnson is really good. Initially I really disliked narration. To the point I wondered if I could get through the book. It is over-the-top, and I really disliked the way the main characters name was said. Every time it was said it is painful. But the author describes in the text how the name is supposed to be said, and Johnson get's it right. And that's the thing, the over the top, slightly annoying narration is perfect for the book. Once I realised what the book was going to be, rather than what i initially thought it might be, it all fell into place. It suits the text and the characters and the silly humour of the whole thing really well. It's the right narration for it.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this review voluntarily.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Killing of Tupac Shakur

  • By: Cathy Scott
  • Narrated by: Elise Black
  • Length: 8 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 11

Poet, movie star, revolutionary - Tupac Amaru Shakur was the most popular rapper in the world. No one symbolized the violence at the heart of gangsta rap more than Tupac, and he ultimately fell victim to that violence, gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas at the age of 25. This raw, no-holds-barred account discloses new information about the unsolved murder of Tupac: the failed investigation, the rap wars, the killing of Biggie Smalls, the Bloods-Crips connection, and the many possible motives leading to the murder that rocked the music world. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dead of alive, Tupac lives on.

  • By Maria Becker on 10-11-18

A touchstone in modern music history

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-05-18

Tupac's music has never really interested me. And he doesn't seem at all like the sort of person I would want to have anything to do with. But his music and his person are an important cultural touchstone for modern music. His murder, in a drive by shooting, is a key event in rap/hiphop history. And by telling the details of the history, this is an important book.

Author Cathy Scott is a journalist from Las Vegas, where the murder occurred. At the time, and in the following years, she reported on the event, interviewed key people, and followed up on the fallout. This book is a culmination of her years of interviews and reporting. It is in depth and interesting throughout.

The book opens with the night of the murder, before going into the details of the investigation. The middle third then goes back and tells Tupac's story - who he was, what his music meant, his history with guns and gangs and the supposed east-west rivalry. It tells of his previous gun shot injuries, which he claimed was an attempt on his life staged as a mugging.

The book then rounds out looking at the fallout of Tupac's murder - further murders and death of witnesses and friends, and potential revenge killings such as the death of Biggy Smalls. The book also addresses, briefly, the conspiracy theory of Tupac not being dead, explaining why this is not a realistic idea.

It is extremely well researched and well written. Engaging throughout.

Narration by Elise Black is good. Well paced, clear, interesting and engaging. No issues at all with her narration.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this review voluntarily.

  • The Dead and the Desolate

  • By: Paul S Huggins
  • Narrated by: Paul Cram
  • Length: 2 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

This small anthology is a collection of short stories and drabbles that feature Death and desolation in varying degrees. Whether it is a lonely man travelling through a dead England, a post nuclear journey home, a man in chains, the apocalypse caused by an innocuous plant, hope from the infected, or nocturnal visitations, they all offer the loneliness and isolation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • horror thats not all about the scares

  • By KD on 11-05-18

A collection of post-apocalyptic stories

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-05-18

Paul Higgins has put together another enjoyable collection of short stories. Most deal with a post apocalyptic world, often with zombies. All deal with loneliness and loss. Despite the sameness of the setting Huggins shows his range in style, with each story being unique. There are stories from the point of view of 'good' guys, from 'bad' guys, first person, third person etc. He keeps it fresh.

Between each story is a 1 minute mini story. These are extremely short, but work really well to break up the larger stories. I thought it was a great addition to the overall presentation of the book.

Narration by Paul Cram is good. He is well paced and easy to listen to. he is engaging. However there is a low hiss/hum through the entire recording (it is highlighted at the end of chapters when there is a slight break from it) that brings the overall production down a bit.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this review voluntarily.

  • An Elbow, a Flower, a Stairwell or Two

  • By: Dale Stubbart
  • Narrated by: Gareth Johnson
  • Length: 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 5

From across the room, he noticed her elbow. As he traced the curve of her elbow with his eyes, he noticed something stenciled there. At this distance, he should not have been able to tell that that something was a flower. But he could, so he gave up reasoning for reality. His eye started tracing the lines of the flower. He was only vaguely aware that the flower was drawn on a woman's elbow some 20 yards away.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Creative and interesting.

  • By cosmitron on 11-02-18

Escher-like world of 'what the hell is going on?'

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-05-18

This book is an MC Escher drawing turned onto a book. A tattoo melds into a staircase, the staircase into another world. Scene change in an instant. The protagonist, and the reader, are constantly thrown off as to where they are and what is going in a swirl on non sequitur and constant change. And yet, it's generally an enjoyable ride.

I listened through this twice, to see if I could work out what exactly is going on with the constant swirl. Is it drugs? is it virtual reality? is it insanity? Or something else? And while there is some suggestions at the end as to what was the cause, it's never made clear. I think the best way to enjoy this is revel in the insanity of what is going on and just enjoy the ride. Yes, try work it out, but more just get swept along with it.

There is some things that felt off in the writing. Midway through the book it changes from a third person point of view to first person. Maybe it was intentional, maybe part of the 'keep the reader off kilter' approach, but didn't sit well.

Narration by Gareth Johnson is good. It has an energy to it that works really well with the text, while still being well paced and clear.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this review voluntarily.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Strong Ending

  • A Journey from Combat to Comedy
  • By: Audible Originals
  • Narrated by: Mary-Louise Parker
  • Length: 1 hr and 16 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,439
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,292
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,292

It’s always hard to make the crowd laugh - especially when joking about war, PTSD, and mental health. Strong Ending follows three military veterans as they attempt to turn their most painful stories into laughs by participating in a stand-up comedy boot camp. After joining the military, deploying to combat zones, and coming home fundamentally changed, Michael Garvey, Isaura Ramirez, and Patrick Harth challenge themselves to share their stories on stage and perform original stand up-comedy about their experiences for a packed house. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Healing Through Comedy

  • By Bjorn on 11-04-18

Battling PTSD with Comedy

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-01-18

What if the best way to combat PTSD is to give veterans a microphone and get them to perform stand up comedy? That is the premise of this short documentary.

There are jokes, and stand up comedy, in here but that is not the bulk of this. It is about mental health. It's an important, and sometimes heavy, topic lightened by some mixed in comedy.

'Strong Ending' tells the story of several veterans who when returning from the front were diagnosed with PTSD, and the joined a comedy workshop to work through the PTSD. they talk about how it has helped. It's not a cure all, but it helps them discuss their issues and release built up pressure. They speak to Doctors and Psychologists about the effects of PTSD and why comedy is an effective release.

While it is narrated by actress Mary-Louise Parker, it is as much interviews as her narration. Interviews with comedians, interviews with doctors and psychologists. There is music and sound effects. The whole thing is well put together. The live sections of stand up comedy, which is not significant, is generally lower quality but that is to be expected for live recording from small comedy clubs. But the general mixing and quality of the audio, as well as Parker's narration is great.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful