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Lora S.

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  • Siege of Darkness

  • Legend of Drizzt: Legacy of the Drow, Book 3
  • By: R. A. Salvatore
  • Narrated by: Victor Bevine
  • Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,882
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,773
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,770

Gods walk the Realms! Rising up from the black depths of the Underdark, the drow once more meet the dwarves of Mithral Hall. Bruenor Battlehammer, with Drizzt at his side, won't go down without a fight - but they'll have to fight without Wulfgar or Catti-brie at their sides.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love the characters

  • By James on 10-29-13

Finally meet Loth in person

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

Reviewed: 09-25-18

There’s a bit of a different twist to this ninth book in the Legend of Drizzt series. In the first half of the story, it seems there is some kind of conflict going on among the various deities of Drizzt’s universe. We wouldn’t know about this conflict, later to be known as the Troubles or the Time of Trouble, except for two things. One is that we finally actually see Loth, the Spider Goddess when she goes to the lower plane to seek the help of Ertu, the demon who craves the Crystal Shard, while she is occupied elsewhere. The second is that magic is disrupted.

The disruption of magic gives some funny results. Sometimes magic works normally; sometimes it doesn’t work at all; sometimes it only partly works. The partial results can be laugh-out-loud funny, but given that another war between Menzoberrenzon and Mithral Hall is brewing, the uncertainty is more than annoying. In Menzoberrenzon the failure of magic fuels an attempt to rearrange the power structure of the city. In Mithral Hall, it disrupts the preparations for the defense of the dwarven stronghold.

The second half of the book details the war between Menzoberrenzon and the dwarves of Mithral Hall. Many of the other people of the land join Mithral Hall’s dwarves in the battle, but for a long time, it looks as if that will not be enough. Can Drizzt, Cattie-Brie, and Bruenor, hunting in the deep tunnels below find the head of the invasion before it is too late?

  • The Very First Damned Thing

  • An Author-Read Audio Exclusive
  • By: Jodi Taylor
  • Narrated by: Jodi Taylor
  • Length: 2 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,412
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,170
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,155

Jodi Taylor reads the long-awaited prequel in her Chronicles of St Mary’s series, as Dr Bairstow struggles to set up St Mary’s as we know it in a world still scarred by the ravages of civil war. Ever wondered how it all began? It’s two years since the final victory at the Battersea Barricades. The fighting might be finished, but for Dr Bairstow, just now setting up St Mary's, the struggle is only beginning. How will he assemble his team? From where will his funding come?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved the story. The narration was ehh...

  • By Krista on 12-09-15

Pretty sure I will enjoy the rest of this series

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

Reviewed: 08-27-18

I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read/listened to at least one of the main books in the series first. This was obviously a story that described how the Institute of St. Mary’s got started and how the main characters were recruited, but I think it would have made more sense if you knew the characters beforehand.

I can tell by the writing style, however, that I will very much enjoy the rest of the series.

This selection is read by the author, who does a very good job of representing her own work.

  • Random Walk Down Wall Street

  • A Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing (Eleventh Edition)
  • By: Burton G. Malkiel
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,329
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,149
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,136

Burton G. Malkiel's classic and gimmick-free investment guide is now more necessary than ever. Rather than tricks, what you'll find here is a time-tested and thoroughly research-based strategy for your portfolio. Whether you're considering your first 401(k) contribution or contemplating retirement, this fully updated edition of A Random Walk Down Wall Street should be the first book on your wishlist.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Info

  • By D. Fyler on 10-08-16

Really fun, especially for an investment book

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

Reviewed: 08-22-18

This has to be the most frequently revised book I have ever read. We first heard of this book on the PBS
television show Wall Street Week back in the 1970’s. In a way, I’m sorry I didn’t read it then. But then
again, I’m just as glad, because usually when I read a book, I consider myself done with it and don’t
come back to it over and over. So I would have missed most of the stories in this edition about the
scams and bubbles and what not during the past 40 years or so.

Most of the book was really fun, and some of it quite funny. It was only at the end with the
concentrated how-to investment advice, which is really good if you have any money to invest, that it
gets into the dry, boring financial stuff.

  • The Waterworks

  • A Novel
  • By: E.L. Doctorow
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 41

One rainy morning in 1871 in lower Manhattan, Martin Pemberton, a freelance writer sees in a passing stagecoach several elderly men, one of whom he recognizes as his supposedly dead and buried father. While trying to unravel the mystery, Pemberton disappears, sending McIlvaine, his employer, the editor of an evening paper, in pursuit of the truth behind his freelancer’s fate. Layer by layer, McIlvaine reveals a modern metropolis surging with primordial urges and sins.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • History, mystery, and Drama

  • By D. Witscher on 12-23-15

Bizarre story

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

Newspaper editor McIlvaine tells the story of his freelance writer, Martin Pemberton who one day sees his supposedly dead father riding around in a stagecoach in the company of several other old men. When McIlvaine notices that the younger Pemberton has himself disappeared, he sets out to find him – a thing not easily done in the New York City of the days of the Tweed Ring. McIlvaine seeks help from one of the few honest policemen in the city at the time, and together they uncover the bizarre story of a few wealthy men who wanted to live forever.

Narrator Mark Bramhall does an excellent job with the narration. Very clear and easy to understand.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

  • By: Howard Pyle
  • Narrated by: Christopher Cazenove
  • Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 582
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 519
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 520

Here are the beloved adventures of the mischievous hero Robin Hood and his brave and merry band of outlaws, who forged a chivalrous code to protect the oppressed and despoil the oppressors. Follow along as Robin makes his breathtaking escapes from his archenemy, the Sheriff of Nottingham, while classic characters like Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet, and Little John create one hilarious escapade after another.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A splendid reading of the classic!

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-10-11

Some different Robin Hood stories

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

Reviewed: 07-30-18

The Howard Pyle version of The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood seemed to be the version with the most editions available, so I figured that would be a good starting place for Robin Hood stories. Silly me once again forgot that I had already purchased the Audible version of the book (the Audible version is not free, but I think I got it as a daily deal or something) and got the Kindle version too. Since the Kindle version is a cheap edition of a really old book, I did not particularly expect the Kindle and audiobooks to sync up, but they actually did pretty well together.

John Lee does a great job with the narration, voicing everybody from the evil Guy of Gisbourne to the shifty Sheriff of Nottingham with fine distinction. He even sings all the many songs in the book in character very well. According to the section in the Kindle book about the author (this part was not in the audiobook version) Howard Pyle based his version of the Robin Hood stories on a 1795 collection of ballads, so nearly every tale, especially in the first part of the book, has a merry song or two in it.

Apparently, there is no original manuscript to base a rendition of the Robin Hood stories on so this collection of ballads may be as close to an original source as we are likely to get. In consequence, while the language of these stories has a suitably Medieval cast to it, it is nevertheless reasonably easy to understand. It’s not like trying to read Middle English or anything.

And yet, the stories are set in a time when Middle English would not have been so far off the mark. This collection actually focuses on a time period somewhat earlier than the more recent popular renditions of Robin Hood in the movies. Throughout most of the book, the King is King Henry II. In fact, Henry and his Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, appear in a couple of the stories. Queen Eleanor sponsors Robin Hood and some of his men in a tournament, and King Henry, upset that they have beaten some of his favorites, hunts them all over the north of England. This must have been during the time Henry and Eleanor weren’t getting along so well.

There were many stories in this book that I had not heard before, or barely heard references to somewhere. And a lot of the stories found in recent renditions of Robin Hood are not there. For instance, Maid Marian is mentioned about three times as the girl Robin Hood loves best, but her story is not told at all. Instead, we have the story of Allan A Dale and his true love, Ellen, and how Robin Hood saved fair Ellen from marrying an old knight so that she could marry the minstrel instead. Guy of Gisbourne is not a knight but another outlaw with an evil reputation whom the Sheriff of Nottingham has hired to kill Robin Hood. And it is King Richard who, after his father’s death and his own accession to the throne, finally catches Robin Hood – and takes him into his personal service.

  • The Guns of August

  • By: Barbara W. Tuchman
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 18 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,047
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 924
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 928

Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman here brought to life again the people and events that led up to World War I. With attention to fascinating detail, and an intense knowledge of her subject and its characters, Ms. Tuchman reveals, for the first time, just how the war started, why, and why it could have been stopped but wasn't. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, The Guns of August will not be forgotten.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Pay attention!

  • By Chrissie on 07-11-13

The beginning of World War I

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

Reviewed: 07-14-18

The book opens with a little of the history behind World War I. It seems that all that stuff about the assassination of the Archduke and the ‘entangling alliances’ was mostly a flimsy excuse for Germany and France, in particular, to do what they had really wanted to do ever since 1870 – namely wipe each other off the map. (Really? There was that serious a war in Europe in 1870?)

The plan, on both sides, was to march off to rapid victory; not more than six weeks and the war would be over. The only thing that slowed them down at all was that Germany wanted to send their army through Belgium and tried their best to get France to do something that they could point to as an indication that France had violated Belgian neutrality first. France wouldn’t do it but never fear – Germany just resorted to the old tried and true method of saying they did anyway.

The reality, on both sides, was that they set out with insufficient numbers of trained soldiers and insufficient supplied. Both sides were slavishly devoted to what appear in hindsight to be foolish battle plans and hampered by generals who appeared to be crazy, or who, in the frequent words of other people who observed them in action, appeared to have ‘lost their nerve.’ Sometimes you wonder if the war was being handled by an outfit of Keystone Cops. I wonder if it looked that way at the time.

This book ends with the Battle of the Marne –before the long years of trench warfare, and long before America ever became involved in this war. Nevertheless, a good deal of the carnage of the war, on both sides, occurred in this approximately six week period. It makes it like the world has been crazy a lot longer than we sometimes think.

John Lee does a great job with the narration, giving a slight French accent to the French generals and politicians, a slight German accent to the Germans, and a slight Russian accent to the Russians. You can tell the difference, but it isn’t intrusive.

  • Glass Sword

  • By: Victoria Aveyard
  • Narrated by: Amanda Dolan
  • Length: 14 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,861
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,389
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,385

Mare Barrow's blood is red - the color of common folk - but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince - the friend - who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: She is not the only one of her kind.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Depressing and Slow

  • By Bonnie on 03-21-16

Continuing adventures of Mare Barrow

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

Reviewed: 06-23-18

The second book in the Red Queen series, Glass Sword continues the adventures of Mare Barrow and her friends. In this book, they go to the main rebel base and meet its commander, the Colonel, a scary man who turns out to be Farley’s father. He isn’t particularly supportive of Mare, referring to her as a ‘thing.’ He imprisons Cal with the evident aim of trading him for a regiment of the recent child conscripts to Norta’s army. When Mare tries to free him, he imprisons her as well, and also Farley.

When they escape the Colonel, they go on a mission to recruit as many of the ‘New Bloods’ (people who, like Mare, are Reds but with abilities similar to Silvers). Probably the most interesting part of this book is seeing all the various abilities that they uncover and how they can be used. But it quickly turns out that Maven and his people are now looking for the New Bloods too, and when they find them, they are killing them or putting them into a prison designed to hold Slivers where they can’t use their abilities. Some of the people they are killing are children or even babies.

Mare and her friends are successful in recruiting some people, but every time it looks like they are making some progress, Maven and his mother seem to find a way to stifle them. Mare blames herself for many of the deaths that have taken place. Her agonized musings go on until they become somewhat annoying. As she becomes more desperate, she does things that tend to drive her friends away from her.

  • William Shakespeare's Star Wars

  • By: Ian Doescher
  • Narrated by: Daniel Davis, Jonathan Davis, Ian Doescher, and others
  • Length: 3 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,454
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,351
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,351

Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas's epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare's greatest plays. 'Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearsome Stormtroopers, signifying...pretty much everything.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • To Thine Ears, Brilliance This Doth Be!

  • By Troy on 10-02-13

A little different from what I expected

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

Reviewed: 06-09-18

This audiobook both was and was not quite what I was expecting. I somehow expected it to be a bit more silly than it actually was.

What it actually was was a faithful retelling of the Star Wars story, only written in the style of William Shakespeare. A Chorus plays the part of the giant letters scrolling through space giving the background of the story. There are stage directions as Shakespeare would have written them – and these are stage directions for a stage play, so that in the great space battle scene, the narrator has to tell us to use our imaginations to visualize the battling armies, because no stage would be big enough to hold all those spaceships at once.

The whole thing is done in iambic pentameter, just as if Shakespeare had written it himself. There are even the occasional internal rhymes at the close of certain scenes. Also, just so you’ll know it’s Shakespeare who is being imitated here, there are frequent references to famous Shakespearian lines and the names of some of his plays. Interestingly enough, almost all of the main characters are given several asides where they speak directly to the audience, sharing their internal thoughts.

The narrators did a great job. Several of them sound almost exactly like the characters in the movies. The others manage to give a Monty Pythonesque vibe to the whole thing.

Far and away the most enlightening thing about the book was R2D2. As in the movie, when he is speaking to the other characters, his lines consist of things like “Boop Boop, Beep Beep, Squeak,” and a few electronic sounds. But R2 also gets his chance to speak directly to the audience, and in these, he speaks regular English so we can understand him without C3PO to translate. Hearing his thoughts is interesting.

  • The Silkworm

  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 17 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,857
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,553
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,523

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy In Contemporary London

  • By Gretchen SLP on 08-24-16

A riveting story

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

Reviewed: 06-02-18

In the beginning, I thought I wasn’t going to like this story. It seemed like it was going to be too much of a standard detective story, and a little on the boring side as well. However, as I got into it, I became intrigued with the characters of Cormoran and especially (my favorite) Robin. The descriptions of their adventures in the winter storms and Cormoran’s difficulties with his artificial leg felt very real also.

The description of the murder scene and some of the scenes from the book on which it was supposedly based were just a bit too gross for me. But I loved the twist at the end that allowed Cormoran to solve the murder. I also liked that Robin was taken on as a full-fledged assistant detective at the end.

The narrator did an excellent job with all the various characters.

  • The Gulag Archipelago

  • Volume III: Katorga, Exile, Stalin Is No More
  • By: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 21 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 432
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 359
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 359

In this final volume of a towering work that is both literary masterpiece and living memorial to the untold millions of Soviet martyrs, Solzhenitsyn's epic narrative moves to its astounding and unforseen climax. We now see that this great cathedral of a book not only commemorates those massed victims but celebrates the unquenched spirit of resistance that flickered and then burst into flame even in Stalin's "special camps."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If the whole series is too daunting, read this one

  • By Howie on 08-01-13

Things get better, but then...

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

Reviewed: 05-18-18

Part 5 contains some enlightening accounts of escapes from some of the camps and the results of them, and descriptions of prison revolts that began happening in the 1950’s.

Part 6 describes the conditions for prisoners when they were released – either to stay in the villages outside the camps or to go into exile. There isn’t much said about prisoners returning to whatever cities they had been taken from – apparently that didn’t happen much, and it wasn’t a very happy occasion when it did. Solzhenitsyn was quite ecstatic about being released to exile. When, after the death of Stalin, he was able to return to his home, he was reluctant to go.

The last part covers the Khrushchev years. At first, things appeared to be getting better – many prisoners were released, and conditions seemed to be improving somewhat. But after a time new waves of people were imprisoned and discipline was ratcheted up. The infamous Article 58 was done away with, but other provisions of the criminal code were made to take up the slack, and now instead of political prisoners, everybody was just regular criminals, even though the real reason for their imprisonment may just have been that somebody in power didn’t like them.