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Trudy Owens

Orem, UT, US
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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-14-18

Seminal work in Sci-fi Robotics

If you love robots or space or Star Trek or Star Wars or anything like that, you must become familiar with Isaac Asimov. His I Robot and other early stories about the development of the positronic brain, the Three Laws of Robotics, and the robo-psychologist Susan Calvin (not the one in the movie) are the basis of all we just now accept as natural and true about robots.

This book and its 2 sequels are brilliant in their ability to present a future Earth in such a way that you understand the society and personalities. Then you follow Detective Elijah Bailey as he learns to confront his own assumptions, biases, and cultural fears in order to understand the world of The Spacers. He must learn how to function as a person, and then as a detective, in a culture that should be similar but is so very very different. There is so much here to delight--the linguistic differences, the cultural clash, the workings of robots within a society, and then the murder.

Asimov and his books have stood the test of time and are just as believable today as they were 50 years ago. As I divest myself of physical books and count more on the library and audio books, this is one of my keepers. I love this book. I love R Daneel Olivaw.

Since I have read this book many times over the last 5 decades, I have my own voice for the characters which makes it nearly impossible for any narrator to satisfy my expectation. If you haven't read the book and are just listening for the first time, the narration will probably be perfect.

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1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-14-18

maybe for kids

My 7-yo found this story interesting. She liked the mouse and the reindeer and that he became Santa Claus. I hated it. I didn't like the whole setup, the reason for the quest, the people, the lack of character development, the events that occurred. It took me a couple weeks to get through the interminable 4 1/2 hours of this book, and I read 4 or 5 other books while listening to this because I really didn't want to.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-13-18

with Ray Porter you don't mind that it drags

Ivan signs on with a mining crew in hopes of earning enough money so his family can get ahead. He worries about his wife and kids, and deals with the ribbing and hazing from the older crew. He is getting along fine when the crew finds a mother lode asteroid. On the asteroid, setting it on a course for home, he reaches for a strange object and his whole life changes. Ray Porter is awesome as usual at bringing the characters to life.

The book drags a bit, but the concept is interesting, and there may be a sequel.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-13-18

I was won over

I read this for an assignment. I didn't know Sara and I wasn't interested in her life. She starts each chapter by singing one of her songs (a capella) and then shares her private life experiences that inspired the song. She quickly turned this chore into a delight as I laughed and cried through her stories and songs. Sara is insightful, eloquent, compassionate, and tender, and a very talented singer/songwriter. I will now be looking up some of her songs.

I am usually very insistent that writers never narrate their own books. This is an exception to that. Sara is also a great actress and presents her material with wonderful intonation and even voices.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-13-18

after a slow start, it gets good

Max, a convicted felon--bank robberies, and yes he did it-- is released after serving his 10 years in prison only to discover that his estranged son had become a cop and was just killed. Trying to understand all this, he discovers inconsistencies in the situation, the explanations, and the evidence. Because of his past, he has a hard time convincing anyone to listen or help clear things up. He turns to the FBI agent who arrested him, and she does believe him.

You will figure out what probably happened, but the end may still have a surprise or two. Max ends up being a believable, likable (hate to say hero) main character, and you are happy for his closure. Even though Max has lost everything up until now, he will manage to create a better future.

The narration is best on the character voices where he is actually awesome. The prose reading was not my favorite at first but I got used to it.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-13-18

the first few chapters were funny

The actual title of this book is "I Suck at Girls Because All I Want Is Sex.

It started out as a book based off the tweets he made of what his father said. Those were funny. His father is funny. His father gets 2 stars.Then it devolved into a juvenile's hunt for losing his virginity. No longer funny. This is what's wrong with men these days. Women are objects and it's all about their bodies and what those bodies can do for the men.

The narration is good but you can tell how he felt about the girls by the voices he gave them.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-10-18

less about time travel than about us

Most time travel books deal with space-time continuum conundrums and paradoxes. This one does not. Future folk (us) have set up a Future City theme park to show the Americans of the 1870s what's to come.

The story is more about ethics than changing the future by stepping on a butterfly. It is about how humans react when they encounter something new. It's also about making money. Humanity as a whole is discussed--with all these fantastic wonders, are people any better? Have we conquered our flaws? Is life in the future better?

The book drags a bit, but the ideas are solid, and we do wonder what will happen to our friends.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-10-18

tiresome and convoluted, not for me

Spelled is a backwards remake of The Wizard of Oz with many other characters, ideas, and even lines from nearly every other fairy tale. This version has some cute ideas that twist the original's plot. There are many clever puns or reworks of phrases that brought a chuckle, but I found the book tedious and difficult to finish. I read other books in between chapters of this because I didn't really want to read it. The events seemed to repeat themselves, and the ending seemed rushed and unexplained.

Teens may enjoy it, and adults who like this genre better than I do.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-03-18

took a long time to get into it

In this space exploration story the crew find a strange metallic moon that seems to hold untold advanced knowledge and technology. But it is also inhabited by deadly creatures. The crew is divided into the landing party, the drop ship, and the main ship, and all are under different sorts of attack. There is mention of conflict due to the crew being made up of former enemies on Earth who now work together in space. This is supposed to cause some tension among the characters, but they weren't as fully developed as could be. Perhaps this will smooth out in future volumes. There is some excitement as the Marines wait for rescue with their backs to the wall, but I had a hard time really getting into the story. It was always a book; it didn't make it to sweeping me away to another world.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-30-18

Mitch Rapp it ain't, but this is wonderful

The publisher's summary actually gives away too much and spoils the pleasure of the book.

An elderly couple fall victim to a moving company scam and all their belongings are stolen. Instead of rolling over and collecting the insurance money, 72-yo Stanley Peke goes after the thieves. (Hearing it read as Stanley Peak is more interesting)

There is some Yay! action at the end, but this is not really what I would call "a thriller." It is mostly an introspective, contemplative look into the lives of those involved, especially the two men pitted against each other like old lions (or a lion and a jackal, or perhaps two jackals--you decide). Most of it is prose, detailing each person's thoughts and motivations as well as back story. If you are expecting action, this gets tedious, but if you are prepared for psychology, this is beautifully written. There is restitution, reconnection, and even redemption. All the loose ends are gathered at the end; all your questions like "but what about the ...?" and "why doesn't he...?" are dealt with. Everything that seemed to drag on in the beginning comes into play at the end with a surprising Oh-no! moment, and then a delightful satisfying conclusion.

The narration is wonderful, down to the subtle accents.

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