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C. William Sandberg

Salem, Virginia
  • 14
  • reviews
  • 145
  • helpful votes
  • 16
  • ratings
  • Steam Whistle Alley

  • An Adventure in Augmented Reality
  • By: Joshua Mason
  • Narrated by: Sena Bryer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

When an augmented reality game’s creator offers him goggles, Jacob enters a city he thinks he knows. But towering monuments of Victorian architecture have replaced the skyscrapers. Airships float between the buildings. Fearsome enemies, from steam-powered rabbits to clockwork werewolves, lurk in every shadow. But with the game comes a quest, and to the victors go the deed to Steam Whistle Alley, the social and financial heart of the game. And some of his adversaries aren’t playing games. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More like a cat call whistle than a steam one!

  • By Ray Johnson on 01-02-19

What a refreshing take on the LitRPG genre!

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

Reviewed: 12-31-18

I knew by the description that this was a LitRPG story that worked within an Augmented, and not Virtual or Simulated, Reality. I wasn't sure what to expect from that. Would it lean more toward the perma-death of Portal stories and if not, where would the danger come from?

Unlike with the VR versions of LitRPG, for an ARG, the outside IS the inside. It meant the stories blended quite well and it set my imagination going about the possible complications before the complications were presented.

It's a standard hero's story here, along with an awkward love story the likes of which you may have seen elsewhere. Both the hero's story and the love story are done well and without major blemishes or believability issues. What sets it apart more than anything is the humor and the respect for gaming conventions. I laughed quite a few times during the reading and the humor came from more than one character and from many directions. There's an interesting blend of Steampunk in the game world and futurism in the background real world and they play together well.

It's surprisingly well-narrated and the various voices all sound like different characters. Banjo's "Joysie" accent is unexpected, but it soon become "his" voice.

If you think you've seen everything that can be done in the genre, I urge you to give this one a shot. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Atomic Habits

  • Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results
  • By: James Clear
  • Narrated by: James Clear
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 9,362
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,137
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8,055

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving - every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results. If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • start here, if you are looking to achieve in life

  • By NL on 10-22-18

Worthwhile

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

I'll likely pick up the physical edition so I can highlight for easy reference, but I learn by reading AND hearing.

The ideas in this book are clear and actionable. it would serve anyone to learn them.

  • The Chapo Guide to Revolution

  • A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason
  • By: Chapo Trap House
  • Narrated by: Felix Biederman, Virgil Texas, Brendan James, and others
  • Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 776
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 709
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 701

In a manifesto that renders all previous attempts at political satire obsolete, The Chapo Guide to Revolution shows you that you don’t have to side with either the pear-shaped vampires of the right or the craven, lanyard-wearing wonks of contemporary liberalism. These self-described “assholes from the Internet” offer a fully ironic ideology for all who feel politically hopeless and prefer broadsides and tirades to reasoned debate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • my beautiful boy virgil has a voice like an angel.

  • By Dale on 08-22-18

I bought the book

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

Reviewed: 08-23-18

Worth it just for the Sorkin takedown! I worried this would be yet another "reform capitalism" treatise, but it isn't. The kids are alright with communism, and they're now the largest demographic. Maybe we can finally get rid of the death cult of private property.

  • Be a Writing Machine: Write Faster and Smarter, Beat Writer's Block, and Be Prolific

  • By: M.L. Ronn
  • Narrated by: John Freyer
  • Length: 2 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

Writing fast is the most important skill you can develop as a writer. While it seems hard to hit high word counts, the secrets are easier than you think. In this writer's guide, prolific author M. L. Ronn pulls back the curtain on the process that he uses to write six to eight novels a year. He has kept this pace while juggling responsibilities as a husband, father, manager at a Fortune 100 company, and a law school student. The result is a catalog of over 40 books and counting.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • if you are a pantser this book is for you!

  • By MVF on 08-22-18

An immensely helpful book!

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

Reviewed: 06-21-18

If you've ever awakened with the intention to write but had your head hit the pillow later that night with zero words written, this book is for you. Unlike many other books, this one doesn't insist you need to write 10k words per day to be prolific.

The author tackles writer's block and fear, and gives truly useful ways to counteract them.

In this book you'll find questions few other craft writers address—including a thoughtful critique of outlines and multiple drafts.

If you're not writing or not writing as much as you'd like, it's very likely this book will help you locate the reason and solve the problem.

  • Desert Runner

  • Puatera Online, Book 1
  • By: Dawn Chapman
  • Narrated by: Andrea Parsneau
  • Length: 3 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 49

An NPC story. With her pain potions in short supply, Maddie accepts a deadly run, picks up a package in Trox City, and crosses the desert plains to Port Troli. The only issues - an unwanted passenger and Tromoal breeding season.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An introduction into a different world

  • By Ray Johnson on 01-22-18

This is different! GameLit from the NPC POV.

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

Reviewed: 05-18-18

This is the first work I've read from this author, and while at first I was taken aback by the NPC perspective, I quickly sank into the amazing depth given to the main character. She may only be an NPC, but her struggle is compelling, her world is rich, and her feelings are palpable.

The narration was excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Mitigating Risk

  • Nora Hazard Series, Book 1
  • By: Blaise Corvin
  • Narrated by: Emily Beresford
  • Length: 7 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 579
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 554
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 552

On Ludus, life is often cheap. Nora's childhood hadn't given her many options. With nowhere else to go after losing her family, she joined an old friend in a street gang and found an unlikely home there. But unfortunately, tragedy is about to befall Nora. Grudges from the distant past and movements of shadowy organizations may take away everything she is familiar with and all that she holds dear...possibly even her life. Danger has never stopped her before, but survival may require escaping her old life and embarking on an insane, desperate journey.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ludus Lady lashes out!

  • By Ray Johnson on 05-25-18

Nora is an amazing character!

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

Reviewed: 05-17-18

This time around, we get a native Ludan perspective to flesh out Corbin's Ludus world, and she's quite likeable. If you've read Delvers LLC, I recommend you give this a try. The beginning of the novel may be a bit overwhelming, as you get a lot of information about people you don't yet know and you get it very quickly, but by the second chapter, Corbin's amazing storycraft kicks into high gear. The narration is superb as well.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Legacy of the Fallen

  • Ascend Online, Book 3
  • By: Luke Chmilenko
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 24 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5,068
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,824
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,812

Fresh off their victory over Graves and his followers, Marcus and his friends have managed to enjoy a few weeks of relative calm and peace as they continue to build Aldford, preparing the town for a new wave of settlers coming from Eberia. But as the days wear on with no new arrivals in sight, they begin to fear the worse, eventually setting out to search for their promised reinforcements and soon realizing that they weren’t as alone on the frontier as they thought they were.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • he used the word Azure way too much

  • By sean on 07-06-18

Even better than the first!

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

Reviewed: 05-16-18

The adventures of Lyrian and co. continue, and they incorporate some characters met in the second novel in the series.

The narration is spot on, the pacing is great, and for the gamer, the town building feels accurate.

The stakes are ever higher here. I can't wait for the next in the series!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Ascend Online

  • Ascend Online, Book 1
  • By: Luke Chmilenko
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 17 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,855
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,416
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,391

Diving into a revolutionary new video game, Marcus and his friends escape a stagnant society, entering into a world that defies their wildest imaginations. But from the moment that he logs in, Marcus finds himself separated from his friends and thrown into a remote village under attack by a horde of goblins. Forced into battle, Marcus rallies the beleaguered villagers and, with their help, manages to drive off the invading creatures. With the village in ruins and their supplies spoiled, the villagers turn to Marcus for help in rebuilding the village.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Luke Daniels and a great LITRPG; enough said

  • By Don Gilbert on 08-07-17

An amazing adventure with heart!

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

Reviewed: 05-10-18

I'm relatively new to reading this genre, but purely from a storytelling perspective, Chmilenko nails it—especially the paceing. As a gamer, listening to this book made me feel like I was right there in Ascend Online with the main characters. I will immediately download the next.

About the narrator: At first I wasn't sure I'd take to him, but his capacity with different voices and the rhythm of his narration sold me on the story.

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

  • A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
  • By: Mark Manson
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108,515
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 95,147
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94,619

For decades we've been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F*ck positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let's be honest, shit is f*cked, and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn't sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is - a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is his antidote to the coddling, let's-all-feel-good mind-set that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A book for 20-somethings, but not me

  • By Bonny on 09-22-16

You'll laugh and be inspired.

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

Reviewed: 03-09-17

Would you listen to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck again? Why?

I listen to it regularly. It's an entertaining, funny, and useful book. You can't really beat that!

What other book might you compare The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck to and why?

"The Icarus Desception" by Seth Godin. This book is funnier, though.

What does Roger Wayne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He's a talented reader who doesn't bring attention to himself and yet the reading isn't flat either. He sounds like a friend going on a monologue with you over beers.

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

Yes.

Any additional comments?

If you want to laugh and be inspired to make real changes in your life, this is a good place to start.

  • The Feedback Loop, Book 1

  • By: Harmon Cooper
  • Narrated by: Jeff Hays
  • Length: 4 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 128
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 120
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 120

Quantum Hughes' life is stuck on repeat. While trapped in The Loop, a virtual entertainment dreamworld, he struggles to free himself from a glitch that forces him to re-live the same day over and over. Everything changes after Quantum receives a mysterious message from a woman named Frances Euphoria, the first human player he has made contact with in years. Once Frances appears, members of the Reapers, a murder guild, begin surfacing in The Loop, hoping to capture Quantum, or worse - kill him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "France is dangerous? Maybe if you're a snail."

  • By Norma Miles on 03-08-17

I listened to it all in one sitting!

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

Reviewed: 03-09-17

Where does The Feedback Loop, Book 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This isn't a very good question because I read all sorts of different kinds of books and they aren't comparible.

What other book might you compare The Feedback Loop, Book 1 to and why?

"All Our Wrong Todays", "Ready Player One", "Neuromancer".

What does Jeff Hays bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Jeff Hays' reading is always superb. I've gotten audible books in genres I don't normally read because his narration is so good.

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

I DID listen to it all in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

This was my first LitRPG novel and it's really turned me on to the genre!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful