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John

Skaneateles, NY, United States
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  • Enlightenment Now

  • The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
  • By: Steven Pinker
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 19 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,141
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,684
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,638

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West but worldwide.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • We live in the best of all times

  • By Neuron on 02-25-18

Must read

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

Outstanding book. If you want to understand how the world really is right now in terms of historical perspective then this is a must read. Although we are subject to a constant barrage of doom and gloom there is reason to have hope and understand things are getting better. Not to say there aren't major problems to solve but we have made incredible progress on some many of humanities most vexing problems of poverty, disease, disasters, war, and other forms of violence. There is no reason to believe that this incredible progress can't and won't continue. Read this book.

  • Dawn of Wonder

  • The Wakening, Book 1
  • By: Jonathan Renshaw
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 29 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34,664
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 32,587
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,506

When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems. The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation's royal academy - a whole world of secrets in itself. But this is only the beginning of his discoveries.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Instant Favorite

  • By Joe on 03-21-16

The only wonder is how this is reviewed so highly.

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

Reviewed: 05-09-16

This is a very long, very overwritten, and very boring coming of age story. I picked it up because of the high reviews and was extremely disappointing. There are so many long drawn out uninteresting passages which add nothing to the plot. I kept going because there was an occasional glimmer that it might get better. It didn't. 30 audiobook hours of my life down the drain. Next time when I get the urge to lem I will pull the trigger quickly. Life is too short.

How this managed to get 4.7 stars I have no clue.

3 of 4 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 15,073
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13,958
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,930

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

Good for nostalgia reasons only

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

Reviewed: 02-29-16

This is a popcorn movie type book. Not well written, completely unbelievable with too many plot holes to count and without intellectual substance. But it was still decent fun in a nostalgic kind of way. There is plenty of good and bad.

The Good:

Han Solo, I don't need to say any more about this except the audiobook narrator NAILS his voice.
Lando Calrissian: see above
Great audio sound effects. Laser blasts, ship noises, Chewbacca growls, R2D2 chirps, C3PO voice. AMAZING audio production
Good bad guy.
It's STAR WARS.
Pretty fast paced. OK story line

The Bad:

Too many coincidences for plot convenience. Everybody seems to show up at the same place at the same time for random reasons. It's a HUGE galaxy. Makes no sense whatsoever.
Mara Jade: I HATED this character. Almost quit the book because of her. Suuuper annoying. Supposedly the "hand" of the former emperor but she acts like a petulant spoiled bratty teenager the entire book. The voice he gave her was like nails on a chalkboard. A book killer.
Lot of stupid fake politics thrown in. I never like simple plot convenient fake politics in sci/fi.
Nothing bad ever happens to the good guys. Always outnumbered but never in any danger. And you know it. Kind of boring. Please GRRM Martin it up please!

So, it's OK if you have low expectations and have fond memories of the Star Wars universe of your youth

  • The Emperor's Blades

  • Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book 1
  • By: Brian Staveley
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 19 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,455
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,971
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,968

In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 Primary Crimes Committed By The Author

  • By Captain Spanky Of Nazareth on 05-09-16

Misses out on greatness

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

Reviewed: 02-29-16

This book got off to such a great start. I had really high hopes which gradually dimmed with each successive chapter. Little things started to annoy and add up to the point where they direct all my focus and erode my enjoyment of the story.

The story is a fantasy sword piece told from the three POVs of the Emperors children who are young adults near the ends of their varied training. One is training as an elite commando type warrior, another a zen like monk, and the third as a politician/diplomat. The world build is incomplete but interesting nonetheless. A sinister plot is afoot and they are all soon in jeopardy from a mysterious source. The stage is set. I'm intrigued. So far so good.

Then the plot just bogs down. The middle section just drags. Endless drawn out training sessions which became rather extreme and non believable in their severity. The author is quite fond of long rambling introspection from his characters. Angst, self doubt, feelings of unworthiness...etc, etc. It grows tiring. A good bit of editing could have fixed this.

And then there are the YAish fantasy cliches. The Draco Malfoy character who is a total sociopath yet nobody except the protagonist seems to mind one bit. Really? Everyone would hate that jerk. The plot twists become very predictable. The lead characters trust all the wrong people and suspect the people who are really on their side. They blunder into obvious traps. They get their "superpowers" in sudden epiphanies at just the right time under tremendous stress. Another pet peeve is the repetitive use of stupid sounding fake curse words. Kent Kissing? Holy Hull? Shale Spawn? And yet they drop F-bombs once in a while. Just stick to one system already. F-bombs work just fine and aren't silly sounding.

The conclusion is anything but. Almost nothing is wrapped up. We have no idea why or who was behind the whole plot. Really nothing at all is revealed. After 18+ hours of listening. Frustrating. I know it's a trilogy but if your goal is to have one really long book then just make it a really long book and not a trilogy. Each book in a good trilogy should have a meaningful conclusion of it's own. As an example, Brandon Sanderson does a great job of this in his books.

Some of us may not want to read the rest of it. I'm on the fence on continuing. It feels like I am being manipulated into doing so due to so many unresolved plot lines, ie all of them.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Death of Dulgath

  • The Riyria Chronicles, Book 3
  • By: Michael J. Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds, Michael J. Sullivan
  • Length: 13 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,904
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,561
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,546

Three times they tried to kill her. Then they hired a professional. She hired Riyria. When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and the cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start life as thieves for hire. Things have gone well enough until they receive the odd assignment to prevent a murder.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Consistently Awesome!

  • By Jake Hartwell on 12-22-15

My old friends Hadrian and Royce are back!

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

Reviewed: 02-29-16

Hadrian and Royce are back! The best action/comedy buddy duo in fantasy lit. This is the 6th installment of the Ryria series. Hasn't been a bad one yet and this is no exception. Maybe not as much action as the others but still very enjoyable. I hope this isn't the last one......Michael??

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Son of the Black Sword

  • Saga of the Forgotten Warrior, Book 1
  • By: Larry Correia
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 16 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,995
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,354
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,321

After the War of the Gods, the demons were cast out and fell to the world. Mankind was nearly eradicated by the seemingly unstoppable beasts until the gods sent the great hero, Ramrowan, to save them. He united the tribes, gave them magic, and drove the demons into the sea. Ever since, the land has belonged to man, and the oceans have remained an uncrossable hell, leaving the continent of Lok isolated.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Great Beginning to a new Epic Series

  • By Don Gilbert on 10-31-15

Awesome start to new series!

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

Reviewed: 02-29-16

Great start to a new epic fantasy series. Plot summaries exhaust me so I will just say that this book is a very fun ride. It reminded me of both "Blood Song" by Anthony Ryan and "The First Law" Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, both of which are outstanding. My favorite character in this book is a sword. How cool is that? There are demons, prophesies, a secret society of wizards, creepy masked inquisitors, an elite cadre of magically enhanced warriors trained since children who can single handedly defeat small armies, twists, turns, epic fights. If you like these types of things you will love this book. The narrator is excellent.

Highly recommended.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Flowers for Algernon

  • By: Daniel Keyes
  • Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,346
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,595
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,590

Charlie Gordon knows that he isn't very bright. At 32, he mops floors in a bakery and earns just enough to get by. Three evenings a week, he studies at a center for mentally challenged adults. But all of this is about to change for Charlie. As part of a daring experiment, doctors are going to perform surgery on Charlie's brain. They hope the operation and special medication will increase his intelligence, just as it has for the laboratory mouse, Algernon.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Phenomenal Classic

  • By FanB14 on 03-22-13

Very tedious start

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

Reviewed: 12-11-15

I'm only 2 hours in and I am bored to tears. I'm just not feeling it. Maybe it gets better but I'm not sticking around.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Soul Music

  • By: Terry Pratchett
  • Narrated by: Nigel Planer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,836
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,306
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,305

On the planet of Discworld, phrases like "there's a Death in the family" take on a whole new meaning. Young Susan has always suspected that her Grandfather was different, as though all the time he spent riding a white horse and wielding a scythe weren't enough of a giveaway. Now that her worst fears have been confirmed, Susan learns that she's expected to take over the family business when she grows up, even though most people mistake her for the Tooth Fairy.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, poor quality audio

  • By Andrea on 02-23-11

Good but not great Discworld

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

Reviewed: 11-25-15

Discworld books are all good. Some are better than others however and I would place this one near the bottom of the many I have read. It is a parody of Rock music as you could probably guess from the title.

It is the 3rd in the Death series of books. Death is one of the funniest and most interesting of the Discworld characters. The trouble is, with this book, is that Death is only a minor character. Death, prone to melancholy as he is, has decided to take a break and join the Clatchian Foreign Legion. This could have been a very funny book in itself, unfortunately, it takes Death mostly out of the picture and his Granddaughter unwillingly has to fill in for him.

The plot revolves around a newly formed musical group composed of a human, dwarf, and troll. One of the members should have been killed but his soul has been replaced my music from an ancient artifact from the beginnings of the universe in the form of a (electric) guitar. They invent "Music with Rocks In" which takes Ankh-Morpork by storm. The plot becomes quite convoluted and at times confusing with a few less amusing side plots, which is why it lost a couple stars for me. Still, plenty of typical Pratchet humor with all the references to Rock Star cliches.

Good but not great.

Nigel Planer is a superb narrator. The recording quality of this is very poor. It sounds very muffled almost like being underwater. Made it difficult to understand certain parts.

  • The Big Sleep

  • By: Raymond Chandler
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,031
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,804
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,797

Los Angeles PI Philip Marlowe is working for the Sternwood family. Old man Sternwood, crippled and wheelchair-bound, is being given the squeeze by a blackmailer and he wants Marlowe to make the problem go away. But with Sternwood's two wild, devil-may-care daughters prowling LA's seedy backstreets, Marlowe's got his work cut out - and that's before he stumbles over the first corpse.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Class Noir

  • By Ian C Robertson on 08-09-15

Like watching an old black and white movie

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

Reviewed: 11-17-15

I've never read a classic Phillip Marlow tale before. Now I have done it. Crossed it off the list. Don't need to read another one.

Reading this feels just like watching the old classic movie with Bogart and Bacall. Lots of style and atmosphere. Classic noir. But like old Hollywood it is dated and doesn't feel in any way realistic. Everyone is a stylized cool customer with a deadpan sacrastic wit. Practically every single scene involves some type of stylistically portrayed cigarette smoking and drinking of hard liquor. At times this book seems like a product placement for big tobacco. And all the female characters are just sex objects and can't be blamed for any of their horrible actions.

While I did enjoy the noir atmosphere, the story was lacking. The characters felt wooden and cliched, probably because these stories are where the cliches originated. It was pretty easy to figure out the big reveal at the end. There wasn't much tension or intrigue. It was just a guy plodding along figuring solving the puzzle one methodical step at a time.

I somewhat enjoyed this for the nostalgia but I am glad it was short and cheap (3.95 sale).

Narrator is great on the male characters but horrible with the females.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Little Big Man

  • By: Thomas Berger, Larry McMurtry - introduction
  • Narrated by: David Aaron Baker, Scott Sowers, Henry Strozier
  • Length: 20 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 908
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 851
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 843

Audie Award, Literary Fiction, 2016. The story of Jack Crabbe, raised by both a white man and a Cheyenne chief. As a Cheyenne, Jack ate dog, had four wives, and saw his people butchered by General Custer's soldiers. As a white man, he participated in the slaughter of the buffalo and tangled with Wyatt Earp.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It's a Good Day to Listen

  • By Dubi on 05-21-15

Classic yet fairly realistic tale of the old west

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

Reviewed: 11-12-15

This is the story of Jack Crabb who's Cheyenne name is Little Big Man. It is told as a flashback of Jack as an 111yo man. It is an enjoyable recounting of the plains region circa 1850-1876 culminating in the battle of the Little Big Horn and Custer's last stand. The first half of the book is outstanding mainly focusing on Jack's time as a boy living with the Cheyenne after being adopted by the tribe. The descriptions of native american customs and lifestyle is realistically portrayed and quite interesting. Much is said about how native american ways and philosophy differs from "the whites". I always find this interesting to read about. The second half of the book is good but less interesting, sometimes being a tad long winded. There is a lot about frontier life and the life in early plains cities like St. Louis and Kansas City.

Narrator does an excellent job and gives the story an authentic feel.

5 stars for the first half of the book but 3 stars for the second half.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful