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Marianna, FL
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  • The More of Less

  • By: Joshua Becker
  • Narrated by: Joshua Becker
  • Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,723
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,552
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,552

Most of us know we own too much stuff. We feel the weight and burden of our clutter, and we tire of cleaning and managing and organizing. While excess consumption leads to bigger houses, faster cars, fancier technology, and cluttered homes, it never brings happiness. Rather, it results in a desire for more. It redirects our greatest passions to things that can never fulfill, and it distracts us from the very lives we wish we were living. But it doesn't have to be this way.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Life Changer

  • By Elsie on 12-18-17

This added to my motivation to declutter.

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

Reviewed: 01-18-19

There are mixed motivations and mixed methods, but the goal is to minimalize the stuff we are responsible for and the time it takes from being with those we love or doing things we would love to do. This was a good resource to go with the decluttering book I read a few weeks ago.

Mr. Becker kept the topic interesting as he shared how he first realized that he was being controlled by his possessions. He decided that having time to spend with his young son was more important than working more, acquiring more and being responsible for more. He explained how some ideas worked and some didn’t and he noted how it is important to discuss steps with your spouse/significant other.

Becker shares how others made a similar decision and how each person can start at their own pace. Some people moved in to ‘tiny homes’ so they could move about more freely. Some sold their possessions so they could travel and explore or go on missions to help others.

This work tends to cover the reasons that people choose to minimalize more than provided details on how to accomplish the goal. He does give some steps that worked for him and others, but he stresses that each person can work in their own way at their own pace. Becker encourages his readers to make the transition a life change, not just a short term project. He shares some Biblical foundations and supports that were fine with me, but might not be comfortable for everyone.

I enjoyed this and think it is handy to have to remind me to keep working on reducing my clutter even if it is a little at a time. I recommend this to readers who are interested in the idea of pursing living with less.

Audio Notes: Mr. Becker serves as his own narrator and I felt he did a fine job. He was clearly comfortable with the material and delivered it in a natural manner. I think listening was easier for me although some people might like have the print version for easier reference back.

  • Storm Glass

  • (Harbinger, Book 1)
  • By: Jeff Wheeler
  • Narrated by: Kate Rudd
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,198
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,952
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,943

Theirs is a world of opposites. The privileged live in sky manors held aloft by a secretive magic known only as the Mysteries. Below, the earthbound poor are forced into factory work to maintain the engine of commerce. Only the wealthy can afford to learn the Mysteries, and they use their knowledge to further lock their hold on society. Cettie Pratt is a waif doomed to the world below, until an admiral attempts to adopt her. But in her new home in the clouds, not everyone treats her as one of the family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Immersive, Wonderful, Magical!

  • By Huntress on 07-05-18

This has strong world building and engaging charac

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

Reviewed: 01-18-19

My rating 4.25.

Cettie is one of the abandoned orphans in the below, earthbound world. This is the world forced to struggle and slave to help maintain a world where only the wealthy are allowed to learn the Mysteries of the world in the clouds. Cettie is plagued by nightmare dreams of an evil ghost whom she keeps at bay only by surrounding herself with the other orphaned children. One night Fitzroy, an admiral from the upper world, finds Cettie and the starving children. Fitzroy banishes the ghost and Cettie finds the courage to beg him to help her. He takes her to his home in the clouds while he takes steps to adopt her.

Sera is an only child born to a wealthy and powerful family. Her parents are more concerned with their power then embracing their child. And to protect her they have sheltered her and kept her away from children her own age. She is distracted during lessons, always dreaming of the world beyond her sight. Her father is frustrated by her lack of diligence and isolates her even more. Sara has heard rumors of the orphaned girl from the world below and envies her experiences in the world. She longs to meet Cettie but her father prohibits any contact.

Although Cettie suffers from those in the household with prejudiced views, she never gives up. Cettie helps Fitzroy make an extremely important scientific discovery. As this book draws to a close it is clear that this discovery is going to change things significantly for Cettie. Somehow Sera will be involved with the change as things progress in book two.

The world building is not so unusual in its extreme class systems, but it is extremely well developed with a great steampunk feel. The steampunk elements include airborne ships and experiments with elements from Fitzroy’s mines. The Mysteries are not fully disclosed but are hinted at as part of the history and power structure of the society. There is good action, tension, mystery and suspense. The characters are well developed and share common traits of curiosity about their world although they come from opposite perspectives. I loved Cettie’s courage and caring for others. I even have some sympathy for Sera too.

I read The Banished of Muirwood, book 1 in the Covenant of Muirwood, by Wheeler which also had good world building but seemed like I had missed elements from a prior series. Storm Glass seems to start a new world and it was easy to become engaged in the plotline. I am looking forward to listening to book 2, Mirror Gate, soon. I recommend this to those who enjoy rich fantasy with supernatural and magical mysteries.

Audio Notes: Kate Rudd is an excellent narrator. She gives the characters their appropriate voices and got me immersed in the world. I fully enjoyed the audio and will listen to the next book in the series.

  • Escape From the Overworld

  • Overworld Adventures, Book 1
  • By: Danica Davidson
  • Narrated by: Dan Woren
  • Length: 2 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

Stevie is in for a big surprise while building his treehouse: He's first attacked by a creeper, and then must take on a group of zombies! The near miss has him feeling like the worst mob fighter in Minecraft, so when he finds a portal into a brand-new world, he's willing to take his chances. He steps out of a computer screen and into the room of a sixth-grade girl Maison, who's a talented Minecraft builder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • This is a quick, fun listen.

  • By MSEreads on 01-10-19

This is a quick, fun listen.

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

Reviewed: 01-10-19

Stevie is a clumsy 11-year-old Minecrafter child who struggles to impress his successful, warrior father. Stevie hoped to make his father proud with his efforts to build a tree house but he forgets the time and is attacked. His father has to come to his rescue… again.

The next day Stevie gets frightened by a spider and falls into a brand new portal into another world. He finds himself in the room of a sixth-grade human girl, Maison. They are both startled by the overlap of their worlds but they discover they have much in common.

Maison takes Stevie to school with her and he learns that there are bullies in the human world too. He feels helpless to help his new friend. Then the Minecraft monsters start to enter the human world through the open portal. Stevie and Maison work together to fight the monsters and to protect their classmates.

As much as Stevie is thrilled with his new friend, Stevie knows he must return to his world and close the portal. Will he be able to return home and keep his friend safe?

I saw this on sale for a small amount and figured it was worth a try for a few hours’ of entertainment. It is light entertainment that touches on the issue of bullies, self-confidence and overcoming fear. I recommend it for young readers (ages 7-12+/-) and also to those who enjoy battle adventures.

Audio Notes: Dan Woren does a good job narrating this. He captures the youth and frustrations of the children. I enjoyed the audio entertainment.

  • The Autobiography of Santa Claus

  • By: Jeff Guinn
  • Narrated by: John H. Mayer
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 513
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 397
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 399

Jump on Santa's sleigh for a journey through 17 centuries of Christmas magic!

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • History and Christmas

  • By Mara on 12-14-08

Full of interesting Christmas history tidbits.

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

Reviewed: 01-10-19

This interesting work begins with Santa choosing to share his own biography to a journalist who doesn’t quite have all the facts. He tells of his birth in Lycia in 280 A.D. and shares how his Christian faith and the baby Jesus influenced him to share his wealth with others. After years the legend of Saint Nicholas was developed around his gift giving to others in his home town.

He shares how magic became part of his story as he picked up friends along his travels and how he was given different names around the world. He also shares how many of the Christmas traditions, such as stockings, trees, yule logs and much more, began.

I was fascinated and delighted by his helpful friends who include Felix, Layla, Attila the Hun, Arthur of Britain and even Leonardo Da Vinci! I was even more interested in the history, for example, learning that Christmas celebrations were banned by American pilgrims, but fortunately celebrated in the Dutch communities.

I didn’t realize until I looked at the Table of Contents on the Kindle ‘look inside’ feature that the chapters are set out so they can be read one a night for the first 24 days of December. That is a good idea and I think would make the reading or listening more enjoyable than forging through it as I did. I recommend this to families to read and share with their children during December. The story is filled with the philosophy that "it is better to give than receive." It would be a great way to encourage finding ways to share with others instead of focusing only on the anticipation of receiving gifts.

Audio Notes: John H. Mayer’s deep voice fits the work and Santa’s personality. He captures other voices appropriately too. The listening is engaging and fun.

  • Gather ‘Round the Sound

  • Holiday Stories from Beloved Authors and Great Performers Across the Globe
  • By: Paulo Coelho, Yvonne Morrison, Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Angele Masters, Daniel Frances Berenson, Magda Szubanski, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 5,766
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5,072
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 5,069

2017 has been a monumental year for Audible, having just celebrated our 20th anniversary, a milestone that would have never been possible without our wonderful and loyal listeners. One of our major commitments is bringing new and diverse audio experiences to our members, so this year, as our gift to you, we pulled together a collection that reflects a little bit of everything we’ve been up to recently.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • WHAT WAS THAT!

  • By Phillip on 12-12-17

This is fun, quick and enjoyable listening.

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

Reviewed: 12-22-18

There are five unique works from poetry to a short musical offering.
Zip Code 12345 - an interesting mini documentary.
An Aussie Night Before Christmas - fun poetry.
The Music Coming from the House - a truly touching story.
The Signal-man, by Charles Dickens - a Dickens short complete with ghostly character.
A Very Improvised Holiday Musical - a musical offering by an improv troupe.

I think The Music Coming from the House was my favorite although I enjoyed each one... except perhaps the improv which too quickly slid into a sloppy SNL skit.

Audio Notes: The narration was fitting to each piece. I appreciate that Audible gifts little Christmas gems like this each year.
My rating 4.5 of 5.0

  • Villains Rule

  • The Shadow Master, Book 1
  • By: M. K. Gibson
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,167
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,109
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,105

Hi, how are you? Yes, I am talking to you, the reader of this book's description. Okay, I get it, fourth-wall breaking is overdone. Get over it. This book, Villains Rule, is a fantasy action-comedy which you have to hear. Not because it redefines the genre, far from it. But rather for what it contains. A villain's tale. How often do you get to listen to a story where the villain is the protagonist? No, not an anti-hero, or a brooding monster, nor a hero thinly disguised as a villain. And not evil. If you want evil, take that nonsense to therapy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ignore the cover art.

  • By Amazon Customer on 06-12-17

This is a fun listen (with warnings for language).

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

Reviewed: 12-22-18

My Rating: Overall 4.5 of 5.0; Story 4.25; Narration 5.0.

Jackson Blackwell, aka Shadow Jack, is also known as the Shadow Master. Jack used to operate as a thief and general brigand. He left field work behind and now runs a business advising villains, while claiming the top villain spot. Jack is advising one of his clients, a warlord and ruler, how to resolve a potential revolution. The man is being difficult and convinces Jack to go back to his realm to assist in a transition.

Jack takes along his trusted bodyguard, a small escort of guards, his self-absorbed nephew who needs to be trained for some type of career and his secret power source. Not too far along in the realm there is betrayal and double cross. Jack becomes a prisoner and has to figure a way out of prison and then a way back to his own realm. It helps that Jack is a God in this geek realm but he is hampered by loss of his power source. Still, Jack knows all the rules of villainy and has a trusted assistant back in his world who will help as she can.

Sometimes villains have to do whatever it takes to prevail. That might even include getting help! Jack gathers a crew of allies to help him in his dilemma. He is able to observe their uniqueness in a crowd and is able to take each unique skill, and unique story and disclose that they have a common goal.

Jack tells the story from his view, occasionally sliding into monologues to the audience. Being a top villain, he is a brilliant strategist but doesn’t always see all of the machinations of those around him; especially those he thought he could trust. Jack comments on the cliched characters and usual tropes and rules, most of which he knows how to twist. His thoughts are often sarcastic and, of course, (sadly) often vulgar. The plot and characters make for a very fun adventure -- but who do you root for when everyone is a villain?

Audio Notes: Jeffrey Kafer does a great job with the narration. He nails the irreverent tone and delivers the various characters with spot on voice and energy. The narration added life to an already strong work. This is my fourth or fifth story narrated by Mr. Kafer and I am impressed by his skill and versatility in capturing the characters. I am glad I listened to this on audio.

My hesitation on getting more in the series is due to not wanting to listen to more foul language. That’s just my choice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • All Systems Red

  • By: Martha Wells
  • Narrated by: Kevin R. Free
  • Length: 3 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,439
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,119
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,119

All Systems Red is the tense first science fiction adventure novella in Martha Wells' series The Murderbot Diaries. For fans of Westworld, Ex Machina, Ann Leckie's Imperial Raadch series, or Iain M. Banks' Culture novels. The main character is a deadly security droid that has bucked its restrictive programming and is balanced between contemplative self-discovery and an idle instinct to kill all humans.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I LOVE MURDERBOT

  • By Michael - Audible Editor on 11-06-17

How self-aware should a robot be?

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

Reviewed: 12-22-18

My rating: 4.5 of 5.0 Overall; 5.0 Narration.

“Murderbot” is a company droid assigned as the security unit (SecUnit) for an exploratory scientist team on a distant planet. Murderbot has spare time on its hands/circuits. It has already hacked its own company module and spends time streaming old movie/TV series while trying to decide who it really is. It hasn’t allowed the humans to know it can override their commands if it wants to.

A nearby mission camp goes silent so the scientists and Murderbot take a trip to discover what happened. Murderbot realizes that there is danger as it discovers murdered humans and destroyed droid units.

Normally Murderbot doesn’t care so much about humans but he finds himself liking the scientist group who seem to care for each other. Now Murderbot has to discover a way to protect its people. Maybe it really can become part of a team.

I do like sentient robots, even though that could be scary. Murderbot is a likeable character and I enjoyed how it strategized and worked with the head of the team, Dr. Mensa, to protect the humans and uncover, and out wit, those behind the murders. This story has good world building and a full plot for just a short story. The author presents prejudices from the humans and the robot and allows them to grow beyond those initial stereotypes. This is my first read by Ms. Wells but I have an older story in my Audible TBR that I plan to listen to soon.

I recommend this to those who enjoy AI sci fi stories. My only concern is that the three additional stories are under 4 hours at a price of $11.99 each so the 12 hours ends up costing a healthy $36.00.

Audio Notes: Kevin R. Free does a good job with the narration. There is an appropriate robotic tone that fits Murderbot as the narrator of the story. Free gives the other characters their own voices that helped to bring the story alive. I am glad I listened to this on audio.

  • Jacob T. Marley

  • By: R. William Bennett
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 4 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,779
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,603
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,585

"Marley was dead to begin with...." These chillingly familiar words begin the classic Christmas tale of remorse and redemption in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Now R. William Bennett rewinds the story and focuses the spotlight on Scrooge’s miserly business partner, Jacob T. Marley, who was allowed to return as a ghost to warn Scrooge away from his ill-fated path. Why was Marley allowed to return? And why hadn’t he been given the same chance as Ebenezer Scrooge? Or had he?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is my favorite book! I listen to it all year

  • By Lyle K Holden on 08-07-17

I really liked this - it is a bit of a surprise.

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

Reviewed: 12-22-18

My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0 Overall, 4.5 Story and 5.0 Narration.

Most of us are familiar with Dickens story of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Now we have the story of Scrooge’s mentor and partner, Jacob T. Marley. Of course, Marley appears as a ghost in A Christmas Carol. In this story the author shares the background that creates the character of Marley. He develops the history of Marley meeting and becoming partners with Scrooge. And he presents Marley as a ghost/spirit seeking to help Scrooge before it's too late.

I wasn’t quite sure on this but I really enjoyed it. The style is consistent with Dickens, including issues of the human condition, so it carries along well from Scrooge’s story. Themes of remorse and redemption are well presented. I recommend this to those who enjoy the original classic.

Audio Notes: This was superbly narrated by the veteran narrator, Simon Vance. His expert voicing and narration adds extra richness to the story. This is wonderful listening entertainment and a real bargain at the deal price!

  • We'll Always Have Christmas

  • By: Jenny Hale
  • Narrated by: Helene Maksoud
  • Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 238
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 215
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 218

Christmas has always been a special time for Noelle Parker. Winter evenings spent with family and friends, drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies at her family's cozy bakery have shaped her love for all things festive. But this year everything is changing.... The beloved bakery is facing closure and Noelle needs a miracle to save Christmas. Determined to raise funds for the family business, Noelle sets about revamping the bakery while juggling a surprise new job, caring for the elderly and cantankerous William Harrington in his luxurious, sprawling mansion.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not the usual fluff

  • By Jhirst on 10-26-17

Mostly charming, Hallmark style romance.

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

Reviewed: 12-22-18

Noelle has come home with her young son, Lucas, after being laid off from her city job. She is ready to take over the family bakery, Hope and Sugar Bakery, as she promised her beloved grandmother. Unfortunately, Noelle is told by her family that the bakery is in financial difficulty and they can’t even give her a paying position.

Instead, she takes a job to help as a caregiver to a wealthy man who is losing his sight. The senior Mr. Harrington, William, isn’t initially thrilled that his handsome grandson, Alexander, has hired Noelle. Noelle’s family isn’t happy about the job either as they are claiming that Alexander Harrington, as the store landlord, has raised the building rent and has plans to move in a newer business.

Noelle and Lucas move into a suite in the huge mansion. Alexander is kind to Lucas, remembering how important it was for him as a young boy to have someone pay attention. He and Noelle develop a friendship too but they are both reluctant to allow feelings to grow. Alex is planning to move to New York to pursue his business. Noelle is focused on protecting herself and her son while struggling to save the bakery. Alex is estranged from his cantankerous grandfather, William Harrington, and Noelle wants to find a way to bring them together before Christmas.

Of course, the plot is a perfect situation in the style of a Hallmark Christmas romance. Sadly, Noelle’s character made me a bit nuts. She jumps to conclusions without getting facts and then she rushes off with inaccurate assumptions. Alex is a lovely character with more depth than expected. And of course, Lucas and William add more cuteness and conflict.

The writing is easy, almost simplistic. The romance is sweet but I felt it had a strange combination of forced and rushed. Through my frustration, I still enjoyed the light entertainment and overall story. I recommend this to fans of Hallmark Christmas style romance.

Audio Notes: Helene Maksoud did a nice job with the narration. She shares the feel of the story: melancholy, frustrated, nostalgic and sometimes wondrous. I am glad that I listened to the story.

  • Cartwright's Cavaliers

  • The Revelations Cycle, Book 1
  • By: Mark Wandrey
  • Narrated by: Craig Good
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,127
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,039
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,040

Heir to one of the leading "Four Horsemen" mercenary companies, Jim Cartwright is having a bad year. Having failed his high school VOWS tests, he's just learned his mother bankrupted the family company before disappearing, robbing him of his Cavalier birthright. But the Horsemen of eras past were smart - they left a legacy of equipment Jim can use to complete the next contract and resurrect the company.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don't give up on the book because of the monotone

  • By Eleanor C Mccrary on 04-23-17

Fun Space Mercenaries- even with juvenile elements

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

Reviewed: 12-22-18

This is fun entertainment; I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0, Overall, Story and Audio.

Jim Cartwright is the heir to one of the leading mercenary companies. Sadly, he isn’t athletic and failed his high school VOWS (Voluntary Off-World Assessment) test. Then he learns that his mother has bankrupted the company that he was to take over when he turns 18. Jim is downhearted until he visits home on his birthday and a caretaker explains that he does have an inheritance beyond the debts that his mother has piled up.

Jim apparently has inherited some older equipment along with his father’s keen strategy planning. His father’s old right-hand man takes Jim under his wing and they begin to rebuild the company. They gather a team of mercs willing to take a chance. No one really expects Jim to contribute much based on the mess ups in his young life. Sure enough, he soon begins to stumble through the battles but the results maybe a surprise to everyone.

I found the plot to be fun even though Jim is not your usual expert ‘hero’ character. The author makes Jeff's adventures, or should I say misadventures, to be great fun. There is plenty of action and fun contract negotiations. I hesitated getting this after reading some of the review. The story does have some juvenile, teen boy humor, especially about girls/women, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment. I plan to continue with the series. I recommend this to readers who enjoy fun, military sci fi, alien action and adventure.

Audio Notes: Craig Good does a good job with the narration. The beginning is a little flat but soon enough he captures the frustrations and energies of the characters. The narration added to my enjoyment of the story.