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Michael Allen

Minneapolis, MN
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 225
  • helpful votes
  • 515
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  • Binti: Home

  • Binti, Book 2
  • By: Nnedi Okorafor
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 4 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 450
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 420
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 421

It's been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she found friendship in the unlikeliest of places. And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders. But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Abrupt Conclusion

  • By Ryann on 04-14-18

Ends in the Middle

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

Reviewed: 03-08-18

I really like Nnedi Okorafor. She brings a new point of view to the Science Fiction genre, which is really what the genre is all about. The character of Binti is an archetypical outsider, who finds her strength in the fact that she is part of more than one group, but doesn't truly belong to any.

My one problem with this book, is that it the end comes too soon. There is not even a partial resolution at the point where it stops. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment, but really would have preferred if Okorafor had added another 10,000 words to come to some semblance of an ending to this installment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Patternmaster

  • The Patternist Series
  • By: Octavia E. Butler
  • Narrated by: Eugene H. Russell IV
  • Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 367
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 330
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 331

The Patternist is a telepathic race, commanded by the Patternmaster, whose thoughts can destroy, heal, rule. Coransee, son of the ruling Patternmaster, wants the throne and will stop at nothing to get it, including venture into the wild mutant-infested hills to destroy a young apprentice - his equal and his brother.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • FINALLY SOMETHING LIVES UP TO WILD SEED!!

  • By Jordan on 08-14-16

Not the best choice for narrator

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

Reviewed: 02-06-18

I have really enjoyed the Patternist series. This book, however, is only average, compared to the others. That is due, in large part, to the choice of narrator. His deep, gravelly voice might be much better suited to other books, but it really detracted from this one. He just doesn’t have the range to do justice to characters such as Amber. I alternated between listening to this in the car & reading the Kindle edition. If it had been feasible, I would have just read this book on the Kindle & skipped the narration entirely.

  • Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights

  • By: John E. Finn, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: John E. Finn
  • Length: 18 hrs and 3 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 182
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 163
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160

The civil liberties and constitutional rights possessed by our nation's citizens-not only in theory, but in the courtroom, where the state can be forced to honor those liberties-are a uniquely American invention.And when we were taught history and learned about the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, we were always made aware of that uniqueness, of the extraordinary experiment that gave to every citizen of this new nation a gift possessed by no others.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great overview of the Bill of Rights per the Law.

  • By Kristi R. on 10-05-15

Good Content, but Difficult Delivery

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

Reviewed: 12-06-17

The lecturer obviously knew what he was talking about, but tended to over-qualify every sentence, to the point that he was hard to follow. It might be a fun drinking game for future listeners to take a shot every time the lecturer says “or I *should* say...”

That said, this was a reasonably good course on the legal basis behind American civil rights. It’s a pity that it isn’t more recent than 2005.

  • Lady Midnight

  • The Dark Artifices, Book 1
  • By: Cassandra Clare
  • Narrated by: Morena Baccarin
  • Length: 19 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,547
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,095
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,099

Together with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn't lead her in treacherous directions....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • New Players and New Plots

  • By RayRay1974 on 03-14-16

Over-explained

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

Reviewed: 04-24-16

I kept feeling as though the author was determined to leave nothing to the readers' imagination.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Wetlands

  • By: Charlotte Roche
  • Narrated by: Pippa Jayne
  • Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 33

Helen Memel is an outspoken 18-year-old, whose childlike stubbornness is offset by a precocious sexual confidence. She begins her story from a hospital bed, where she’s slowly recovering from an operation and lamenting her parents’ divorce. To distract herself, Helen ruminates on her past sexual adventures in increasingly uncomfortable detail, taking the listen on a sensational journey through Helen’s body and mind.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • loved it!

  • By Misss Lo on 05-19-15

All About the Fluids

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

Reviewed: 05-15-15

This story leaves no bodily fluid unconsidered. The descriptions are graphic, and there are definitely some parts that made me feel uncomfortable (due to the "ick factor"), but overall, I enjoyed listening. It's the first-person narrative and the charming personality of the main character that keeps this book from being truly vulgar. The reader gives a good performance, although she doesn't quite manage to portray the youthfulness of the 18-year-old main character. Overall, this was an enjoyable listening experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Akasha

  • The Complete Saga
  • By: Terra Harmony
  • Narrated by: Emily Gittelman
  • Length: 37 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 21

Elemental powers in the palm of her hand. . .and it won't be enough to save her. When Kaitlyn Alder is involuntarily introduced to a life of magic, she becomes part of an organization hell-bent on saving the Earth. Follow the saga as one of the most terrifying men the human race has to offer stands between Kaitlyn and Earth's survival.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • I want my credit back

  • By Aaron on 10-22-13

Hard to listen to

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

Reviewed: 01-21-15

I might have liked this better if the narrator didn't have such a monotonous reading style. It isn't that she reads in a monotone, but that she ends every sentence with the same pitch cadence. At first, I thought the book was being read by a computer-generated voice.

Then, there's the actual story. I found it to be predictable, in an unbelievable sort of way. It reminded me of 1960's network television. That would be fine, if this were satire - but I don't believe that the author intended it as such.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • She Effin' Hates Me

  • A Love Story
  • By: Scarlett Savage
  • Narrated by: Emily Durante
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 59
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 56

Molly has arrived home from Vassar to reveal that she has an important announcement to make. Her mother, Suzanne, is convinced that Molly’s news is history repeating herself and that she’s about to become a 36-year-old grandmother. Suzanne’s mother, Ava, develops a case of impending great-grandmother fever - that is, when she’s not spying on the new next-door neighbor, Buddy McKinley, who turns out to be a blast from her past.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • She hated him and I hated this book

  • By Lynne on 08-03-14

Well-Executed, But Shallow and Predictable

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

Reviewed: 05-07-14

I have to admit that I couldn't finish listening to this. The narration is very good, and I think that I will seek out this reader in other books. The writing is well-executed, but the actual story seems shallow and predictable. At first, I was attracted to the light, witty banter between the characters. Then I started to realize that I could predict what the characters were going to say next - and that all of the characters talked the same way (regardless of the voice that the narrator gave them.) Some people might see this as a light summer listen, but I really don't have the time for it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures

  • A Novel in Two Books
  • By: Walter Moers
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 24 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 143
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144

Set in the land of Zamonia, this exuberant, highly original fantasy from Walter Moers features an unlikely hero. Rumo is a little Wolperting—a domesticated creature somewhere between a deer and a dog—who will one day become the greatest hero in the history of Zamonia. Armed with Dandelion, his talking sword, he fights his way through the Overworld and the Netherworld.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Headphones NOT recommended!

  • By Andrea on 01-02-14

Hard to Listen to in Spots

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

Reviewed: 02-28-14

The story is quite good, and even though this is apparently part of a series, I feel that the story stands by itself. The narration, however, varied from exceptionally good to exceptionally bad. The characters of Dandelion & Gornab were almost impossible for me to listen to. They were read in such a screeching voice that I often had to turn the volume down so far that I missed subsequent lines by characters who were read in almost a whisper.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Democracy in America

  • By: Alexis de Tocqueville
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 34 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 381
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 315
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 323

In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat and civil servant, made a nine-month journey through the eastern United States. The result was Democracy in America, a monumental study of the strengths and weaknesses of the nation’s evolving politics. His insightful work has become one of the most influential political texts ever written on America.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Most Listenable, if not the Best Translation

  • By Michael Allen on 10-04-13

Most Listenable, if not the Best Translation

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

Reviewed: 10-04-13

I got this version, simply because I couldn't tolerate the one narrated by Frederick Davidson. This version is the original translation, by Henry Reeve, which was disliked and criticized by de Tocqueville. The Blackstone Audio version (narrated by Davidson), is of the George Lawrence translation (1966), which is generally more respected.

One thing that Reeve did in his translation, was in the sections where de Tocqueville quotes from English sources, he translated the French translation back into English - often changing the meaning - instead of inserting the original English sources. Lawrence, in his translation, included the original English sources, thereby preserving de Tocqueville's intent.

If it weren't for the horrible quality of both the Blackstone recording (excessive noise reduction, which removes all the consonants from the beginnings of words) and the Davidson narration (which is read with an annoyingly laconic, "landed gentry" delivery), I would have chosen the Lawrence translation over the Reeve. If there had been an available recording of either the Mansfield/Winthrop, or the Goldhammer translations, I would have picked one of them over this.

That said, John Pruden does an exceptional job of bringing this book to life. Even this imperfect translation was lauded as an important work in its own time, and it is easy to see why. De Tocqueville did an amazing job of assessing the American culture. His description of our unique brand of representative democracy clearly explains what set us apart from all other forms of democratic government at the time. His descriptions are so insightful, that much of what he wrote about the character of the American people (both the good and the bad), remains relevant to this day.

Until a more accurate (and listenable) translation becomes available at Audible, I would recommend this book to other listeners.

123 of 123 people found this review helpful

  • Saints

  • By: Orson Scott Card
  • Narrated by: Emily Janice Card, Stefan Rudnicki, Paul Boehmer
  • Length: 25 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 268
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 212
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 208

When 10-year-old Dinah Kirkham saw her father leave their Manchester home in the middle of the night, she asked when he would be back. “Soon,” he replied. But he never came back. On that night in 1829, John Kirkham laid the foundation of his daughter’s certainty that the only person Dinah could ever really trust was herself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "A Woman of Destiny"

  • By Joan on 02-15-11

An Epic Story with Indifferent Narration

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

Reviewed: 06-08-12

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would have selected a single narrator - one who could invest themselves in each of the characters. Alternatively, I would have had each of the multiple narrators stick to a character, so that each character could have a unique voice.

Several times in the story, the main character, Dinah Kirkham, is described as having a "Lancashire accent" - although you couldn't prove it from the narration. Each of the narrators who read Dinah's words gave her a different voice & only once or twice did that voice have anything but the narrator's own (American) accent.

Otherwise, the story was excellent. The book describes what life was like for early Mormons, but makes no attempt to proselytize. The author does a fine job of fleshing out each character. By showing the characters' struggles - physical, emotional & intellectual - the author lets us see them as real people.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful