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Cather

Cumberland, VA, United States
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  • The Newsflesh Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Mira Grant
  • Narrated by: Paula Christensen, Jesse Bernstein
  • Length: 15 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,873
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,612
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,609

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I laughed, I cried...

  • By susan on 04-07-11

Nothing about this didn't work.

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

Reviewed: 03-20-18

This is unlike any zombie story you will read or watch. Where most zombie stories fall into the category of fantasy, this is sci-fi. (The author made someone at the CDC very nervous checking her facts.) Most zombies take place in a world where nobody has heard of zombies; the lead character in this story is named after George Romero, who is hailed as a hero in this world because his work prepared humanity for survival.

The Rising was a couple of decades ago. This is a story set in a world where everything fell apart, but humanity has put mostly everything back together, and now we live in a world where things don't stay dead, and that's the New Normal. But it's an entirely different normal, as every aspect of life has changed. The world the characters inhabit is very well thought out.

The characters? Also amazing.

The story? ALSO amazing. And while this is the first book in the series, it's a self-contained plot, wrapping up all of its major threads while leaving the world open for the sequels.


0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Girl with All the Gifts

  • By: M. R. Carey
  • Narrated by: Finty Williams
  • Length: 13 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,183
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,654
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,659

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hours in, restarted so husband could listen too!

  • By Pikay on 12-13-14

Nothing You'd Expect

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

Reviewed: 02-22-18

I suppose I should not have been surprised that the creator of Marvel Zombies wrote a novel about zombies. (The word is never used, but... they're zombies. C'mon.) But... I was not expecting it to be this. I was expecting a fun ride. Instead I got... a rollercoaster.

There are two cardinal rules to a zombie story-- the first is that you don't explain what caused the zombies. The second is that it's not really about the zombies, but rather about the people.

Carey breaks both of these rules. With a precision hammer. Most of the point of view follows Test Subject #1-- Melanie-- who is a child... a "hungry"... and a genius. There are other hungry children who have their wits about them, and nobody knows why. The answer may hold a cure for the plague.

The five main characters are very well developed, and the story is so artistically developed that when you reach the end, you understand that it HAD to be this way.

Finty Williams' performance adds to the work immensely. You can hear the emotions of the characters in her voice, whether it is fear, excitement, joy, love... or heartbreak.

  • Welcome to Night Vale

  • A Novel
  • By: Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor
  • Narrated by: Cecil Baldwin, Dylan Marron, Retta, and others
  • Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,400
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,108
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,102

Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • This is so good, but

  • By Christopher on 04-30-16

Better than the podcast....

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

Reviewed: 10-11-17

I suspect that following this book without listening to the podcast first is totally doable-- that feeling where you don't know precisely what the hell you're listening to, but you're loving it? You'll get that if you start with the first episode of the podcast or if you start with this book. And the book doesn't follow the storylines of the podcast; it's about entirely new characters who exist in the world of Night Vale.

Yes, for fans of the podcast, this book includes Cecil, Carlos, Erica, Old Woman Josie, Erica, Mayor Cardinal, and Erica. Also Erica and Erica. And these characters are given enough context to understand them within the book. One character-- The Man in the Tan Jacket-- is given MORE context than the podcast, as we finally find out precisely who he is and why he is.

Like the podcast, you will be completely unable to explain to your friends what makes this book so great.

  • The Mother Tongue

  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Stephen McLaughlin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 793
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 714
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 715

With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson - the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent - brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience, and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can't) to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • More satire than history

  • By Barbara on 12-18-15

Interesting, but....

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

Reviewed: 10-11-17

This book suffers from two problems:

1) It is read by someone other than Mr. Bryson. I don't know why that's a thing, since the author has read much of his own work, and he's an engaging reader.

2) It's an audiobook. Look, I'm an audio junkie... the titles I've reviewed are maybe a third of what I've gotten from audible alone... but in this one case, it would really help if one could actually see the words to follow what he's talking about.

  • What If?

  • Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
  • By: Randall Munroe
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,657
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,005
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,965

Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following. Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent of the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there were a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Humorous but serious answers to crazy hypothetical

  • By Neuron on 05-08-16

What if awesomeness came in audiobook format?

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

Reviewed: 12-01-15

The book itself is of course based in its ridiculousness. "What if you had a mole (unit of measurement) of moles (small furry animals)?" But the science is fascinating, and the writing is equal parts funny and brilliant.

Then there's Wil Wheaton's narration. I don't recall exactly when Wheaton stopped being "SHUT UP WESLEY" and became a geek god, but it's clearly something that's happened. He is enjoying the heck out of the reading, and that comes through in your experience of it.

If you've read and enjoyed XKCD, you will enjoy this. If you haven't, go read 20 XKCD strips and you'll know if you will enjoy this.

  • Speaker for the Dead

  • By: Orson Scott Card
  • Narrated by: David Birney, Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 14 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,624
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,496
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,566

In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: the Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War. Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered by Portuguese colonists on the planet Lusitania. But again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening...again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery...and the truth.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Enderverse

  • By Joe on 06-13-05

BLOWN. AWAY.

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

Reviewed: 05-12-14

I kind of hate Orson Scott Card personally-- at least his public persona. His politics are odious. I mention this just to put context to the following sentence:

This book is one of the finest pieces of science fiction-- or any fiction-- I have ever read.

Top Ten. As much as I enjoyed Ender's Game; the book was pretty much setup for this, and-- compared to this-- fluffy and inconsequential. My favourite parts of Ender's Game were tangled up in the side story with Ender's Siblings, which is what set the stage for Speaker.

Read Ender's Game, then read this. You won't regret it.

  • Skipping Towards Gomorrah

  • The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America
  • By: Dan Savage
  • Narrated by: Dan Savage
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 330
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 302
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 302

Dan Savage eviscerates the right-wing conservatives as he commits each of the Seven Deadly Sins himself (or tries to) and finds those everyday Americans who take particular delight in their sinful pursuits. Combine a unique history of the Seven Deadly Sins, a new interpretation of the biblical stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, and enough Bill Bennett, Robert Bork, Pat Buchanan, Dr. Laura, and Bill O'Reilly bashing to more than make up for their incessant carping, and you've got the most provocative book of the fall.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not my favourite Savage, but still a must read.

  • By Cather on 05-10-14

Not my favourite Savage, but still a must read.

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

Reviewed: 05-10-14

Okay, let's start of by admitting that I'm an absolute Savage Fan. The thought process that went into buying this book was "Oh, there's a new book by Dan Savage available? I'd better pre-order it!!!"

And while the notion of exploring the seven deadly sins might seem a little... gratuitous... and might seem to serve only to promote Mr. Savage as a shameless hedonist trying to tear down the walls of decency.... okay, let's not kid ourselves. That's what it is, and that's what he is.

But... the entire point of the book is that our notions of "sin" and "decency" need to be re-evaluated, and there's nothing wrong with a little shameless hedonism. Not only that, but he doesn't go in the directions you'd expect.

For example, for Pride he talks about the Pride Parades... and whether he thinks they're relevant anymore. This is actually one of the two points I disagree with him on-- I think their meaning has changed and they are totally relevant.

I also did not think that "firing a gun" served well as Wrath-- it was more of a platform for him to attack the second amendment. And I'll freely admit I'm one of those people who gets bitchy when you attack the second amendment, and that it's my main complaint with Mr. Savage. This a review, not a rebuttal, so I'll just leave it at "if you're like me on the second amendment, you will have objections." Well, and I'll add that his perspective is still worth reading.... I certainly don't think he's wrong about every point he makes, I just think he doesn't accurately represent the views he's opposing (which is as much the fault of the NRA as his).

As always, the author is inappropriate, but as I believe he has said himself-- just inappropriate enough to get the job done. The books is, at different points, thought provoking, insightful, informative, outrageous... and real.

I'm very glad he read it himself-- it always irritates me when books by talented speakers are read by others.

That being said, there were some production issues; at several points he stops and starts a sentence over-- perfectly understandable, but should have been edited out.

If you haven't read a Dan Savage book, or listened to his podcast, or read his column, this is probably not the place to start.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • One Summer

  • America, 1927
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Bill Bryson
  • Length: 17 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,352
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,982
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,972

One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Why 1927?

  • By Mark on 10-18-13

Bill Bryson. 'Nufsed

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

Reviewed: 01-17-14

This is the man who could make a trip to the post office interesting (and has), and could probably make a reading of the tax code entertaining.

And this... isn't a trip to the post office, and it isn't the tax code. Aeronautics history. Corruption. Sex and violence. Baseball. Boxing. Prohibition and gangsters. Murder sprees. All delivered with context, wit, and oooooh so much style.

I'm guessing from the fact that you're reading this review that you like audiobooks. That's all I need to know to know that you should STOP reading this review and buy the book. Then go for "A Short History of Nearly Everything" (the unabridged, even though he didn't read it) and "In a Sunburned Country." That should be enough to get you hooked.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Stranger in a Strange Land

  • By: Robert A. Heinlein
  • Narrated by: Christopher Hurt
  • Length: 16 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,991
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,198
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,230

Stranger in a Strange Land tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling born and educated on Mars, who arrives on Earth with superhuman powers and a total ignorance of the mores of man. Smith is destined to become a freak, a media commodity, a scam artist, a searcher, and finally, a messiah.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • We live in the world this book made

  • By W. Seligman on 02-26-04

Not typical Heinlein or sci-fi. Still a must.

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

Reviewed: 10-08-13

Let's get this out of the way-- I'm a Pagan, and a lot of Pagan culture and development was heavily influenced by this book, including but not limited to, the existence of an actual Church of All Worlds.

That being said, Heinlein wasn't a Rand or a Hubbard. He wasn't trying to start a movement. Oh, sure, he wasn't unaware of the influence of his writing, but this was a book that was written to be sold-- and despite the label, an abridged version at that.

(This the unabridged recording-- of the original, abridged, version of the novel; the unabridged version wasn't published for another 30 years, and most people who loved the novel as it was published, myself included, prefer the abridgment.)

What Heinlein did was poke fun at the established morals-- the sacred cows. Monogamy, Monotheism, Money. His vehicle for this was Valentine Michael Smith-- a man in body, but raised by Martians until he was 25, with no knowledge of human culture. The other vehicle is Jubal Harshaw, lawyer, doctor, and hack writer. Between the two viewpoints of innocence and experience, we get an interesting view of this future-- which is, of course, just an updated version of the 1960's, which was "the present."

It's not the typical Heinlein-- there's a lot of argument over whether it can even be considered science fiction. It's a valid argument-- let's face it, the story only uses the trappings of science fiction to get away with disguising the real world behind fake names. Sure, there are flying cars and spaceships-- but they only serve to set the story up. The same thing could have been accomplished with fantasy creatures instead of "Martians."

Me, I don't think it was a typical Heinlein. And it's certainly not my favourite. When I tell people I like Heinlein, and they say they loved this book-- I tend to cringe. It's like being a Queen fan and someone saying "Oh, yeah, I loved that song they did for Wayne's World." Yes, okay, it's a great song, but it's not even the best on the freaking album AND IT WAS PROBABLY RECORDED BEFORE YOU WERE BO-- wups, forgot to take my medication.

But yeah, it's like that.

Don't get me wrong, it's an absolutely great book. And it's a must read, because for all my comments above about "written to be sold" and "argument about sci-fi", Heinlein is an excellent writer. If Paul McCartney suddenly started recording jingles for Burger King, yeah, it would be slumming, but it would probably change the world of commercial jingles forever and people would be downloading it.

Heinlein couldn't help himself; in his commercialism, he brought up a whole lot of valid points-- points that had never quite been phrased that way, and that found people listening in the counter-culture movements of the 1960's. And the parts that are science fiction are handled marvellously, and work smoothly into the plot.

This book leaves behind three things as a legacy-- the aformentioned Church of All Worlds, the waterbed (invented by the author in Double Star, expounded here, and this book was used as an example of prior art to prevent a patent on the concept), and the word "grok."

One last note-- I read (or listen to) this book every couple of years, and have since I was about 14. It's NEVER the same book twice. So... yeah... check it out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Monster Hunter Vendetta

  • By: Larry Correia
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 21 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,295
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,308
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,315

Accountant turned professional monster hunter, Owen Zastava Pitt, managed to stop the nefarious Old Ones' invasion plans last year, but as a result made an enemy out of one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Now an evil death cult known as the Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition wants to capture Owen in order to gain the favor of the great Old Ones.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Action, death, destruction

  • By Irene on 04-11-14

Take the ball from MHI and just keeps running.

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

Reviewed: 10-05-13

Okay, I was really happy with Monster Hunter International.

There is nothing that I said about that book that doesn't apply to this, with the exception of the stuff about how MHI was an excellent "First book". Actually, I could even expound on that, because one didn't realise how much of the stage for this book was being set.

I expect that the author had this book in mind while he was writing the first; we learn more details about things that we thought were fully explained, or some things we just accepted as they were. It's handled expertly. A few of the threads from the first book are resolved, a few left open, more threads are introduced. Relationships develop and change.

I was very relieved that the return of Grant Jeffries did not re-open the romantic competition-- that's a settled thing, nobody's gonna mess with that.

Again, the reader is spectacular. Again, exposition is handled deftly, and with an excellent plot device. Again, there is a broad reliance on archetypes and the Lovecraft influence is even more defined (they don't call the Necronomicon by name. But they don't give it another one, either). Another fantasy icon is plagiarised, but I won't spoil which one... and it's done well.

Again, there's a single storyline that's followed to completion. There's a lot more left open for the series to pursue, but it's not so much that it takes any satisfaction away from the storyline, and there's no "Your princess is in another castle" hooey.

And Again, you'll buy the next book because you want more of the same. I know I will.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful