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Arial Burnz

  • 10
  • reviews
  • 15
  • helpful votes
  • 35
  • ratings
  • Save the Cat! Writes a Novel

  • The Last Book on Novel Writing You'll Ever Need
  • By: Jessica Brody
  • Narrated by: Jessica Brody
  • Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 156
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 146

 

Novelist Jessica Brody presents a comprehensive story-structure guide for novelists that applies the famed Save the Cat! screenwriting methodology to the world of novel writing. Revealing the 15 "beats" (plot points) that comprise a successful story - from the opening image to the finale - this audiobook lays out the 10 story genres ("Monster in the House"; "Whydunit"; "Dude with a Problem") alongside quirky, original insights ("Save the Cat"; "Shard of Glass") to help novelists craft a plot that will captivate - and a novel that will sell.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Yes...It IS the LAST Book on Novel Writing...

  • By Arial Burnz on 10-23-18

Yes...It IS the LAST Book on Novel Writing...

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

Reviewed: 10-23-18

Yes...this IS the LAST book on novel writing you'll ever need. And it should be the FIRST if you're just getting into novel writing.

I've been writing for over 20 years and this book takes the guess work out of how to write a GOOD or even SPECTACULAR novel. As an editor, I've encountered hundreds of horrible stories that had a ton of potential. If I had this book when I was an editor, I would have recommended it to every single one of my writers. It not only helps you craft a great story, but it helps you tighten up one you have already written.

I was a bit put off at first that the author was narrating the novel (because that doesn't go well more often than not), but I'm too busy NOT to have bought the audiobook. I just don't have the time to sit down and focus in the middle of a remodel and I've already read the Save the Cat! books for screenplays. I knew this would be good. My attitude was that I would grin and bear it and glean the information. Jessica Brody did a surprisingly good job and the production quality was superb! No clicks, inappropriate breaths or technical issues.

This has already helped me figure out what's wrong with my current WIP (work in progress) and why my other novels aren't as good as they can be. I'll be recommending this to all my author friends and I won't plot another book without it!

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Star Wars: Heir to the Empire

  • (20th Anniversary Edition), The Thrawn Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Timothy Zahn
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 13 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,265
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 14,132
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,103

Five years after the Death Star was destroyed and Darth Vader and the Emperor were defeated, the galaxy is struggling to heal the wounds of war, Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting twins, and Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of new Jedi Knights. But thousands of light-years away, the last of the Emperor’s warlords - the brilliant and deadly Grand Admiral Thrawn - has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the New Republic....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • At last!

  • By Jt on 10-25-11

A Little Disappointed

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

Reviewed: 10-16-18

Although I'm very late to the Star Wars fiction novels, I've been a huge fan of the movies since Episode IV in 1977. I was eight years old when I saw it on the big screen and I've been glued to that screen ever since.I've heard a ton of praise for Timothy Zahn's Star Wars stories and how they reignited the interest in Star Wars through the novels. I didn't dive into Zahn's books at the start. I've been reading other novels of favorite characters.

Having a new interest in the Chiss character Thrawn, I decided to try my first Zahn novel with "Heir to the Empire" and enjoy the 20th Anniversary Edition. I have mixed feelings. As an ex-editor of fiction, most reading for me has been spoiled since editors notice a lot more technical issues with books than the average reader, so I had to put my editor's hat aside at the older writing style predominant in the 90s...and Zahn's style is no different.

What I had a huge problem with in this novel were two major points: 1) The constant recycling of Star Wars dialogue from the first three movies and 2) some of the lame character issues with Mara Jade. I don't want to spoil too much, but Mara Jade is set up at the very beginning of the story with one goal in mind driven by intense hatred. The reveal of what drove her hate was a big let-down and then when she finally had the chance to accomplish her one goal, she failed just for the simple lack of effort. It's not that she tried and failed. It's that she had her quarry practically gift wrapped and she didn't follow through. Her whining and complaining throughout the entire novel not only made her unlikable, but the purpose of the character was pretty much reduced to her complaints.She really didn't need to be in the story when it came down to brass tacks.

I will say I have been enjoying the character Thrawn and the story revolving his tactics and how he is trying to rebuild the Empire fleet is fascinating. I'm getting a little tired of the dark Jedi thread, which is a bit over the top for my tastes and goes right along with the Mara Jade storyline distaste.

Because the novel is left with a major cliff hanger, I've downloaded the other two books, but as I'm listening to Book 2, Mara Jade is back with the same pointless goal in Book 1, which shows no growth in the character whatsoever. NOT looking forward to her part in this next installment. I am interested in what happens with Han, Leia, Luke and Lando, so that's why I'm continuing...but just barely.

If I was reading this book instead of listening to it, I would have put it down and I have to credit the narrator for my reasons to continue with the trilogy. The voice talents of Marc Thompson are astounding! My enjoyment of the story is almost solely in his voice and how he can recreate the voices of the characters I know so well, but it's more than that. He's given the Star Wars characters a wonderful life of their own and makes me feel like I'm spending time with old friends. For his talents alone, I recommend spending your credits on these books.

I hate to say it, but I just don't understand what all the hype is with Timothy Zahn's books. I'm hoping I'll be surprised in his other novels because I'm slowly going through the Star Wars series. THE BEST Star Wars novel I've listened to so far - on story content alone - has been "Tarkin: Star Wars" by James Luceno. Learning about the first Grand Moff and his rise to become the commander of the Death Star was FANTASTIC! I highly recommend it. And Euan Morton's performance is wonderful!

French Level 1 Lessons 1-5
    Learn to Speak and Understand French with Pimsleur Language Programs
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Pimsleur
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Pimsleur
    
    


    
    Length: 2 hrs and 44 mins
    560 ratings
    Overall 4.5
  • French Level 1 Lessons 1-5

  • Learn to Speak and Understand French with Pimsleur Language Programs
  • By: Pimsleur
  • Narrated by: Pimsleur
  • Length: 2 hrs and 44 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 560
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 439
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 387

Each lesson in French Level 1 Lessons 1-5 provides 30 minutes of spoken language practice, with an introductory conversation and new vocabulary and structures. Detailed instructions enable you to understand and participate in the conversation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The First REAL Self-Learning Language Course

  • By Randa on 10-14-14
  • French Level 1 Lessons 1-5
  • Learn to Speak and Understand French with Pimsleur Language Programs
  • By: Pimsleur
  • Narrated by: Pimsleur

So Happy to be learning French!

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

Reviewed: 07-06-18

One of the best courses I have taken for French. Definitely be sure to take only 1 lesson per day. There is an obvious difference in retention if done daily versus several lessons at once.

I enjoy the reviews as you go through each of the lessons and the challenge of being asked how to translate something from English to French.

I highly recommend, but be sure to get all the following lessons to keep going. This first Five Lessons is nowhere near the amount of language learning you need to get around, let alone speak fluently.

  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes

  • The Heirloom Collection
  • By: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 58 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,797
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,300
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,297

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales are rightly ranked among the seminal works of mystery and detective fiction. Included in this collection are all four full-length Holmes novels and more than forty short masterpieces - from the inaugural adventure A Study in Scarlet to timeless favorites like “The Speckled Band” and more. At the center of each stands the iconic figure of Holmes - brilliant, eccentric, and capable of amazing feats of deductive reasoning.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Table of Contents & Audible Part/Chapter Notes

  • By SantaFePainter on 11-18-13

Excellent Compilation and Performance!

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

Reviewed: 06-09-18

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a fabulous writer, and those who pass upon this classic literature due to its age is missing out. Even today, his language and storytelling style is contemporary and refreshing. It's no wonder these stories were so popular in their time and still today!

  • The Night Circus

  • By: Erin Morgenstern
  • Narrated by: Jim Dale
  • Length: 13 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,471
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,647
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,657

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The circus of your dreams

  • By Anonymous User on 09-22-11

Fabulously Magical!

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

Reviewed: 04-17-18

This book was fantastic! I loved the mystery and the magic. I highly recommend anyone who is interested in watching a story unravel before their eyes...or in their ears...to dive fully into this adventure of prose.

  • Your First 1000 Copies

  • The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book
  • By: Tim Grahl
  • Narrated by: Tim Grahl
  • Length: 3 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 121
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 112
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109

Imagine if you had a direct connection with thousands of readers who loved reading your books. And imagine if those readers eagerly awaited the launch of your next book. In Your First 1000 Copies, seasoned book marketing expert Tim Grahl walks you through how successful authors are using the online marketing tools to build their platform, connect with readers and sell more books.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Essential for Contemporary Authors!

  • By Author Guy on 11-25-13

GREAT Information - a MUST READ for all authors!

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

Reviewed: 05-13-15

Any author looking to promote their books so they can finally make a living at writing MUST READ this book. The guidance is invaluable and focuses the author on what's most important - writing and reaching readers. Since most of our time as authors needs to be focused on writing, this book narrows not only the scope of effort spent on marketing, but precisely what to do with each tool in the author's marketing toolbox - building a mailing list, how to build a mailing list, social media, website management and how to use all of those in harmony. Maximizing your time as an author is what this book excels at!

I will say, however, that the audiobook version - performed by the author - was a little difficult to get through. There are very distracting sounds on the track: page turning noises, the microphone was scraped/moved across the desk or jostled at one point, the author is heard swallowing or breathing or lip smacking several times throughout the performance. When you have earbuds in, this is really annoying. There were at least 2-3 times or more where a phrase was repeated, I guess in a re-read, but that was never edited out. I was surprised to learn at the end of the book that this was professionally edited by a sound company.

I muddled through the performance, though, because the information was SO VALUABLE! I still recommend getting the book and if you're as busy as I am, the audiobook version is valuable in that I listened to it while I was working.

Highly recommend!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Write. Publish. Repeat.

  • The No-Luck Guide to Self-Publishing Success
  • By: Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt
  • Narrated by: Simon Whistler
  • Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 550
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 516
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 508

In 2013, Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt published 1.5 million words and made their full-time livings as indie authors. In Write. Publish. Repeat., they tell you how exactly how they did it: how they created over 15 independent franchises across 50+ published works, how they turned their art into a logical, sustainable business, and how any independent author can do the same to build a sustainable, profitable career with their writing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The One Book All Self Published Authors Must Read!

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-20-14

Self-Publishing? You MUST Listen To This Book!

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

Reviewed: 05-07-15

I LOVED this book!!! Not only was it thoroughly entertaining and constantly had me laughing out loud - these three guys are a HOOT - but it contains probably some of the most practical advice I have ever heard regarding self-publishing. EXCELLENT advice on how to maximize your efforts and not waste your time on the frivolous stuff and how to tell the difference.

Write. Publish. Repeat.

Sensible. Repeatable. Practical.

I also loved the narrator, Simon Whistler. He hooked me with his sexy British accent, and kept me throughout the book with his down-to-earth, approachable and natural inflections. A lot of non-fiction books tend to be dry reads and Simon was far from dry. (I won't make any wet jokes...but I guess I just did.)

  • Moon Dance

  • Vampire for Hire, Book 1
  • By: J. R. Rain
  • Narrated by: Dina Pearlman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,599
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,400
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,402

Mother, wife, private investigator... vampire. Six years ago federal agent Samantha Moon was the perfect wife and mother, your typical soccer mom with the minivan and suburban home. Then the unthinkable happens, an attack that changes her life forever. And forever is a very long time for a vampire. Now the world at large thinks Samantha has developed a rare skin disease, a disease which forces her to quit her day job and stay out of the light of the sun.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Nice Surprise

  • By Karen K on 09-06-11

GREAT Story and a lot of Fun!

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

Reviewed: 12-15-13

I was very surprised by this novel because of the unique approach to vampires. Not necessarily the vampire lore itself, but the characters...especially Samantha Moon, the main character. A soccer mom, private investigator vampire!

I love the way Samantha has to deal with normal, everyday activities, like picking the kids up from school and making dinner, while she's dealing with this whole vampire issue that was forced upon her. And then, to make it even more unique, she's solving cases.

A strange yet delightful mix because not only do these situations NOT blend well, Samantha is forced to deal with the consequences of trying to make them all work together. She goes above and beyond to live a normal life and pretending this vampire thing isn't going to change anything...and yet everything is changed and falls apart. Fabulous character development and I found myself laughing, crying and getting angry with the characters throughout the story.

The narrator of the novel was spectacular! She not only represents the voice of Samantha Moon that brings the character to life, but she has that kind of "hardball detective" sound to her voice, almost like a Mickey Spillane novel. Just brilliant!

I highly recommend this audiobook to anyone who loves vampire stories with a little bit of mystery.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Wolf Gift

  • By: Anne Rice
  • Narrated by: Ron McLarty
  • Length: 17 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,561
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,400
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,406

A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer... An older woman welcoming him into her magnificent family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency... A chance encounter between two unlikely people... An idyllic night - shattered by horrific unimaginable violence, the young man inexplicably attacked - bitten - by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness....

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible: Sex, Food, and Not Much Else

  • By Johnny Dough on 02-24-12

Having a Hard Time Finishing

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

Reviewed: 12-15-13

I started the ebook version of this novel and had to put it down. Not only did it not keep my interest, but I was shocked to find the writing structure very poor. It was as if Ms. Rice didn't have an editor. Tell, tell, tell, tell. Ms. Rice actually DESCRIBES dialogue instead of letting it happen. Example:

. .Billie was raving about what had just happened. She wanted him to talk to the Golden Gate Park witnesses and the neighbors on Buena Vista Hill.

. .Well, he had to go up north, he had not choice, he told her. He had to see the scene of the crime where he was almost killed.

I decided to use my first free credit to get the audiobook and I'm almost done listening to the entire novel...but oh my goodness. I roll my eyes and shake my head throughout the entire story. I continue to listen to it so I can get my little badge that says I've read another book!

It's not just poor writing, but predictable story development. Several points are belabored and over-emphasized, causing me to think, "Well, THAT must be an important point she doesn't want us to miss. She won't stop going on about it!" And then...duh-duh-DUHHHH! The very point that could have been an "I knew it!" experience for the reader turns into, "Of course it happened that way!"

And the "man-wolf" having sex with his love interest in the story while he's in animal form just creeps me out. I'm cringing as I'm listening to the story. Luckly, Rice doesn't go into great detail about the act of making love. I just find it repulsive.

I can't imagine this going on for another book, but I see the series continues. I most certainly won't be reading or listening to it.

As for the narrator...hats off to him for getting through the whole ordeal! He has a brilliant voice and I love the versatility of it, sounding so different with each character, including the female voices. Very well done!! I will be looking for more books narrated by Mr. McLarty! Very well done, indeed!

I loved Anne Rice's earlier works, but I guess the publisher/editor got lazy because anything with her name on it sells. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be reading much more of her works, sad to say.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Lies of Locke Lamora

  • By: Scott Lynch
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 21 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,851
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,360
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,333

An orphan's life is harsh---and often short---in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains---a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected "family" of orphans---a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stupendous, but be warned.

  • By Luke A. Reynolds on 11-30-09

Definitely want to hear more from this author!

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

Reviewed: 09-30-13

Being a big fan of fantasy novels, I loved the world Lynch created. It was colorful, detailed, had a touch of magic with all the alchemy mentioned in the extravagant lives of the nobles. I also liked the structural layers of the classes of people/society. Lynch created very lively characters that were believable and worth caring about. I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

As a minor point, I wished Lynch could have created more localized versions of swearing. The very Earth-like cussing kept taking me out of the story, but in all honesty I'm not sure if there was anything else he could have done. Creating languages for alien worlds is not an easy thing to do. As I said, minor point and didn't really interfere with my enjoyment of the tale to the point of giving it lower marks.

The narrator, Michael Page, was FABULOUS! Not only was his British accent entrancing and drew me in, but he did such a great job at dramatizing the dialogue and the anguish the characters went through as they encountered their trails. Each voice was so amazingly unique enough in each scene for perfect distinction. His narrations were forthright and a perfect background, as a narrator should be, relaying the story and not interfering with the tale, giving the characters an excellent stage for their presentations.

I highly recommend this book to those who love fantasy and can't stop turning the pages (or loathe to turn off the audio player). Looking forward to more.