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Shawn Scarber

Dallas, TX
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 23
  • helpful votes
  • 52
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  • The Dark Tower I

  • The Gunslinger
  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 7 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,027
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,866
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 21,833

In the first book of this brilliant series, Stephen King introduces listeners to one of his most powerful creations: Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My favorite book.

  • By David Murphy on 06-11-17

Even better than I remembered

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

Reviewed: 05-29-17

I read this years ago, and I remember liking it, but I'm not sure I managed to take in as much in the first reading as I did during this listen. By King standards, this is a short novel. It's over almost as soon as it starts, but with the rich world building and character development, King delivers a lot in a nicely paced, compact read. When I first read this I managed to make it to the third book in the series. My goal this time is to complete them all. Definitely a must for a Weird Western readers, even though it's more a science fantasy.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Oryx and Crake

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Campbell Scott
  • Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,953
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,707
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,737

The narrator of Atwood's riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very Scary Stuff

  • By Doug on 07-21-03

Hopefully this isn't prophetic

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

Reviewed: 05-26-17

Great novel, but I hope it isn't prophecy. Oryx & Crake is the sprawling story of how a plausible apocalypse happens with the help of three entangled individuals. Told in flashbacks and the present setting of the apocalypse, Jimmy recounts the events that brought humanity to the final end.

  • The Ballad of Black Tom

  • By: Victor LaValle
  • Narrated by: Kevin R. Free
  • Length: 3 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 720
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 676
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 671

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father's head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his black skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their trained cops. But when he delivers an occult page to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the best books I've heard all year.

  • By Jason on 05-24-16

Lovecraftian horror from Harlem

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

Reviewed: 01-23-17

Victor LaValle's offering to the Lovecraft Mythos embraces the pulp era's weirdness all while shedding a bright light on the racist elements of Lovecraft's works. LaValle paints a vivid and varied image of early 1900s New York that resonates. This is Mythos at its finest, and I'm glad to see it tackled from a diverse perspective. It was all the more enjoyable for it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Writing Productivity Bundle

  • Write Better, Faster, The 8-Minute Writing Habit, and Dictate Your Book
  • By: Monica Leonelle
  • Narrated by: Cindy Piller
  • Length: 12 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 42

In 2012, fiction author Monica Leonelle made a life-changing decision to learn to write faster. Through months of trial-and-error, hundreds of hours of experimentation, and dozens of manuscripts, she tweaked and honed until she could easily write 10,000 words in a day, at speeds over 3500+ words per hour!

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Badly Needs an Editor

  • By Claire S on 05-26-16

Actionable steps to take your productivity to the next level

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

Reviewed: 07-11-16

This complete set of books will give you actionable steps to improve your overall writing productivity. I especially enjoyed the author's openness about her various trials and errors, and a thorough explanation of how she corrected her pain points. I've used dictation for a few years, but only for notes and outlines. I'll try dictating scenes for my next story. I believe these books are targeted to genre authors who wish to produce more for the independent book market, but there's no reason a traditionally published author can't take advantage of the many, many productivity hacks.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • To the Lighthouse

  • By: Virginia Woolf
  • Narrated by: Nicole Kidman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 488
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 448
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 444

To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf’s arresting analysis of domestic family life, centering on the Ramseys and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the early 1900s. Nicole Kidman ( Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut), who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Woolf in the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours, brings the impressionistic prose of this classic to vibrant life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful combination of text and narrator

  • By R. H OAKLEY on 06-12-16

A mesmerizing work of intimate brilliance

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

Reviewed: 12-16-15

This is only the second work of Woolf's I've read, and overall it presents an intimate portrait of a family who lives near a lighthouse. The frail assumptions, the insecurities, the tiny triumphs, the rare moments of insight are all captured here with a stream of consciousness technique that is as lovely and flowing as the sea. The many wars play a fundamental role in shaping the narrative as male and female characters explore the meaning of the opposite sex and both fail to understand the needs and desires of the other. These inner conflicts are amplified by the moment to moment actions of this story's cast. A loving experience, I wish I could have experienced this work with fewer daily distractions myself. I can't wait to read the rest of Woolf's all too short bibliography.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Old Equations

  • By: Jake Kerr
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki, Gabrielle de Cuir, Heather Scott, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5

A married couple face eight years of separation as the husband goes off on a deep space mission. They knew it would be difficult, but they weren't prepared for the cruelty of the unknown. Coming to terms with new equations and ways of looking at the future is difficult enough, but can any relationship prevail when the only tie to the present starts to break down?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting take on alternate history

  • By Shawn Scarber on 11-04-15

Interesting take on alternate history

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

Reviewed: 11-04-15

In Jake Kerr's "The Old Equations" the space explorer in the story lives in a universe where Albert Einstein's theories were never taken seriously. Relativity was the ravings of a crackpot amateur scientist--until mission control and the astronaut begin to see anomalies in the quantum entangled communications.

A wonderful bit of short fiction with deep emotion, I highly recommend "The Old Equations."

  • The Lady from Guatemala

  • By: V. S. Pritchett
  • Narrated by: Chris MacDonnell, Tom McKay, Frazer Douglas, and others
  • Length: 25 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 7

The Lady from Guatemala is a collection of stories from one of the most distinguished short story writers in English. From first to last, V.S. Pritchett's writing displays a shrewd understanding of class and character and a quick ear for the inner, deeper rhythms of dialogue. His subject matter is always human nature, its peculiarity, its tenacity... His prose is clear, his observation complex and multi-layered.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An amazing collection

  • By Shawn Scarber on 10-29-15

An amazing collection

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

Reviewed: 10-29-15

I can't write a review long enough to do this collection justice. Pritchett rarely travels into the realm of fantasy or the surreal, instead choosing to write modern tales of English life. Some of his strongest works focus on the post-war years and involve affairs and the trials of married life. Pritchett wrote in such perfect detail that it's easy to imagine his characters as real people. His character interactions and their emotions truly drive the story. Excellent collection. I'm sure I'll read more.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Complete Stories of Anton Chekhov, Vol. 1

  • 1882–1885
  • By: Anton Chekhov
  • Narrated by: Anthony Heald
  • Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 111
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97

A Russian author, playwright, and physician, Anton Chekhov is widely considered one of the best short-story writers of all time. Having influenced such writers as Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, and James Joyce, Chekhov’s stories are often noted for their stream-of-consciousness style and their vast number.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Riot

  • By Robin H. on 05-04-13

A master storyteller

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

Reviewed: 10-02-15

In an effort to master the art of writing short fiction, I've turned to one of the great masters of this medium. Refreshingly, many of these stories are actually quite short, which is often the greater writing challenge.

The content of these stories cover provincial life in pre-revolution Russia. Most are cautionary tales told with economy and sympathy for the characters. The reader is often left to draw her own conclusions.

I can't wait to hear volume 2.

  • Magic for Beginners

  • Stories
  • By: Kelly Link
  • Narrated by: Various
  • Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 43

Perfect for fans of George Saunders, Karen Russell, Neil Gaiman, and Aimee Bender, Magic for Beginners is an exquisite, dreamlike dispatch from a virtuoso storyteller who can do seemingly anything. Kelly Link reconstructs modern life through an intoxicating prism, conjuring up unforgettable worlds with humor and humanity. These stories are at once ingenious and deeply moving. They leave the listener astonished and exhilarated.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Second time not the charm...

  • By Zkatsma on 02-19-19

Not really for me

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

Reviewed: 09-14-15

There's no doubt that Kelly Link is a talented writer and surrealist. These stories are engaging, well-written, full of interesting characters, and interesting takes on literary structure, but most of them just didn't work for me. I really prefer more grounded fantasy. I also felt no emotional engagement with these works, other than a great deal of impatience.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Three-Body Problem

  • By: Cixin Liu
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,669
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,753
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,761

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • They create a computer using a 30 million man Army

  • By Josh P on 12-07-14

Great science fiction

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

Reviewed: 08-07-15

The Three Body Problem was an excellent read. Structured a bit like a mystery, this alien invasion trope set primarily in China explores first contact with a technologically superior race. Well worth the read if you're a fan of hard science fiction.