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Richard

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  • reviews
  • 258
  • helpful votes
  • 21
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  • A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales

  • By: The Great Courses, Hannah B. Harvey
  • Narrated by: Hannah B. Harvey
  • Length: 12 hrs and 27 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 91
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88

In The Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales, Dr. Hannah Blevins Harvey unpacks more than 60 of our most beloved stories, fables, fairy tales, and songs from around the world - providing you with a fascinating, in-depth view into the history, context, and deeper meaning of the tales we know and love. As you travel through the catalogs of Grimm, Aesop, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault, Oscar Wilde, and so many more, you'll gain profound insights into how and why these stories came to be.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting material

  • By Amazon Customer on 08-13-17

Terrible Delivery, Not a Lot of Content

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

Reviewed: 12-18-17

About 90% of these "lectures" are just the author telling fairytales, folktales, fables, etc. The other 10% (at most) is commentary on the stories. I was really hoping for something closer to a 50/50 mix. Although the author does include some interesting variations on familiar tales (for example, there are several versions of Cinderella), if you're interested enough in fairytales to pick up this title, you've probably already heard most of them. So, this is basically a collection of stories most people have already heard, with a few that might be new to some.

What really makes this into a terrible experience is the lecturer's delivery. The conceit is that she's telling the tales to a group of children, which would be fine if she didn't include weird audience participation cues for them that are distracting out of context. She also trots out a stable of accents so bad as to be offensive (think Natasha and Boris from Bullwinkle, and Apu from the Simpsons). There's no reason to include them whatsoever, and they're unlistenable. She also inserts a nervous chittering laugh about every third sentence, regardless of whether or not anything in the tale is funny.

Listening to this is painful, and the reward for doing so is minimal.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Live. Save. Spend. Repeat.

  • The Life You Want with the Money You Have
  • By: Kim Anderson
  • Narrated by: Kim Anderson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8

When life feels like a perpetual treadmill rather than a grand adventure, something is off. As bills increase, income seems to fall behind, and the economy wavers unreliably, you must figure out how to create the life you desire with the money you have rather than wish you had. Discover a simple-to-implement plan that merges your unique life goals with your money - complete with concrete, workable how-tos each step of the way. No matter how much you earn, you can make strategic money moves that will build your confidence in your current financial standing.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Decent financial advise for a particular audience

  • By Richard on 11-03-17

Decent financial advise for a particular audience

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

Reviewed: 11-03-17

This book presents several reasonable and effective strategies for improving your finances. There's a lot of emphasis on setting goals and learning to be happier without spending tons of money. If the phrase "envelope system" is familiar to you, though, you're not going to find a lot of new material in this book.

This book also has a very specific audience in mind - evangelical christian housewives. The author falls squarely in that demographic, and she assumes that you do too. If you listen to this book, expect to hear a lot of bible verses and tips for finding designer purses on the cheap.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Clockwork Rocket

  • By: Greg Egan
  • Narrated by: Adam Epstein
  • Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 36

In Yalda's universe, light has mass, no universal speed, and its creation generates energy. On Yalda's world, plants make food by emitting light into the dark night sky. And time is different: An astronaut might measure decades passing while visiting another star, only to return and find that just weeks have elapsed for her friends. On the farm where she lives, Yalda sees strange meteors that are entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed...

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good Egan Hard SF story near ruined by the narator

  • By James on 09-08-16

Tedious, disjointed, pedantic

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

Reviewed: 09-26-14

Caveat: I tried very hard to finish this book, but I gave up about 2 hours from the end. So, maybe there's some big reveal that makes the rest of this mess worth it, but I wasn't willing to stick it out any longer.

The narrator was bizarre. His entire speech pattern is choppy, and he makes a lot of bizarre choices with character voices. A lot of the characters sounded either drugged or severely depressed. I usually have a high tolerance for poor narrators, but Mr. Epstein was bad enough that I'll think twice about listening to anything else that he narrates.

Worse, huge chunks of this book are tedious descriptions of made up physics. I really liked the idea of a story set in a universe with different physics than our own. However, I'm not interested in hearing the details of the equations that govern light in that universe. A little bit would be good, so that the reader could get a handle on the "rules of the game," but there's way too much of it. It's like if you read a fantasy novel that not only described a system of magic, but also described all the necessary wand movements in excruciating detail.

The book repeatedly jumps forward in time by a few years to move the story along. It's jarring, and it gets in the way of developing an attachment to the main character. All of the skipping forward means that every character point is "developed" with a sledgehammer. There's no time for Yalda to grow, she just gets hit over and over with major life events.

Finally, this book seems to be trying to explore some feminist themes, but everything it has to say on the subject is so basic that I can't even begin to call it provocative. Nonetheless, Greg Egan seems to really want the reader to know that oppressing women is bad. He mainly presents this earth-shattering insight by repeatedly creating flat female extras and then assaulting or killing them. It's the "woman in a refridgerator" trope bizarrely used in support of (again, the most basic possible) feminism.

This book is miserable.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Way of Kings

  • Book One of The Stormlight Archive
  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
  • Length: 45 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 60,360
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 54,934
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 54,924

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow - 45 hours long and leaves you wanting more!

  • By Lore on 03-31-12

Run away before it gets you too!

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

Reviewed: 03-25-14

This book was great. It's roughly a 50-hour listen, but I wanted more when it was finished. Thankfully, Words of Radiance (the second book) was available, and I was able to jump right in. Unfortunately, book three isn't available yet, and has a projected release of Fall 2015. After that, the series is supposed to extend to ten books total. So, now I'm going to spend the next 10 years or more constantly waiting for the next book in this series. If you want to escape my fate, just don't pick this book up.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Drunkard's Walk

  • How Randomness Rules Our Lives
  • By: Leonard Mlodinow
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,010
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,745
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,713

In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interested in statistics? This is the book.

  • By Robert on 02-21-14

Excellent book, but a little short

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

Reviewed: 03-11-14

This book crams a lot of information into a short time. I thought it was a fascinating look at the intersections between statistics and psychology. A lot of the book is devoted to exploring the ways that the human mind misinterprets randomness and misunderstands probabilities. The author brings out examples from game theory, the stock market, and scientific studies, then explains how your instincts probably don't match reality when a random (or uncertain) element is in play.

I would recommend this book to just about anyone. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was that I wanted more.

  • The Spirit Lens

  • A Novel of the Collegia Magica
  • By: Carol Berg
  • Narrated by: David DeVries
  • Length: 17 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 397
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 342
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 347

For Portier de Savin-Duplais, failed student of magic, sorcery's decline into ambiguity and cheap illusion is but a culmination of life's bitter disappointments. Reduced to tending the library at Sabria's last collegia magica, he fights off despair with scholarship. But when the king of Sabria charges him to investigate an attempted murder that has disturbing magical resonances, Portier believes his dreams of a greater destiny might at last be fulfilled.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • First Rate

  • By mike on 01-27-12

Starts a little slow and then gets better

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

Reviewed: 02-26-14

This is a detective story set in a "the magic is failing" world. For the most part, you can see how the mystery is shaping up based on what the characters already know, but there are a few pieces of the puzzle that just show up out of nowhere. The story is a little frustrating, but it's also interesting. Since this is the first book in a trilogy, I should also probably say that the second book is better than this one, but the third book is worse. It's not a bad trilogy to get into, but it's probably not going to be many people's favorite.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Curtsies & Conspiracies

  • Finishing School, Book 2
  • By: Gail Carriger
  • Narrated by: Moira Quirk
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,847
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,697
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,699

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy. Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners. Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gail Carriger is truly an author of Quality!

  • By David on 11-07-13

Steampunk silliness

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

Reviewed: 01-06-14

This is more of the same stuff that was in Ettiquette and Espionage (the first book in this series.) It's a light, fun story that doesn't take itself too seriously. The book is short and aimed at a young adult market, but I think anyone looking for an entertaining read will probably like it.

I think the narrator does a good job with the material. The tone she uses is a little silly, which matches the story well. She also does good voices for each of the characters, which makes the story easier to follow.

If I had a complaint, it would be that the story concludes a little too abruptly. The resolution could have been expanded a little, but it was still a fun read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Incrementalists

  • By: Skyler White, Steven Brust
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter, Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 332
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 301
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 305

The Incrementalists - a secret society of 200 people with an unbroken lineage reaching back 40,000 years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations, races, and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, just a little bit at a time. Their ongoing argument about how to do this is older than most of their individual memories. Phil, whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone else’s, has loved Celeste - and argued with her - for most of the last 400 years.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable/creative. Not a grand historical vista.

  • By Jason on 02-05-14

Confusing, boring, horrible ending

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

Reviewed: 01-06-14

This book was a huge disappointment. The premise sounded pretty good - secret society, crazy member, potential disaster - it could have been good. Instead, it's a book where one guy works through his girlfriend issues in a batcrap-crazy memory palace.

This book is hard to follow. I say that as someone who has read A LOT of fantasy. I'm used to sorting out the details of an alternate world where things just work differently. In this book, the "garden" where, apparently, all of mankind's memories get stored is dropped on the reader and they're left to figure out what's going on. Worse, characters will often say to the newbie "That's just how it works in the garden," and there's no rhyme or reason to it. The newbie and the reader are both just expected to say "sure, that makes sense," when it doesn't. The newbie seemed to figure it out over the course of the book. This particular reader never did.

Also, there are three characters in this book - the guy, the newbie, and everyone else. It's like everyone is the exact same person, hanging out in a different body. Worse, one of the characters is actually possessed, and there's absolutely no way to tell. That character is LITERALLY another character in a different body.

This book is seriously a mess. I was glad when it started winding down, because I wanted to be done with the story. Of course, in the final few minutes, they reveal that despite the fact that it seems like they've wrapped everything up, they've actually solved nothing, and there will need to be a sequel. Keep in mind that the authors don't build this up or show it in any way, they just have the characters say it, straight out of the blue, with no support or reason.

This is a miserable book.

  • Sheepfarmer's Daughter

  • The Deed of Paksenarrion, Book 1
  • By: Elizabeth Moon
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Van Dyck
  • Length: 15 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,539
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,115
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,133

Refusing to marry a pig farmer and joining the army, even if it means never seeing her family again, Paksenarrion begins an adventure that enables her to restore an overthrown ruler.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing start

  • By Christopher on 08-12-12

Good story, plenty of action.

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

Reviewed: 01-06-14

This book is a story about a woman in a mercenary company. The world is a pretty standard fantasy setting - castles, villages, knights, and a dash of magic. The book has its strengths and weaknesses, but I thought it added up to a good story. I'm currently listening to the second one in the series, which should at least tell you that I wanted more after listening to this one.

A large portion of this book is spent describing Paksenarrion's military training, and her subsequent participation in roughly two years of military campaigining. The emphasis is definitely on what happens, instead of on the emotions of the characters. That doesn't mean that there's no character development, it's just that it's mainly done through showing Paksenarrion's reactions to what's going on. As her reactions change over time, you see how she grows.

If you really hate battle scenes in fantasy novels, this isn't the book for you. If you enjoy action and struggle, then it's probably a good choice.

  • Rosemary and Rue

  • An October Daye Novel, Book 1
  • By: Seanan McGuire
  • Narrated by: Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,002
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,740
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,749

The world of Faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie’s survival—but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A fairy tale with grit.

  • By Jan on 06-14-10

The start of a fun series.

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

Reviewed: 01-02-14

If you like the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, you're probably going to like this book and the series that it starts. October Daye is a little bit broken, which makes her a good protagonist. She's trying to muddle her way through in a world that contains people who are dangerous and unbalanced, while dealing with some personal issues of her own.

The story follows the blueprint for a noir detective novel pretty closely, while being trimmed out with the details of a fairytale world. The writing is good enough that even though you know there are sequels to this book, you still wonder if October might not make it through alive.

There's good news and bad news about the sequels. The good news is that they are each as good as this one or better. The bad news is that the series isn't finished yet, so when you get all the way through Chimes at Midnight (the latest one at the moment), you'll be impatiently waiting for the next installment.