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Dave

Whittier, CA
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  • The Cruel Prince

  • By: Holly Black
  • Narrated by: Caitlin Kelly
  • Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,022
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,854
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,851

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him - and face the consequences.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So good you’ll want to cyberstalk the author

  • By Amy A. Bartol on 01-25-18

Screams in Faerie are Like Birdsong

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

Reviewed: 09-29-18

Forget Tinkerbell.

Stories where faeries are portrayed as dangerous and wicked are something of a weakness for me. At one point, our heroine Jude is screaming as faeries are dragging her and her sister into the forest for dark purposes, and she reflects that "screams in Faerie are like birdsong." That image stopped me cold as I considered a dark forest full of screaming. And Holly Black does that kind of thing throughout the novel, filling it with twists, surprises, and terror.

This one reads reads as if Veronica Mars was kidnapped from Neptune and trapped playing a Game of Thrones. Jude and her siblings are brutally stolen from their parents by a faerie prince and raised in his house across the border of Faerie. Always an outsider, Jude is a human living among immortals -- many who see her as a lesser creature. And she's determined to show them she's just as dangerous as they are, while maybe helping out some of the captive humans trapped in Faerie.

Holly Black is on a hot streak lately. Between this, The Darkest Part of the Forest, and the Coldest Girl in Coldtown -- I just can't get enough, Not only does she have a knack for writing deliciously treacherous fae, she writes teenagers with the perfect amount of angst, honing in on how it feels to be at that point in life where you're not yet an adult, but definitely not a child.

Caitlyn Kelly's narration matches Black's prose perfectly -- tasting as delicious as the forbidden apples immortals use to trap their prey.

Black is the queen of the dangerous fae who live just across our border of reality but so love crossing over to steal us for a kiss, a bite, a drink. This one is a treat indeed, and I can't wait to hear what she has in store for us next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Handmaid's Tale

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Claire Danes
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,266
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,608
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,604

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My Top Pick for 2012

  • By Emily - Audible on 11-30-12

Some Books Get Scarier As Time Marches On

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

Reviewed: 07-08-18

I came into this book a newbie -- with very little preconceptions other than it was a classic dystopian story. I haven't seen the recent TV series. But with everything going on in the world, I thought it finally time to dive into this book.

And it's terrifying story to behold. It's hard to imagine how a book from the 1980s can project into our current cultural and political landscape and seem to hit so accurately. The characters and themes are familiar and often brutal. It's full of haunting imagery we hope will not play out in our own future. Men, seemingly good men, who stand by silent and do nothing while evil takes over.

Claire Danes gives a phenomenal, nuanced performance of a woman filled with longing and desire. Not only for a world better than the hell she's living, but also a woman who hungers for simpler things, like a man's touch without the danger that now poses.

The Handmaid's Tale continues to be a very timely and human novel, suggesting the dangers lurking around the corner.

  • Last Shot

  • Star Wars
  • By: Daniel José Older
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson, Daniel José Older, January LaVoy
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,013
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,901
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,898

It's one of the galaxy's most dangerous secrets: a mysterious transmitter with unknown power and a reward for its discovery that most could only dream of claiming. But those who fly the Millennium Falcon throughout its infamous history aren't your average scoundrels. Not once, but twice, the crew of the Falcon tries to claim the elusive prize - first, Lando Calrissian and the droid L3-37 at the dawn of an ambitious career, and later, a young and hungry Han Solo with the help of his copilot, Chewbacca.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • It's a letdown and boring

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-19-18

Han Solo? He Would've Disappointed You

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

Reviewed: 07-08-18

I haven't kept up with all the Star Wars books either in the old EU or this one, but when I saw Daniel Jose Older was writing a Han and Lando book, I knew I had to check it out. After listening to it, I'd say it's probably one of my favorite Star Wars novels to date -- right up there with James S.A. Corey's Honor Among Thieves and the original Zahn trilogy. (And it reminds me that I have some holes to fill.)

The conceit of the story is that a relic from Han and Lando's past resurfaces with the potential to turn the galaxy's droids into murderbots. That bit from the Force Awakens where Kylo Ren tells Rey about what a disappointment Han was as a father? In this story, we see Han struggling to learn how raise young Ben, be a stable husband for Leia, and generally just settle down. He's failing on pretty much all fronts and he misses being able to do things he was actually good at. At the same time, Lando is trying to figure out if he's a scoundrel or a hero and whether or not he has the ability to stay in a committed relationship. Rest assured: this book is just as much about Lando as it is Han.

You can tell from pretty early on that Daniel Jose Older didn't take writing a Star Wars book lightly -- he was aiming to write a great novel about aging heroes reconciling with their failures of the past and present. There's a lot to be said about the current status and servitude of droids. Additionally, he has a blast playing with some of the conventions of Star Wars...like an ewok slicer and a certain gungan who will leaving you rolling as he blasts your preconceptions of his species. The new pilot that Han and Lando pair up with who reminds them of their younger selves is one of my favorite new characters in the SW EU.

I was a little surprised to see Marc Thompson splitting narrator duties with Daniel Jose Older and January Lavoy. Thompson does the heavy lifting, and while his pacing and intonation still seem forced to me at times, his voices for the characters are amazing -- especially some of the new characters to this story. Daniel Jose Older does the Han Solo flashbacks and it is a delight to hear him narrator hit the rhythm of his own prose. I thought Lavoy was an odd choice at first to do the Lando segments, but in the end she did phenomenal voicing both Lando and Ellthree.

For Star Wars fans -- especially Han and Lando fans -- this is a must. It's fun-filled adventure about two has-beens trying to right their past and present in a galaxy far, far away.

  • So You Want to Start a Brewery?

  • The Lagunitas Story
  • By: Tony Magee
  • Narrated by: Brett Barry
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 796
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 733
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 734

So You Want to Start a Brewery? is the first-person account of Tony Magee's gut-wrenching challenges and heart-warming successes in founding Lagunitas Brewing Company. In just 20 years, the company has grown from a seat-of-the-pants, one-man operation to be the fifth largest--and the fastest growing--craft brewer in the United States.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I did not even like beer before I read this book!

  • By D. Bessire on 09-18-15

I Love Lagunitas...But I Digress

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

Reviewed: 05-28-18

By the time I got around to listening to this one, Lagunitas had been bought out by Heineken. Hopefully, the beer continues to taste as good as it has in the past, but it's fair to say the sale left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths as many complained one of great craft breweries selling out.

This book, written before the Heineken deal, is not a biography, but a business memoir, stresses author and Lagunitas founder Tony Magee. Mainly, it's a lot of stories about the breweries early days -- how it got founded, how it moved from one location to another to another, and some of the obstacles it came up against. Magee often apologizes for his digressions, but in the end that's what this book feels like -- one digression after another with little to hold it together. I can't imagine it appealing to people who aren't diehard craft-brewing or Lagunitas fans.

The audiobook isn't helped much by Brett Barry's narration. Technically, there's nothing wrong with Barry and I'd be happy to hear him read other books. But here, his narration mixed with Magee's words make the author sound like someone you would not want to hang out at a bar and have a few drinks with.

  • Farewell My Lovely

  • By: Raymond Chandler
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,508
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,387
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,386

Eight years ago Moose Malloy and cute little redhead Velma were getting married - until someone framed Malloy for armed robbery. Now his stretch is up and he wants Velma back. PI Philip Marlow meets Malloy one hot day in Hollywood and, out of the generosity of his jaded heart, agrees to help him. Dragged from one smoky bar to another, Marlowe's search for Velma turns up plenty of dangerous gangsters with a nasty habit of shooting first and talking later.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Fond Farewell

  • By Ian C Robertson on 10-21-15

Smooth Shiny Girls, Hardboiled and Loaded with Sin

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

Reviewed: 05-28-18

It's hard to go wrong with Raymond Chandler and Philip Marlowe. This one is enjoyable from beginning to end no thanks to Marlowe's pathos and dull but glistening moral compass, and the cast of characters Chandler brings out here. A fortune teller, a gangster operating off the shores of L.A., the daughter of a deceased chief of police, jewel thieves. Farewell My Lovely has its fair share of problems. Mainly: there's a lot more casual racism than I remember in some of the other Marlowe books -- mainly aimed at Native Americans and African Americans. It made me wince a few times.

Ray Porter's narration is generally excellent -- he has a knack for Marlowe, the good and bad cops, and the other heavies. I'm not big on the way his female characters sound, which comes off as a little forced. I can forgive it for how good the rest of his performance is, though.

As much as Marlowe, the real star for me will always be Chandler's smooth and shiny prose, hardboiled and loaded with sin. Roll the windows down as you drive up the L.A. coastline of noir with the sea breeze hitting you in the face. It's gonna be quite a ride.

  • Down the River unto the Sea

  • By: Walter Mosley
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,558
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,434
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,430

Joe King Oliver was one of the NYPD's finest investigators, until, dispatched to arrest a well-heeled car thief, he is framed for assault by his enemies within the NYPD, a charge which lands him in solitary at Rikers Island. A decade later, King is a private detective, running his agency with the help of his teenage daughter, Aja-Denise. Broken by the brutality he suffered and committed in equal measure while behind bars, his work and his daughter are the only light in his solitary life. When he receives a card in the mail from the woman who admits she was paid to frame him those years ago, King realizes that he has no choice.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story

  • By Claudia Peebler on 03-03-18

The Devil's in the Details of Redemption

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

Reviewed: 05-15-18

Joe King Oliver needs the help of a devil to finally find some redemption. Framed over a decade ago and kicked off the police force, he's finally ready to re-examine the case that cost him his career, his family, and his lifestyle.

This one was entertaining, but it didn't work as well for me as some of the other Mosley series I've read. Joe King Oliver isn't quite as likeable as Easy Rawlins or Paris Minton. Maybe part of it is the setting -- I'm a sucker for the historic LA that both Rawlins and Minton inhabit. But it feels like Mosley was rushing a little too fast in places. The story begins with Oliver being framed and going to Riker's Island, where he loses everything and is emotionally traumatized by the event throughout the rest of the book. In the second chapter, we just back to present time -- a decade later. That first chapter breezes by so fast, I don't know if I ever really bought all of King's trauma and loss of identity the way Mosley seemed to be wanting me to. Additionally, some of the revelations Oliver discovers toward the end of the book seemed a little bit obvious to us from the get go. (Admittedly, it's hard to me to believe that a womanizer of King's caliber quit that particular game for a decade.) Still, Mosley is a pretty incredible writing, so I'm inclined to be a little bit forgiving about some of these criticisms.

One thing is certain -- Dion Graham's narration is perfection. His voices for the different characters could fool you into thinking it's a full cast performance. Things become more exciting when Oliver enlists the help of a criminal Melquarth Frost. (Mosley seems to always love a morally bankrupt tough guy playing foil to the good cop/detective.)

Though it didn't work as well for me as some of Mosley's others, I wouldn't be opposed to trying another book with the same characters, especially if Graham returns. There's enough here to leave me cautiously optimistic for the next tale.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Devil in a Blue Dress

  • An Easy Rawlins Mystery
  • By: Walter Mosley
  • Narrated by: Michael Boatman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,123
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,798
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,793

Los Angeles, 1948: Easy Rawlins is a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend's bar, wondering how he'll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Money, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beware of Mysterious Sexy Women with Big Suitcases

  • By Jefferson on 02-13-11

Easy on the Ears

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

Reviewed: 05-15-18

Pretty early into listening to this book I told my friend: Maybe we should just listen to mystery novels the next few months. I love all kinds of books, but Mosley's style, pacing, characters, and setting made me want to just drop everything else and binge on mystery for a good long while.

Here's the set-up: In 1940s Los Angeles, Easy Rawlins, an out of work black man is asked by a rich, dangerous white man to help him find a beautiful and mysterious woman. It's not an original plot, but the setting and the characters and Mosley's sweet and smoky prose sell it all so good. I'd read a little bit of Mosley's work in the past, but I went back to the beginning of this one -- and it was my first Easy Rawlins book. It didn't disappoint. It was smooth and vivid, with a lot on its mind about racial identity and what it means to be a black man in the United States of America -- back in the 40s as well as today. I can't believe how tight it is -- how much Mosley managed to cram into 5 1/2 hours.

Michael Boatman's performance helps make this book easy on the ears. Easy himself is such a likeable character, and Boatman's performance makes you feel like you're having drinks with him.

I can't wait to hear more of these, and more of Mosley's other books. (And all the other mystery novels I'm gonna binge on.)

  • Silver Screen Fiend

  • Learning About Life From an Addiction to Film
  • By: Patton Oswalt
  • Narrated by: Patton Oswalt
  • Length: 4 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,874
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,722
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,720

New York Times best-selling author, comedian, and actor Patton Oswalt shares his entertaining memoir about coming of age as a performer and writer in the late '90s while obsessively watching classic films at the legendary New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. Between 1995 and 1999, Patton Oswalt lived with an unshakeable addiction. It wasn't drugs, alcohol, or sex. It was film.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • For Patton Oswalt fans and stand-up fans.

  • By Brian on 02-19-15

Must Listen for Would-Be Filmmakers

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

Reviewed: 04-23-18

So you think you want to study movies? Maybe even make them? Why don't you give Patton Oswalt's Silver Screen Fiend a listen? Really, I think it should be required reading/listening for film school students.

The worst addiction of Oswalt's life wasn't recreational drugs or alcohol, but the five years when he crammed as much cinema into his life as possible. This was the plan for how he'd break into directing and filmmaking -- by watching as many movies as he could. The addiction cost him friendships, girlfriends, his health, and damaged his career. Thankfully, it's a hilarious memoir.

Starting with a Billy Wilder double-feature of Sunset Boulevard and An Ace in the Hole all the way to the Phantom Menace, it's a wild, compulsive, and enthusiastic ride, and while I've never seen the majority of the movies mentioned, Oswalt's performance is so engrossing and funny, I don't feel like I've missed out on much. I can't imagine this book being as much fun to read as it was to listen to.

And this book was SO MUCH FUN to listen to. I loved that the Phantom Menace was the movie that broke him of his addiction -- not just because Oswalt thought it was bad, but because he spent so many hours with friends ripping it and George Lucas apart...and then came the realization that all he was doing was criticizing -- he wasn't making or doing anything. And he needed to get back to that.

So enjoy the listen and critiquing -- then make sure you get back to work and get your creative juices flowing.

  • The Left Hand of Darkness

  • By: Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,380
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,174
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,175

A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can change their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Almost 50 and still amazing

  • By kwdayboise (Kim Day) on 06-07-17

It's the Journey That Matters in the End

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

Reviewed: 03-18-18

I'm glad I gave this one another shot. I'd read the Left Hand of Darkness 10 years ago and bounced off it kind of hard -- which was strange because I understood the themes would be about gender and was excited to see a different perspective. When my friend suggested we listen to it I was skeptical, but willing to give it another try. Sometimes, you encounter the same book and it impacts you in a different way.

Le Guin's book is 50 years old and still has a lot relevant to say about gender, humanity, and patriotism. 10 years ago, maybe I didn't think the message was as revolutionary -- I thought we were progressing. These days, I suppose I still think we're progressing but I realize the road ahead is still a difficult one. So I was able to connect a bit more with Genly and Estrevan, which was helped by George Guidall's excellent narration and added a certain humanity to it.

Like I said, I 'm glad I gave it another chance -- I can see why it's a classic piece of science fiction.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Endurance

  • Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
  • By: Alfred Lansing
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,273
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,766
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,753

In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb in so many ways

  • By David on 01-19-14

Hang On and ENDURE

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

Reviewed: 02-10-18

It sounds like a great set-up for a fiction thriller: A doomed research expedition stranded in one of the most desolate and remote places in the world without a chance of rescue. Their only hope is to somehow rescue themselves.

But it happened, and together they endured and survived. In 1914, just as the Great War was breaking out, Ernest Shackleton set out on the Imperial Trans-Antartic Mission aboard the Endurance. The ship became trapped in the ice and the crew had to abandon ship and survive in Antartica. No one would be coming to rescue them, so Shackleton devised a plan for he and his team to save themselves.

It's an exciting, true tale pulled from the diaries and journals of the crew, and narrated expertly by the great Simon Prebble, who grounds the whole adventure with his steady but icy performance.

If I had a criticism it would be that Alfred Lansing paints an overly heroic picture of Shackleton. I wish we could've got a more rounded picture of him. Perhaps Lansing thought it'd get in the way of this rousing adventure? In the end, that's exactly what this book was -- an unbelievable tale of survival and adventure, and I'm glad I took the time to listen to it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful