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Heidi

Maple Valley, WA, United States
  • 13
  • reviews
  • 32
  • helpful votes
  • 174
  • ratings
  • The Player of Games

  • By: Iain M. Banks
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,390
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,152
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,157

The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game...a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life - and very possibly his death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great introduction to The Culture series

  • By Ken on 08-04-11

a well written and engaging story.

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

Reviewed: 06-27-18

i found it difficult to find a slow place in the story to put the book down.

  • On Basilisk Station

  • Honor Harrington, Book 1
  • By: David Weber
  • Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,397
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,590
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,587

Honor Harrington has been exiled to Basilisk station and given an antique ship to police the system. The vindictive superior who sent her there wants her to fail. But he made one mistake: he's made her mad....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thanks for the memories

  • By ShySusan on 03-23-13

An easy read that moves along at a good pace.

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

Reviewed: 11-02-17

This book does not demand much from the reader. Read it for pure entertainment value. The plot moves in a predictable arc however the descriptive nature of the story telling makes you look forward to arriving at the predictable points. This book is excellent for younger readers with imagination and older readers who want an easy read.

the author ignore several clear opportunities for social commentary and sticks to pure entertainment.

  • Cryptonomicon

  • By: Neal Stephenson
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 42 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,875
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,820
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,845

Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that shaped this century.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fixed!

  • By Rob J. on 04-16-17

Fun, informative, captivating, disjoint.

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

Reviewed: 01-15-14

If you care nothing for the events of WWII, nothing for cryptography, and nothing for technology then you might not want to choose this work. However, if you do, I'm betting you'll find a new appreciation for these subjects. Stephenson's scholarship, character development, humor, plain talk and refined insights weave an engaging tapestry.

Unfortunately the author has chosen to criss-cross the story back and forth through space and generations like a toddler with a crayon forgetting, perhaps, that we experience life in a forward directed line before we can remember it dis-jointly. This whiplash seems unnecessary and self-indulgent. I kept wishing I had started diagramming the story at the outset.

Compounding this problem, the audio book seems to have a considerable sequence error according to other listeners. I have not verified this against a paper copy, but recommend that a paperback or ebook should accompany this version.

I am not thrilled by Dufris' narration, but it is on aesthetic, not fundamental grounds. I found myself pulled out of the story over and over to roll my eyes. Perhaps he was channeling his author, or both of them were channeling the characters, letting a certain male adolscence take over what might have been a more expressive subtlety and literary state of mind.

All this said, I still really enjoyed the story and found that I really wished it had gone on long enough see what kind of people some of the characters became.

  • Empress Dowager Cixi

  • The Concubine Who Launched Modern China
  • By: Jung Chang
  • Narrated by: Jolene Kim
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 230
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 201
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 198

At the age of 16, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor's numerous concubines. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China - behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Very Important if flawed history of a leader

  • By Heidi on 01-09-14

Very Important if flawed history of a leader

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

Reviewed: 01-09-14

Critics of this work argue that Jung Chang has fallen in love with her subject, lost objectivity, taken a narrow view, abandoned scholarly rigor, and heavens, failed to entertain.
I am not a scholar of Chinese History and have only a little Mandarin but I feel compelled to respond to some of these assertions.

Jung Chang clearly sympathizes with Cixi, and I can not imagine her failing to do so. The author has a more intimate connection to her subject than either a doctrinal scholar of the People's Republic or any Western male scholar will. In fact, I find myself becoming incensed by the decidedly male view that seems to suggest that such a constrained, uneducated, besieged woman, standing for the vast and deep heritage of the Dynasty that self-identified as China could have done much better. The author does not hide Cixi's failings, in fact she is careful to attempt to discover how Cixi perceived those now condemnable actions. She does however fail to anticipate the criticism of Cixi's choice to promote constitutional monarchy, and her weak provision for succession.

We have not been provided with this view before. It is a fascinating study of willful leadership and a sense of responsibility from a position of privileged powerlessness - and somehow feels familiar and understandable even now to an average Western woman in the 21st century. Jolene Kim's appropriately noninflected delivery and slightly accented voice in quotation lend an appropriate atmosphere to the work. The author is doing her level best to give this woman her voice. Western critiques that attack her employment of epithet and mannerism are ignorant of historic cultural forms.

I do agree however, that better source citation, anticipation and address of objections, and inclusion of the external viewpoint from outside of the court to help us understand what she could and could not have understood and significant junctures in her rule would have improved this work. I also agree that the treatment of some topics are either over-extended or underrepresented.

I think it is perhaps important to recognize the limits of any human holding together the last moments of a regime with some compassion. To do so, may help our own leaders see in those people the image of themselves.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Fifty Shades of Grey

  • Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
  • By: E. L. James
  • Narrated by: Becca Battoe
  • Length: 19 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 31,514
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 26,708
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 27,339

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Fifty Shades of Bad Writing

  • By Susan on 05-04-12

College freshman's fantasy

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

Reviewed: 05-23-13

I could write this drek in a coma. It fulfills all the one-time Cinderella impulses I am loathe to admit I ever filled countless journal pages with. Although the anemic character development, insipid dialogue, and gratuitous light porn is insulting, I admit it is also entertaining to the secret tabloid voyeur in all of us . Also as I refuse to read the following sequels I have relied on other's synopses to evaluate the whole story. With that remove I can only speculate that the author made a valiant attempt to nuance and explore the complexity of a Power Exchange relationship and failed so miserably because of her inexperience as an author - inexperience compounded by the dismal and infuriating performance of the narrator.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Tai-Pan

  • A Novel of Hong Kong
  • By: James Clavell
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 25 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 960
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 628
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 631

After the British seize Hong Kong following the first Opium War, the owners of two competing trading companies seek to destroy each other, both professionally and personally.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great audio book

  • By Cy Judge on 09-27-07

Clavell at his finest.

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

Reviewed: 05-17-13

There are no heros here, but all are heroic. Among the smells, and sights and sounds of the ordinary and the legendary, history dresses its naked errors in understanding and importance. I will never see Hong Kong without remembering what happened here in these pages.

  • Shantaram

  • By: Gregory David Roberts
  • Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
  • Length: 43 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,659
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,985
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,994

This mesmerizing first novel tells the epic journey of Lin, an escaped convict who flees maximum security prison in Australia to disappear into the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The keys to unlock the mysteries that bind Lin are held by two people: his mentor Khader Khan, mafia godfather and criminal-philosopher; and the beautiful, elusive Karla, whose passions are driven by dangerous secrets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Do Not Miss This

  • By Jamie on 06-19-06

Author needed a much better editor.

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

Reviewed: 05-17-13

This is a GREAT 900 page adventure story that I couldn't put down despite the author's glorification and over-endowment of an anti-hero (himself), his melodramatic pseudo-philosophizing, and his over-stereotyping of characters. Even the brilliant narration of Humphrey Bower is infected by Robert's self-importance. A really good editor could have dealt with all of these sins, allowing the existing great story telling, beautiful writing, interesting characters, and discerning insight to stand as a new classic work of art. That didn't happen. Either you will despair of the author's deep flaws and despise this work or you will provide your own editorial sponsorship as you read and enjoy what is there to be discovered.

  • The Real Story: The Gap into Conflict

  • The Gap Cycle, Book 1
  • By: Stephen R. Donaldson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 6 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 463
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 423
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 427

Author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, one of the most acclaimed fantasy series of all time, master storyteller Stephen R. Donaldson returns with this exciting and long-awaited new series that takes us into a stunningly imagined future to tell a timeless story of adventure and the implacable conflict of good and evil within each of us.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Unique concept for sci-fi; but a bit dramatic.

  • By Amazon Custome on 06-14-13

Annoying narrator, good characters, thin story

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

Reviewed: 03-01-13

I am not a fan of narrator Scott Brick, he is melodramatic. Donaldson is perhaps over-enamored with his connection to Wagner, but the character development is satisfying as far as it goes. This series should perhaps be collapsed into three books instead of 5. This feels like a novella.

13 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Lies the Government Told You

  • Myth, Power and Deception in American History
  • By: Andrew P Napolitano
  • Narrated by: Andrew P Napolitano
  • Length: 11 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 434
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 364
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 367

America is the land of the free, after all. Does it really matter whether our politicians bend the truth here and there? When the truth is traded for lies, our freedoms are diminished and don’t return. In Lies the Government Told You, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano reveals how America’s freedom, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, has been forfeited by a government more protective of its own power than its obligations to preserve our individual liberties.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book

  • By Jonnie on 09-22-10

Important to listen to regardless of convictions

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

Reviewed: 09-19-12

I am a Progressive Liberal Democrat and I recommend this book. Understanding the fundamental mechanics of Constitutional debate and history only strengthens each of us as citizens. I have not changed my opinions as a result of hearing Judge Napolitano's arguments, but I am much clearer about the issues, the ramifications of policies and the location of mines in the political landscape. Idealists may bristle at his explicit distaste for honoured icons and ideals. So be it. It is rare to find such erudition and intelligent eloquence in someone with whom I disagree on so many points. Makes me miss Buckley.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Sync

  • How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life
  • By: Steven Strogatz
  • Narrated by: Kevin T. Collins
  • Length: 13 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 414
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 310
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 314

At once elegant and riveting, Sync tells the story of the dawn of a new science. Steven Strogatz, a leading mathematician in the fields of chaos and complexity theory, explains how enormous systems can synchronize themselves, from the electrons in a superconductor to the pacemaker cells in our hearts. He shows that although these phenomena might seem unrelated on the surface, at a deeper level there is a connection, forged by the unifying power of mathematics.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging, but maybe better suited for non-audio

  • By Ryan on 05-26-12

For the amateur scientist

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

Reviewed: 08-06-12

Would you listen to Sync again? Why?

I will listen to this again if only to pull threads of my understanding in a little tighter. After listening to such an arc of theoretical/cutting edge science one tends to imagine the insights of sudden genius just lurking a hair breadth away.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The universe really...

Which scene was your favorite?

When Alan Alda walks into Strogatz's office

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

No. I wanted to and did savour the thoughts that bubbled up in between sections.

Any additional comments?

It is hard to know who will appreciate Sync, lovers of Science and Math certainly. But organizational theorists of every stripe should see something here as well.