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  • Minimum Wage Magic

  • By: Rachel Aaron
  • Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
  • Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,008
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,860
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,857

The DFZ, the metropolis formerly known as Detroit, is the world’s most magical city with a population of nine million and zero public safety laws. That’s a lot of mages, cybernetically enhanced chrome heads, and mythical beasties who die, get into debt, and otherwise fail to pay their rent. When they can’t pay their bills, their stuff gets sold to the highest bidder. That’s when they call me. I’m a Cleaner: a freelance mage employed by the DFZ to sort through the mountains of magical junk people leave behind. It’s not a pretty job, or a safe one....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not as good as Heartstrikers, but still very fun

  • By mlsimmons on 03-31-19

beware the quavery voice

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

Reviewed: 06-08-19

The author's prose has improved quite a bit from her early offerings. The main protagonist is likeable and the world interesting.

The writing is not perfect though. The climax of the story is resolved via a deus ex machina, suddenly remembering something she should have remembered days ago. The protagonist continues to confide her plans to another character despite learning that this character is cooperating with her enemies. It doesn't make any sense at all. Everything the villains say is cartoony. They try to persuade the protagonists by saying things that will obviously do the opposite. It's ham fisted and embarrassing.

The narrator unfortunately has a terminal case of quavery voice, so the protagonist often sounds as if she is on the verge of melodramatic tears. It's grating. When she is not using quavery voice, she is quite good.

  • War with Russia

  • An urgent warning from senior military command
  • By: General Sir General Sir Richard Shirreff
  • Narrated by: General Sir Richard Shirreff, Michael Fenner
  • Length: 13 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 209
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 193

Closely modeled on his NATO experience of war gaming future conflicts, War with Russia is a chilling account of where we are heading if we fail to recognise the threat posed by the Russian president. Written by the recently retired Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe and endorsed by senior military figures, this audiobook shows how war with Russia could erupt, with the bloodiest and most appalling consequences, if the necessary steps are not taken urgently.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • No Sir John Hackett

  • By Alan Miller on 07-10-17

Pulpy Rant Rather Than Insightful Warning

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

Reviewed: 01-16-19

I bought this book expecting to an intelligent analysis of the risk of war with Russia, sketched out as a realistic war scenario. Instead this book is simply a rant in the form of a pulpy military thriller.

Shirreff is no writer. With the exception of the president, every one of the female characters is young and sexy. All male characters are either Goofus or Gallant. Either they are spineless, selfish, dim-witted, cowards with high pitched, nasal voices, or they are smart, hard working, selfless, macho men's men free from flaw. One character, a decorated war hero and general literally jogs miles a day, eating but a single meal a day (vegan of course).

He clearly despises the pacifism of Germany, and accuses Greece and Hungary of being traitors. He also despises President Obama, seemingly for not starting a hot war with Russia over Georgia, Crimea, and Syria?

The cartoonishly villainous Russians give long speeches about how pleased they are with the "idiotic" decisions of various western politicians. Shirreff's talking points seem to be that 1) NATO funding has been gutted to such a degree that it is incapable of defending Europe and 2) that NATO nations are incapable of cooperating to stop an invasion.

Oddly the plot of the novel seems to undermine both of these arguments. Reality does also. The "gutted" NATO of 2019 accounts for 70% of the world's entire military spending. This is more than 14 times as much as Russia spends on its military.

Shirreff also bends the truth. He describes the T-14 Armata tanks and SU-57 stealth fighters, implying that they are super weapons and exist in great numbers. As of 2019 Russia has around 20 Armata tanks and 10 stealth fighters. NATO stealth fighters never make an appearance in this book. Instead he has NATO exclusively using F-16s for some reason.

If you want to learn something, read a different book. If you want trashy pulp giving repetitive speeches and bashing the author's political enemies, then this is a must read!

  • The Year Without a Summer

  • The History and Legacy of the 1815 Eruption of Mount Tambora
  • By: Charles River Editors
  • Narrated by: Mark Norman
  • Length: 1 hr and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    1.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 6

In many ways history is the story of human beings trying to control their destinies by overcoming the effects of their physical surroundings. As too many have learned, the best they could often do was cope with nature, and the various natural disasters produced around the globe. Consider, for example, the year 1816, known as the "Year Without a Summer", which found the working poor in both Europe and America facing starvation caused by factors that few, if any, of them understood.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Is this a joke???

  • By Peter Hardie on 04-16-19

short and sloppy

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

Reviewed: 11-07-18

the audio editing was highly flawed. the reader would read the same sentence multiple times if he made a mistake, but the audio editor never cut these out. the writing was not insightful, just containing an endless series of quotations without reference to modern scientific research. to add insult to injury the audio includes an aural reading of the bibliography, just to pass out the time.

  • Corpies

  • Super Powereds Spinoff, Book 1
  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Kyle McCarley
  • Length: 19 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5,009
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,708
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4,703

Titan was one of the nation's most loved and respected Heroes, until an infidelity scandal tore his image and family apart. After decades spent out of the limelight, Owen Daniels has decided to take up the mantle of Titan once again to try and make amends for his years away. Unfortunately, the Titan Scandal is still common knowledge, and no Hero team wants such a polarizing figure.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow, loved it!

  • By Leslie on 08-22-16

poor quality pulp

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

Reviewed: 10-27-18

I'm afraid I could only stomach the book to chapter 4 before giving up on it.

This is the kind of book where every female character is introduced by describing how attractive she is. I'm not sure why anybody would still be writing in that style, but apparently Mr. Hayes thinks that is what readers want?

Otherwise, the book is filled with tired cliches, wooden dialogue, and characters that are one-dimensional in a way that doesn't feel fun and cartoony but instead feels inept and boring. The editing seems to be incomplete as well. For example, the protagonist's agent is introduced twice in subsequent chapters. I can only guess that perhaps the first chapter was tacked on to a previously completed manuscript?

  • Change Agent

  • By: Daniel Suarez
  • Narrated by: Jeff Gurner
  • Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,919
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,663
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,651

New York Times best-selling author Daniel Suarez delivers an exhilarating sci-fi thriller exploring a potential future where CRISPR genetic editing allows the human species to control evolution itself. On a crowded train platform, Interpol agent Kenneth Durand feels the sting of a needle - and his transformation begins....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A terrifying look into our future

  • By Brian on 04-24-17

cartoony writing with a few​ interesting ideas

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

Reviewed: 05-22-17

The writing is mediocre at best but often cringe inducing, yet there are a few interesting ideas presented.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Prador Moon

  • A Novel of the Polity, Book 1
  • By: Neal Asher
  • Narrated by: David Marantz
  • Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 200
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 179
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 182

Neal Asher takes on first contact, Polity style. This original novel recounts the first contact between the aggressive Prador aliens, and the Polity Collective as it is forced to retool its society to a war footing. The overwhelming brute force of the Prador dreadnaughts causes several worlds and space stations to be overrun. Prador Moon follows the initial Polity defeats, to the first draws, and culminates in what might be the first Polity victory, told from the point of view of two unlikely heroes.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Best served BEFORE subsequent Polity stories

  • By SciFi Kindle on 01-22-14

boring. pulpy. derivative.

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

Reviewed: 05-16-15

if that is what you want, this is the book for you. also wooden writing and filled with self conscious cliches.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Debt audiobook cover art
  • Debt

  • The First 5,000 Years
  • By: David Graeber
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 17 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 914
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 801
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 801

Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems - to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods - that is, long before the invention of coins or cash.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stands Economics on Its Head

  • By E. J. Ford on 06-06-12

ham-fisted propaganda

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

Reviewed: 01-25-15

I bought this book based on author Charlie Stross' recommendation. I expected it to be an insightful explanation of trade, currency, and of course, debt. Unfortunately the single agenda of the book is to make you feel angry and conspired against. Graeber's various anecdotes are cherry-picked, and his conclusions nonsensical. His prose is heavy on emotion and light on clarity.

I regret buying this book and the time I spent reading it.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive

  • By: Bruce Schneier
  • Narrated by: Reese Emery
  • Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 150
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 130
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 131

How does society function when you can't trust everyone? When we think about trust, we naturally think about personal relationships or bank vaults. That's too narrow. Trust is much broader, and much more important. Nothing in society works without trust. It's the foundation of communities, commerce, democracy, everything. In this insightful and entertaining book, Schneier weaves together ideas from across the social and biological Science & Technology’s to explain how society induces trust.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the most useful books I have read.

  • By douglas on 12-01-16

A thorough summary of everything you already know

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

Reviewed: 06-07-13

I was looking for new thoughts on this topic, but found nothing. Instead Schneier merely explains fairly obvious things about the incentives and trust dynamics in countless situations. No solutions are proposed, and no new systems are explained. Personally, I found this book a waste of time.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5)

  • By: Hugh Howey
  • Narrated by: Minnie Goode
  • Length: 17 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,698
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,357
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,359

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of my favorites

  • By C. Bolliger on 11-19-12

fumbling and missed potential

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

Reviewed: 02-07-13

The author makes a number of bizarre choices in this story. First of all he sets the story in this amazing world, but then ignores the world almost entirely to concentrate on things we are all familiar with like first loves and disappointment. I didn't buy a book set in a post-apocalypse mile deep silo because I wanted to read a first time author's attempts to write about nuances of the human heart. If I wanted to do that I would probably pick up one of the all time literary classics. I BOUGHT A BOOK ABOUT A POST-APOCALYPSE MILE DEEP SILO BECAUSE I WANTED TO READ ABOUT A POST-APOCALYPSE MILE DEEP SILO.

In addition to this fundamental error, the author decides to tell many parts of the story by repeating the scene through several different characters' perspectives. Except he does so starting out with the character with the most information, and finishes with the character with the least.

You're supposed to tell about a character doing a dangerous thing from the perspective of a guy who just hears a rumor about it, then again from a guy who witnessed part of it, then lastly from the character doing the dangerous thing herself. Instead the author has a character do a dangerous thing and survive. Then tells the exact same event from the perspective of a character who frets about whether she survived or not. Then from a third character who wonders if the event even happened.

As a result, the story feels glacially slow and over padded.

Beyond that, I personally find it hard to care about characters who think only with their emotions, leading them to do things that are clearly stupid. Characters are constantly showing up to metaphorical knife fights armed with rolled up newspapers when any character with an ounce of intelligence would arrive with a metaphorical gun.

Finally, toward the very end of the omnibus, the author finally meanders toward an interesting moral dilemma regarding the reason the silo was built in the first place. Unfortunately he merely begins to sketch this out before concluding the book, leaving the reader unconvinced that the moral situation actually was a dilemma, or even precisely where he was going with it.

19 of 25 people found this review helpful