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Ammon

  • 101
  • reviews
  • 56
  • helpful votes
  • 1,082
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  • Hygge Living: The Practical Guide to Creating a Simple & Cozy Lifestyle the Danish Way

  • By: Thomas Nielson
  • Narrated by: Matyas J.
  • Length: 1 hr and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

What if there was another way to live besides the rat race - a cozy, straightforward life built not around pursuing material goods but on being content with what already makes you happy. All you have to do is reach out and take it! Yes, the simple secret to a peaceful, happy lifestyle is waiting for you just around the corner. And that is living the hygge way. Simple yet effective living! Did you know Danes are consistently voted the happiest people in the world, and once you understand hygge, it’s no mystery why.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • An Overview of Danish Mindful Living

  • By Ammon on 03-25-19

An Overview of Danish Mindful Living

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

Reviewed: 03-25-19

This review is for the audiobook version of <i>Hygge Living: The Practical Guide to Creating a Simple & Cozy Lifestyle the Danish Way</i> by Thomas Nielson and narrated by Matyas J. For the duration of this review I'm going to refer to this book by <i>Hygge Living</i> instead of its full title for brevity's sake.

<i>Hygge Living</i> is a short, practical, and upbeat look at the Danish philosophy of living called hygge. The first thing this book taught me is that I've been saying hygge wrong for as long as I've been aware of the word.

For my fellow philistines, It's not pronounced "High-Ghee", it's more like "Hoo-Guh". There, now I've taught y'all something. Just paying it forward, like I was taught.

If you've heard of Marie Kondo, either through her books or her Netflix show, then <i>Hygge Living</i> is going to feel right at home for you. Basically, it's the Danish version of minimalism and mindful living.

<i>Hygge Living</i> strives to impress upon its reader (or listener) the importance of leading a simple, examined life where experiences and relationships take priority over possessions and materialism. In this goal, I found it pretty effective.

The narration by Matyas J. was pleasant and very adequate. Matyas maintained an appropriate pace throughout the material and kept me engaged as a listener in what could have otherwise been a difficult kind of book to lend full attention.

My one criticism for this audiobook is its lack of a companion PDF. I would have appreciated a few simple, checklists and maybe some pictures of what "good hygge" looks like around the home, office, car, etc. This, however, is a "nice to have" and not a "must have" in my perspective and in no way diminished my enjoyment of <i>Hygge Living</i>.

Books like this often fall into the trap of sounding like a podcast or a series of blog posts. <i>Hygge Living</i> is a fully developed, well thought out book. <i>Hygge Living</i> inspired in me a desire to find joy in the simple things in life. If you're curious about hygge, it's a great place to start.

***Full Disclosure: I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Listen to the Signal: Short Stories, Volume 1

  • By: Rob Dircks
  • Narrated by: Rob Dircks
  • Length: 4 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 26

Back when I started this project, I was thinking what the heck, writing a few short stories will keep me fresh, let me try things I might not try otherwise, act as a sketch book of my story ideas: the funny, the weird, the scary, the sappy, and sometimes all of that mashed up together.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Optimistic scifi - get yours here!

  • By Julie W. Capell on 04-17-19

Philip K. Dick . . . with a Sense of Humor

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

Reviewed: 03-07-19

This review is for the audiobook version of Listen To The Signal: Short Stories Volume 1 written and read by Rob Dircks. Let me start this by saying that I am a fan of short stories and even short story collections. I don't believe that everything written, especially in fantasy and/or science fiction circles, has to be part of a trilogy or longer series. I like stories that end, except for the Lord of the Rings. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Christopher Tolkien "unearths" something else JRR never got around to publishing in his day.

I've read and enjoyed all of Dircks work released to date and this collection of short stories will feel familiar to anyone who's already read (or listened to) his Telsa books, You're Going to Mars, or The Wrong Unit.

I find most short story collections to be . . . a little uneven. Usually, you get a mixed bag, in terms of quality, with only a couple of above average stories tossed in. Listen to the Signal is a minor exception. There are no stinkers here, but the stories do range in quality from good, to very good, to very very good.

The best way to describe this collection is to say that it's like Philip K. Dick, but with a sense of humor. You've got stories about aliens, robots and AI, time travel, the effects of living in space on human DNA, and even a yarn about a candy crush clone, all in one package. These stories are a reminder that even though life may be resembling a science fiction future, life is still precious. Also, life is funny. Unless you <spoiler>get bit on the rear by an evil tick</spoiler>. Then it's not funny, it's terrifying.

Given that these are literally short stories, I can't review too much without spoiling them individually. I'll settle for talking about my favorite story from Listen.

My favorite story in this collection centered a character who hates his job (relatable, right?). In a world where the singularity has already happened, he spends his workdays teaching AIs to be more human (not as relatable, but interesting). This story managed to be humorous, relevant (this is an actual job you can get now), and touching.

Before and in between stories, Dircks provides insight into his creative process and shares some of the experiences that resulted in each work. I enjoyed this peek behind the scenes.
Not every author should also handle narration chores for their books (except for Neil Gaiman -- he should always narrate his books). That said, Dircks does an admirable job reading his text. There was a distinction between his expository interludes and when he was actually performing that felt natural and I appreciated that as a listener.

***Full Disclosure: I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

  • By: Robert A. Heinlein
  • Narrated by: Lloyd James
  • Length: 14 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,568
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,030
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,055

In what is considered one of Heinlein's most hair-raising, thought-provoking, and outrageous adventures, the master of modern science fiction tells the strange story of an even stranger world. It is 21st-century Luna, a harsh penal colony where a revolt is plotted between a bashful computer and a ragtag collection of maverick humans, a revolt that goes beautifully until the inevitable happens. But that's the problem with the inevitable: it always happens.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Heinlein's Masterpiece

  • By Peter on 12-04-06

Better than Starship Troopers Even If It's Not Fun

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

Reviewed: 03-06-19

Moon was not as much fun as Starship Troopers, but it was a better book. And Mycroft is now my favorite AI in sci-fi literature. I wish I could have the sort of interactions with Alexa that Manny has with "Mike".

  • You're Going to Mars!

  • By: Rob Dircks
  • Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,161
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,087
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,085

Living and slaving in Fill City One, you get used to the smell. We call it the Everpresent Stink. But every once in a while, on a spring day with a breeze, it clears away enough to remind us that there is something more out there. Most Fillers' wildest dreams would be just to get past the walls and live in the mainland. But my dream? It’s a little bigger. I’m going to Mars.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Author nails it again!

  • By @newhaven265 on 11-14-18

Dircks’ Best!

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

Reviewed: 12-31-18

To write his latest novel, You're Going to Mars, Rob Dircks seems to have added one part Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, two parts The Martian, a pinch of The Hunger Games, a smattering of Goodfellas, and thrown in equal amounts of Survivor and American Idol. I found the results to be delicious.

Protagonist, Paper, is the pluckiest heroine I've come across recently in this decidedly optimistic dystopian novel. Born to a life of generational indentured servitude within a Mob-Run city state, Paper dreams of winning a slot on the Reality TV show where the grand prize is ... you guessed it—a trip to the red planet.

<spoiler>Paper manages to "find her golden ticket" (in the form of a special scarab beetle) and escapes to LA just in time for casting to conclude and for the filming to begin. Along the way she becomes besties with a pop starlet, finds true love, sciences the sh-- out of some problems a la Mark Watney, and makes the world a better place. </spoiler>

Khristine Hvam was an excellent choice as narrator. She is one of a handful of female narrators able to not annoy me when she reads male characters (please note: only a handful of male narrators are equally capable of adequately performing female characters IMO). That said, this is a female driven novel and Hvam was able to create unique voices for each of the main female leads so that I always knew who was talking at any given point.

Be warned: there is a small amount of singing in this book. This is a personal thing, but I generally find singing in audio to be cringeworthy. If you can get past that (and you should) then you really shouldn't find any reason not to enjoy You're Going to Mars.

***** Disclaimer: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Jingle Bell Pop

  • By: John Seabrook
  • Narrated by: Erin Moon
  • Length: 1 hr and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,414
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,097
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,096

On Christmas Eve, 1818, in a small Austrian village, a local Catholic priest and a church organist composed a Christmas carol that changed the course of holiday music forever. Exactly two hundred years later, it’s not the holiday season until you’ve heard “Silent Night” in the car, at the store and on TV – all in the same day. 

In Jingle Bell Pop, John Seabrook, acclaimed author of The Song Machine, takes us deep inside the holiday music business. We go behind the scenes to meet some of the producers, songwriters and recording artists responsible for the timeless tunes we hear on repeat between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Making of a Christmas Hit

  • By Kingsley on 12-07-18

I'll Be NPR for Christmas

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

Reviewed: 12-09-18

Jingle Bell Pop is perfect for putting on in the background while you're decorating Christmas cookies when or running around town getting the last few errands completed before the big day.

Fans of NPR-style programming will feel right at home. There's plenty of interesting tidbits about many of your favorite Christmas earworms to keep you listening.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Consuming Fire

  • The Interdependency, Book 2
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,989
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,577
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,564

The Interdependency, humanity’s interstellar empire, is on the verge of collapse. The Flow, the extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible, is disappearing, leaving entire star systems stranded. When it goes, human civilization may go with it - unless desperate measures can be taken. Emperox Grayland II, the leader of the Interdependency, is ready to take those measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But nothing is ever that easy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Building upon a collapse, this follow-up exceeds!

  • By C. White on 10-16-18

Better than The First

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

Reviewed: 12-01-18

Exceeded my expectations in every way. A very fun space opera with humor and intrigue. I can’t wait until the next series entry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Christmas Train

  • By: David Baldacci
  • Narrated by: Tim Matheson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,981
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,522
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,527

Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to L.A. in time for Christmas. Forced to take the train across the country because of a slight "misunderstanding" at airport security, he begins a journey of self-discovery and rude awakenings, mysterious goings-on and thrilling adventures, screwball escapades and holiday magic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • On A Whim For Fun

  • By Patti on 09-25-07

David Baldacci Wrote a Freakin' Hallmark Movie

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

Reviewed: 12-01-18

Imagine that David Baldacci was writing a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. There’s no government conspiracy to unravel. There’s no ex-NFL player turned cop, turned FBI consultant.

It’s not a joke. That’s it.

  • A 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 1,700
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,478
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,462

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome!

  • By JB on 02-28-16

Hands-down the most accessible book on investing I’ve ever read!

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

Reviewed: 10-19-18

Wow! Random Walk Down Wall Street was such a phenomenal read/listen!

It is, hands-down, the most accessible book on investing I’ve ever read. It completely demystified the art of personal wealth generation and management.

Now, I’ve got some homework. But for once I feel better equipped for the challenge.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 221
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 206

Robinson Crusoe is one of the most enduring adventures of the past four centuries and one of the most well-known works in the English language. Or is it? Recently discovered amidst the papers of the 20th-century writer and historian H. P. Lovecraft is what claims to be the true story of Robinson Crusoe. Taken from the castaway's own journals and memoirs, and fact-checked by Lovecraft himself, it is free from many of Defoe's edits and alterations. From Lovecraft's work a much smoother, simpler tale emerges - but also a far more disturbing one.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Robinson Crusoe is always a tough read...

  • By William J Waite on 09-07-18

Stylish, but Ultimately Dull

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

Reviewed: 10-14-18

I’m a pretty big Peter Clines fan, so I was really looking forward to this.

I give it major points for style. Clines nails both the tone of the Crusoe & Cthulhu mythos.

Style wasn’t enough for me ultimately. The Eerie Adventures were slow and mostly dull.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Lethal White

  • A Cormoran Strike Novel
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 22 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,552
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,076
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,042

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy's story, Strike and Robin Ellacott - once his assistant, now a partner in the agency - set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best 22 hours of the last week

  • By Jennifer on 09-27-18

Better Than Your Average Thriller

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

Reviewed: 09-28-18

This was my least favorite of the Cormoran Strike novels so far … and I still rated it 4 stars. I can't help it, it's still better than your average thriller. Strike and Robin are definitely one of my favorite detective pairs. If you're already a fan of the series, pick this up. If you've never read one before, start with The Cuckoo's Calling first.

Robert Glenister is very good; I wish he narrated more books. He pulls off all the nuances of the many distinct accents in and around England with aplomb.