Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson narrated by the authorAstrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson narrated by the author

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 3 hours, 41 minutes
Narrated by: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in digestible chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day. While waiting for your morning coffee to brew, or while waiting for the bus, the train, or the plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the big bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

My Thoughts:
This was exactly what I expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was expecting an introductory level of information not a super in-depth study. This is a collection of a series of essays by Tyson that were originally published in Natural History magazine.

The audiobook is 3 hours and 41 minutes long but with all the rewinding to listen again I did it probably to me more like five and a half hours to finish. Listening to this book reminded me of sitting in a favorite professor’s class in college. The subject matter was interesting and presented in a conversational manner with plenty of wit and humor along the way.

I can’t imagine anyone other than Neil deGrasse Tyson narrating this.

I learned a lot and definitely recommend this one. Now that I’ve listened to it I would like to get the print edition. This is a book that lends itself to reading or listening to one chapter and then putting it aside for a while before reading or listening to the next. I enjoyed listening to it straight through but for a reread I might take it in smaller chunks.

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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Divided in Death by J.D. Robb – Audio Edition

Posted by on Nov 3, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, JD Robb | 2 comments

Divided in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan EricksenDivided in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan Ericksen

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #18 in the In Death series
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 2004
Length: 12 hours, 10 minutes
Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Reva Ewing was a former member of the Secret Service, and then a security specialist for Roarke Enterprises—until she was found standing over the dead bodies of her husband, renowned artist Blair Bissel, and her best friend. But Lieutenant Eve Dallas believes there was more to the killing than jealous rage—all of Bissel’s computer files were deliberately corrupted.

To Roarke, it’s the computer attack that poses the real threat. He and Reva have been under a code-red government contract to develop a program that would shield against techno-terrorists. But this deadly new breed of hackers isn’t afraid to kill to protect their secret—and it’s up to Lieutenant Eve Dallas to shut them down before the nightmare can spread to the whole country.

My Thoughts:
This series has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. The mix of police procedural, romance and just slightly in the future science fiction elements is a lot of fun. Now that I’m listening to the audio editions instead of reading the print editions I’m enjoying it even more.

Susan Ericksen does a fabulous job of narrating this series. She creates recognizable character voices with a variety of accents. Even though she is female her voice for Roarke is yummy.

In this volume Eve and Roarke are at odds with each other for most of the book so it’s a little lighter on the romance than other books in the series. The identity of the perpetrator is known about halfway through the books so it changes from a ‘whodunnit’ to a ‘How with they catch ’em’ with a side of ‘Will Eve and Roarke be OK?’.

Peabody continues to be my favorite supporting character. She and her boyfriend/fellow cop are so delightfully earnest and funny. I love them.

 

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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The Western Star by Craig Johnson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Craig Johnson | 2 comments

The Western Star by Craig Johnson narrated by George GuidallThe Western Star by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #13 in the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 7 hours, 39 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Sheriff Walt Longmire is enjoying a celebratory beer after a weapons certification at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy when a younger sheriff confronts him with a photograph of 25 armed men standing in front of a Challenger steam locomotive. It takes him back to when, fresh from the battlefields of Vietnam, then-deputy Walt accompanied his mentor Lucian to the annual Wyoming Sheriff’s Association junket held on the excursion train known as the Western Star, which ran the length of Wyoming from Cheyenne to Evanston and back. Armed with his trusty Colt .45 and a paperback of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, the young Walt was ill-prepared for the machinations of 24 veteran sheriffs, let alone the cavalcade of curious characters that accompanied them.
The photograph – along with an upcoming parole hearing for one of the most dangerous men Walt has encountered in a lifetime of law enforcement – hurtles the sheriff into a head-on collision of past and present, placing him and everyone he cares about squarely on the tracks of runaway revenge.

My Thoughts:
The bad thing about catching up with a series is the year long wait for the next book. And now I’m at that point again. It’s a little more painful this time because there is some unfinished business in the story that will have to wait for the next book.

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. One story is in the present and Walt is preparing to attend the parole hearing of someone he was involved in apprehending years ago. The other story told in flashback is about when Walt was a deputy and had just started working for Lucien. The two stories gradually converge and not only is the identity of the prisoner revealed, the reason for Walt’s doggedness in seeing that the prisoner wasn’t released becomes clear.

It was fun to see the younger Walt on a case and to also spend some time with the younger Lucien. I’m glad the story was not totally in the past because I like the supporting characters in the present-day story.

The Hubster and I went to see Craig Johnson at Powell’s. I was only a couple of chapters into the book at that point but he was good about not giving anything away. He said that he had too much story to fit into one book with this one so he had to find a way to split it into two books yet still have part of it resolved in this one.

Clearly I like this series since I’m still listening thirteen books in. George Guidall does a fabulous job of narrating these books. His voice characterizations are spot on and consistent.

As always with this series I highly recommend it and if audiobooks are your thing you should try that route. There is a progression to the books so you should really start with the first one.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess – Audio Edition

Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 in 2.5 stars, 2017, Audio, Book Review, Elizabeth Peters | 0 comments

The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess narrated by Barbara RosenblatThe Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #20 in the Amelia Peabody series publication order, #14 in story chronology order
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 13 hours, 18 minutes
Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Egypt, 1912. Amelia Peabody and her dashing archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti and Amelia finds herself the target of assassins in this long-awaited, eagerly anticipated final installment of Elizabeth Peters’ best-selling, beloved mystery series.
Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo when a man with a knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word – “murder” – before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried is a sheet of paper with Amelia’s name and room number and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: “Judas”. Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye. . . .

My Thoughts:
I have listened to and enjoyed all the Amelia Peabody books. Barbara Rosenblat’s narration has added to the entertainment. This will remain an audio book series that I will recommend. When Barbara Mertz (Elizabeth Peters) passed away I resigned myself to the end of the series. The good thing was that she had written the final book in the story chronology and her recent books went back and fit in the timeline between previous books. This meant that the series was left without an ending.

The Painted Queen was an unfinished manuscript that the author left when she died. Her estate asked Mertz’s friend Joan Hess to complete the book.

I knew going in that this wasn’t going to be classic Amelia Peabody but I couldn’t resist the chance for one last adventure with Amelia and her family. The book was enjoyable but it was clearly not all the original author’s work. It’s an adequate addition to the series but not a necessary one.

 

Rating
3 
<img src= 2.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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Unmentionable by Therese O’Neill – Audio Edition

Posted by on Aug 4, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

Unmentionable the Victorian Ladys Guide to Sex Marriage & Manners by Therese O'Neill narrated by Betsy Foldes Meiman and Jim Meskimen

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication Date: 2016
Length: 7 hours 12 minutes
Narrated by: Betsy Foldes Meiman and Jim Meskiman
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era?
Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there’s arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn’t question.)
Unmentionable is your hilarious, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood, giving you detailed advice on:

  • What to wear
  • Where to relieve yourself
  • How to conceal your loathsome addiction to menstruating
  • What to expect on your wedding night
  • How to be the perfect Victorian wife
  • Why masturbating will kill you
  • And more

My Thoughts:
Several people I know enjoyed this book and it sounded fun so it was an easy choice to spend an Audible credit on it.

This was fun. It was written as a dose of reality to modern day women romanticizing life in their historical books. Not so glamorous. I knew going in that it was written with a touch of sarcasm and humor so I wasn’t surprised at that part. This is not dry nonfiction. This is the author talking to the reader with a wicked grin in her voice that clearly says she’s enjoying ruining the reader’s romantic notions.

Having just finished Get Well Soon, I was familiar with the parts about some of the common diseases of the era. There was plenty of other new information that made me happy to have been born in the twentieth century.

Betsy Foldes Meiman does the majority of the narration with Jim Meskimen narrating the parts that are quotes from books written by men. Meiman seems to have fully embraced the tone of the book and seems to enjoy the snarkiness. While I though it was a little overedone at times, her narration clearly fit the tone of this particular book but I’m not sure she’s someone I’d want to narrate a more straightforward story.

It was fun, interesting, educational if not a but cringeworthy at times and a book I’d recommend.

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the narration (or maybe the production)

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Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright – Audio Edition

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright narrated by Gabra ZackmanGet Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright narrated by Gabra Zackman

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 7 hours 43 minutes
Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

A witty, irreverent tour of history’s worst plagues – from the Antonine Plague, to leprosy, to polio – and a celebration of the heroes who fought them.

In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn’t stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome – a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary.

Throughout time, humans have been terrified and fascinated by the diseases history and circumstance have dropped on them. Some of their responses to those outbreaks are almost too strange to believe in hindsight. Get Well Soon delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues we’ve suffered as a species, as well as stories of the heroic figures who selflessly fought to ease the suffering of their fellow man. With her signature mix of in-depth research and storytelling, and not a little dark humor, Jennifer Wright explores history’s most gripping and deadly outbreaks, and ultimately looks at the surprising ways they’ve shaped history and humanity for almost as long as anyone can remember.

My Thoughts:
I heard about this one from some friends on Twitter who were enjoying the audio edition. I had an audible credit available so I bought it.

I enjoyed learning about well known and not so well known diseases and plagues and meidcal care throughout history.

This book is full of interesting facts and tidbits. There’s also quite a bit of sarcasm and humor. The author makes a lot of jokes. Some of them aren’t as funny but I did giggle quite a bit while listening to this.

The narration by Gabra Zackman mostly good. I don’t know whether it was the production or the narrator herself but there was a quirk with this audiobook that was distracting. Almost every sentence sounded as if the playback speed was increased for the first few words. It was noticeable enough that I kept checking my ipod to see if the playback speed setting was changing. I even downloaded the book a second time to see if there was a problem with that but it didn’t make any difference. It was a minor irritation and not enough to make me stop listening.

I do recommend this book but if you choose to read it I recommend that print format.

 

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

3 stars 3/5 for the narration (or maybe the production)

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