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Michael Stringer

Melbourne, Australia
  • 25
  • reviews
  • 65
  • helpful votes
  • 180
  • ratings
  • The Rosie Project

  • Don Tillman, Book 1
  • By: Graeme Simsion
  • Narrated by: Dan O'Grady
  • Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 75
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70

The art of love is never a science.: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs The Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a 16-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. Yet, Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities and. Don easily disqualifies her as a suitable candidate (even if she is "quite intelligent for a barmaid").

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hilarious romance with a rational approach

  • By Michael Stringer on 06-15-15

Hilarious romance with a rational approach

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

Reviewed: 06-15-15

After 5 minutes listening and a moment of so much laughter that I had to stop the book, I knew that the Rosie Project is a winner. As a person diagnosed as borderline Asperger's Syndrome (actual BMI 23), I quickly empathised with the difficulties that Assoc. Prof. Don Tilman has had through his life.

As the story of a man whose brain works so differently to almost all others, and his long life journey to find his place in the world, including a romantic partner, the book works well. I liked the way the book gently stood up for people who do not conform to the neuro-typical, but did this within the context of a delightfully funny love story. Yes - aspys rule!

  • The Silver Pigs

  • Marcus Didius Falco, Book 1
  • By: Lindsey Davis
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 330
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 202
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 204

One fine day, A.D. 70, Sosia Camillina quite literally runs into Marcus Didius Falco on the steps of the Forum. It seems Sosia is on the run from a couple of street toughs, and after a quick and dirty rescue, P.I. Falco wants to know why.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful adventure...

  • By A Reader on 05-17-09

Story crept up and grabbed my interest

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

Reviewed: 06-15-15

After an uninspired start, that story gradually engaged and caught my interest. At first the style felt like the clichéd private investigator story given the cheap facade of an ancient setting. However all the characters grew richer and more interesting as the story went by, and the historical aspects were handled deftly. I found myself compelled to listen every spare moment I had.

  • Heirs and Graces

  • By: Rhys Bowen
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,731
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,406
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,393

As 35th in line for the throne, Lady Georgiana Rannoch may not be the most sophisticated young woman, but she knows her table manners. It's forks on the left, knives on the right - not in His Majesty's back….

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of My Favourites in the Series

  • By Dylan on 03-14-16

Engaging characters with a 'realistic' story

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

Reviewed: 06-21-14

In this story we see Georgie show some insight, but not much foresight. She is engaged by a Duchess to help a far-flung heir to the duchy learn the ways of the aristocracy. As she says herself, she doesn't show much aptitude to this task.

Then of course there is a murder and Georgie has to help solve it. The pace of solving the murder is extremely uneven, but I suspect probably quite realistic. No real progress occurs for ½ the story, then Georgie has a lucky guess in the last 10 minutes so that everything falls into place.

Fans of whodunnit stories may find this book frustrating, but those looking for a story of pleasant characters in living in the dying days of English great houses will be rewarded.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

  • By: Jack Weatherford
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
  • Length: 14 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,475
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,288
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,300

The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant, insightful, intriguing.

  • By Peter on 03-05-10

Humbling history of a genius leader

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

Reviewed: 04-15-14

The history of the Mongol Empire has been done a great disservice in the traditional Western education. This engaging, flowing book puts this right. It starts with the story of a young Genghis Khan that draws heavily on a semi-mythical history. However once it reaches the period of Genghis Khan's leadership of all Mongol people in the elected role of Great Khan, the narrative transitions into a less emotive style that still holds interest.

The book continues after the death of Genghis Khan to cover in detail the continued growth of the Mongol Empire until its zenith under Kublai Khan. The narrative closes with a summary of the decline of the empire, and how Western history has inaccurately and negatively portrayed the history of the Mongol people.

However what particularly interested me was all the detail on how the Mongol Empire functioned using a distinctly enlightened set of ideas. These included such concepts as religious tolerance, paper money, a cheap postal network, public education, a public service run on merit, and a frequent promotion of trade in preference to conquest. The Mongol Empire applied many ideas fundamental to modern Western civilisation many hundreds of years earlier than they appeared in Europe.

The book does play down the horror of Mongol conquest, and they did like conquest. After all the Mongol Empire didn't get so large without it. Once the Mongols had conquered an area though, it appears that the benefits of their good government flowed quickly.

I have a keen interest in the history of civilisations, and this book on the Mongol Empire is an excellent addition to that canon. I recommend it to anyone interested in the history of ideas.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Ender's Game

  • Special 20th Anniversary Edition
  • By: Orson Scott Card
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35,364
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,920
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,149

Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Enderverse

  • By Joe on 06-13-05

Well-crafted, but a psychological fantasy

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

Reviewed: 12-15-13

Ender's story builds on an English theme of children off at boarding school getting up to adventures and growing up before their time. Ender's battle school in space is harder than most, and the story of his challenges there as teaching focussed on simulated battles is engaging. There is always underlying doubt in the integrity of the teachers, and I waited the whole book for confirmation or refute. This thread of the narrative is well spun.

However ultimately the book fails because Ender doesn't really grow up. The stream of ideas that flow from Ender's mind from the time he is 6 until he is 13 doesn't change. He starts as 6 going on 16, and goes through what is the typical psychological journey of a young soldier. Yes we are told that Ender is a genetic extreme, but ultimately he is too grown up to be believable. I know that child prodigies exist, and Ender is clearly one, but prodigies still have some aspect of children's behaviour. Psychological evolution is not that fast.

  • Echo Burning

  • Jack Reacher 5
  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Jeff Harding
  • Length: 13 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 159
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 149
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 152

Jack Reacher, adrift in the hellish heat of a Texas summer. Looking for a lift through the vast empty landscape. A woman stops, and offers a ride. She is young, rich and beautiful. But her husband's in jail. When he comes out, he's going to kill her. Her family's hostile, she can't trust the cops, and the lawyers won't help. She is entangled in a web of lies and prejudice, hatred and murder.J ack Reacher never could resist a lady in distress.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • slow skow slow

  • By Lionel on 02-19-16

Excitement builds

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

Reviewed: 08-27-13

Jack Reacher stories are amphetamine in writing. A friend 'pushed' me into them last Christmas - the first 2 consumed every spare moment from my week's holiday, and a good many more moments than they should have. At the time I thought luckily there were no Audible versions.

Now there are! Initially I didn't like listening to this first one I experienced. Jeff Harding has the right voice for the genre, but his women's voices sound like little girls. It took me a long time to latch into the story.

However eventually I did, and I enjoyed it. Jack Reacher is the 21st-century Odysseus, and like all good myths, this one resonates on multiple levels. In addition 'Echo Burning' builds the tension slowly, and eventually it hits a point of pushing more adrenaline than ice climbing. It kept me coming back for more. I suspect that it will for all who like reading of an interesting hero sorting through interesting problems.

  • SPQR VI: Nobody Loves a Centurion

  • By: John Maddox Roberts
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 193
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 175
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 173

Julius Caesar, as we know, arrived in Gaul (now France) and announced "I Came, I Saw, I Conquered." But when Decius Metellus arrives from Rome, not seeking military glory but rather avoiding an enemy currently in power, he finds that although the general came and saw, so far, at least, he has far from conquered. The campaign seems at a standstill. Decius' arrival disappoints the great Caesar as well. He has been waiting for promised reinforcements from Rome, an influx of soldiers to restart his invasion. Instead he is presented with one young man ridiculously decked out in military parade finery and short on military skills.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Decius the reluctant warrior

  • By Michael Stringer on 08-27-13

Decius the reluctant warrior

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

Reviewed: 08-27-13

I have always enjoyed the SQPR stories more when Decius gets out of ROME, and this recounting of his adventures in Gaul particularly shines. A good part of the SPQR stories comprises the historical descriptions; taking the reader into the world and mindset of ancient Romans. With this story Mr Roberts gives us some experience of life in the Roman legions. That adds a lot more interest than another series of descriptions about the minutiae of life in Rome.

Decius's adventure with Caesar's legion unfolds at a satisfying pace. It is well dosed with humour and interesting characters. Decius is clearly a 'modern' man that we can identify with, and is also clearly a man out of his time. His contemporaries mostly think him mad, but I find him totally sane.

Anyone with an interest in historical novels will enjoy the delicate substance of this story intermingled with historical narrative. Anyone with an interest in the history of Ancient Rome would be foolish to miss this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Moving Pictures

  • Discworld, Book 10
  • By: Terry Pratchett
  • Narrated by: Nigel Planer
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 225
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 171

Cameras roll - which means the imps inside have to paint really fast - on the fantastic Discworld when the alchemists discover the magic of the silver screen. But what is the dark secret of Holy Wood hill? As the alien clichés of Tinsel Town pour into the world, it's up to the Disc's first film stars to find out.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pratchett + Planer = Perfection!

  • By Luke on 05-04-12

All diversions, not much story

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

Reviewed: 08-09-13

Terry Pratchett appears to have got a little obsessed with his panoply of characters when he wrote Moving Pictures. The book brims to overflowing with lots of little stories, but the core story feels short changed and shallow. It was so shallow that I can't even remember seeing it.

  • Backstage Pass

  • Sinners on Tour Series, Book 1
  • By: Olivia Cunning
  • Narrated by: Justine O. Keef
  • Length: 12 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,819
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,677
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,682

It's been months since Brian Sinclair, lead guitarist for the famous rock band Sinners, composed anything. Unable to write the music that once flowed so naturally, Brian is lost without his musical mojo. But when sexy psychology professor Myrna Evans comes on tour to study groupie mentality, Brian may have found the spark he needs to reignite his musical genius. When lust turns to love, will Brian be able to convince Myrna that what they have is more than just a fling, and that now that he's found his heart's muse, he doesn't want to live without her?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My favorite book... put into audio!

  • By Crystal on 01-02-13

Fun blend of erotica and romance

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

Reviewed: 07-27-13

Ms Cunning (a more obvious pseudonym I couldn't imagine) has given me a treat. She manages to set a fun series of erotic encounters into an authentic context, and then add an engaging romance into the mix.

Myrna's adventures with Bryan give the reader plenty of excitement. However the budding relationship between them, hindered by the shadow of her past, keeps everything 'real' and uncertain. I had a good time listening to this story - thanks Ms Cunning.

  • Outlaw Platoon

  • Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan
  • By: Sean Parnell, John Bruning
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,723
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,468
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,466

At 24 years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon - a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws - and was tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a mountain valley along Afghanistan's eastern frontier. Parnell and his men assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians, but in May 2006 what started out as a routine patrol through the lower mountains of the Hindu Kush became a brutal ambush.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book...Everyone should listen to this book!!

  • By Chris on 04-09-12

War well described

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

Reviewed: 05-11-13

Stories of war frequently fall into simplistic clichés, with portrayals of faultless heroes fighting nameless evil. Sean Parnell though, has avoided all the clichés (well almost all) to write a lucid, engrossing depiction of war in the 21st century.

He provides a rich, complete picture of the infantryman's experience, both physical and psychological, when trying to enforce peace in the face of insurgency. Sean avoids the political issues of why US soldiers are in Afghanistan, but doesn't shy away from the realities that his soldiers face as a result.

The book's most important contributions comprise its examination of the motives of each soldier for going to war, and how the army's organisation, their training, and their battle experience builds the intense brotherhood between them. In this Sean has given a contemporary perspective on a profession as old as human civilisation, that of the warrior.