Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “audiobook”

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #22: War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

waroftheworlds

I’m sure I’m not the only one whose only previous experience with H.G. Wells was the 2005 War of the Worlds movie starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning and the character on Warehouse 13 . While the movie was entertaining, it had the usual Hollywood dramatic scenes with the hero fighting to protect their family, where everything is frantic and full special effects.

With that in mind, I found the audiobook refreshing. It has a much slower start than the movie. The aliens don’t just pop up out of the ground. Strange objects, apparently from Mars, land on the earth and are later reveled to contain aliens – Martians. We don’t know at first if they are friendly or malicious. They construct their tripod killing machines while people watch and wonder.

When the machines are operable, their destruction of humanity and civilization begins. Of course, this is a time before cars, so people are fleeing by foot and horse and buggy and they don’t have access to instant news or telephones like we do which makes for even more confusion. Everyone is on their own.

See the rest of the review at Loopy Ker’s Life

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #19-21: Various mysteries by Elizabeth Peters

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See my review comparing three Elizabeth Peters mysteries, The Jackal’s Head, The Night of Four Hundred Rabbits and Devil-May-Care at Loopy Ker’s Life.

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #15-#18: His Dark Materials, Books 1-4 by Philip Pullman

thegoldencompassblogthesubtleknifeblogtheamberspyglasslyrasoxford

A bit of a cheat on this one in my rush to get some more up for the CBR4 deadline. Review combining Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Books 1 thru 4, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass and short story, Lyra’s Oxford is at Loopy Ker’s Life.

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #14: Anne’s House of Dreams: Anne of Green Gables Series, Book 5 by L. M. Montgomery

Anne's House of Dreams coverThe review for the audiobook version of Anne’s House of Dreams: Anne of Green Gables Series, Book 5 by L. M. Montgomery by narrator Susan O’Malley is at:
Loopy Ker’s Life

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #13: True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life by Kevin Sorbo

True Strength coverOK, I admit that I kind of had a crush on Kevin Sorbo during his Hercules: The Legendary Journeys days. I’ve always had a weakness for tall guys with long hair – but, he also seemed like a decent guy when giving interviews. I hadn’t really thought about him in years, but was extremely disappointed to find out recently that he is now into some of the more extreme Christian fundamentalist propaganda. It didn’t seem to fit with his past public image, so I was curious. In looking him up, I discovered that he had a serious illness and had written an autobiographical book about it. “Aha!”, I thought. “That might explain the extreme religious views.”

I was pleased to discover that my online library had the audiobook of  True Strength, narrated by Kevin himself and his wife, Sam Sorbo. I hoped to find an explanation for this fundamentalist approach in this book. I was disappointed in that respect, but really enjoyed and connected with the book in other ways.

We all know we are mortal, but many of us like to forget about that at different times in our lives. Kevin Sorbo probably wasn’t thinking of it too much when he was in peak physical condition and playing the half-god, Hercules on one of the highest rated syndicated television shows in the world in the 1990’s. But, he was was forced to confront that in a sudden, terrifying way. Unknown to all but his closest family, friends and co-workers, at this peak time, Kevin suffered three strokes after an aneurysm in his shoulder caused clots to travel through his body. These resulted not only in damage to his arm, but both long lasting and permanent symptoms such as partial blindness, dizziness, weakness, headaches and ringing in his ears just for starters.

This struck while on hiatus from Hercules, between the 4th and 5th seasons, just after the release of Kull the Conqueror (1997). It was at a crucial point, both in his career and for the continuation of Hercules where a lot of other people depended on Kevin as the star to keep the show going.  Hercules hadn’t yet reached that magic 100 episode number for the best syndication deals. But fortunately, everyone had a little time to figure things out before filming began again – and it took a lot of creative solutions.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Hercules, but I still can remember when the writing suddenly changed with Kevin missing in strange ways – like one episode where he had been turned into a pig or was missing altogether. At the time, I was annoyed at the writing. Now, after reading True Strength, I’m amazed they pulled off hiding Kevin’s recovery and disability so well! I found it really interesting to hear about all the little tricks they did to make it look like he was there more than he was and what they used to hide his weakness. He went from doing many of his own stunts to needing a body double to even lift a sword for awhile. He was never able to return to doing even many of the previously easy-to-him stunts.

Besides relating to True Strength as a fan of Hercules and then Andromeda, I very much connected with the personal struggle Kevin went through with his sudden disability…

Read the rest of my review at Loopy Ker’s Life

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #11: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games coverI had this review ready to publish last week, but after the recent tragic news about the Newtown shootings in the US I took some time to rethink it. I don’t think that event changes my feelings about about my review below. I feel that despite the violence in the book, The Hunger Games is more relevant to our current-day reality TV and our culture of competition and voyeurism than to school shootings or violence against children specifically. But the media attention around such events has haunting similarities.

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I finally got on the bandwagon and had my first experience with The Hunger Games. I listened to Book 1 as an audiobook. Prior to that I had managed to avoid most of the hype. I didn’t want to ruin it for myself if I ever did read the book or watch the movie. I hadn’t heard of the book until the movie came out, but several friends had, and loved both the books and the movie, so I was curious but the general description of children having to fight to the death just created Lord of the Flies flashbacks, so I wasn’t seriously interested. I absolutely hated Lord of the Flies reading it in class in early high school. I reread it once later to see if I had a different opinion as an adult. I didn’t.

I’m very happy to say that The Hunger Games was a completely different experience. I’m not sure if it was because the viewpoint for The Hunger Games was a girl vs the boys in The Lord of the Flies, or maybe it was because there was a much better back story for the characters leading up to the fighting so that you cared about them a lot more. I have no intention of re-reading The Lord of the Flies for a more direct comparison. Although, now that I’m thinking about it, I think that what stuck with me in The Lord of the Flies was the cruelness of the children, whereas in The Hunger Games is it is the compassionate moments that stay with you afterwards. I much prefer the latter.

The Hunger Games is told from the point of view of a 17 year old girl, Katnis. She has been the head of her family since her father died when she was 11 years old and her mother went into a depression. They live in a poor, post-apocalyptic North American, coal mining community called District 12. Districts 1 thru 12 each specialize in a different industry and are controlled by The Capitol, mainly through keeping them in extreme poverty.

Read the rest of the review at Loopy Ker’s Life

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #09: Answer Me, Answer ME by Irene Bennett Brown

In my online library, a quote described Answer Me, Answer ME as “An excellent portrayal of a young woman’s search for her true identity, a compelling story with just the right elements of mystery and romance.” Sounded like a potentially good, young adult book to me. I was sadly disappointed.

I listened to the audiobook, but I don’t think that made a difference to my experience of the story. I can’t imagine even the best narrator in the world making me anything but sorry I wasted my time. The only difference is that I didn’t notice that the second “me” in the title is written “ME” until looking it up to write this review.

A young woman, Bryn Kinney, is on her own after her grandmother’s death. Now at only 18 years old, she is wondering if her grandmother, the woman who raised her, was really in fact her biological grandmother at all and if she has any other family out there somewhere. She has never known who her parents were, so she sets off an a quest to search for answers about her past.

Read the rest of the review at Loopy Ker’s Life

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #08: The Killings at Badger’s Drift: Chief Inspector Barnaby Series, Book 1 by Caroline Graham

badgersdriftblogI’m a fan of the TV show, Midsomer Murders, and the first five books in Caroline Graham’s Chief Inspector Barnaby Series inspired this TV show, so I thought I’d see how the audiobooks compare starting with The Killings at Badger’s Drift: Chief Inspector Barnaby Series, Book 1 . I haven’t read any of the original (7) print books.

If you’ve seen the British TV show, then you know that Midsomer Murders follows the investigations of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby and his younger sidekick Sgt. Gavin Troy, around the quaint little villages in the English countryside . These are slower paced murder mysteries when compared to typical American shows. Runtime per episode is 100 minutes. If you find these too slow-paced for you, then the 8-13 hour or more length of the audio books won’t be to your taste.

Compared to the TV show, I found both the Barnaby and Troy characters less likeable. DCI Barnaby was missing that subtle, warm humour portrayed so well by actor John Nettles and similarly, Sgt. Troy was missing the sweetness to his inexperienced bumbling that Daniel Casey (and later Jason Hugh as DS Jones) brought to the roll.

Read the rest of the review at Loopy Ker’s Life

pyrajane’s review #50: The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King

If you haven’t read the series, there are about to be spoilers.  You have been warned.

Wolvescalla

The tl;dr review: Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy continue on the Beam to the Tower.  They need to protect the Rose in NYC but can’t figure out how to get there and back.  The Beam brings them to a township that needs help.  Father Callahan from Salem’s Lot has Black Thirteen which will take them to NYC.  While they are in the town they need to help save the children.  Susannah is pregnant with a demon child and doesn’t know because her mind has created a new personality to protect the Chap.

The full summary with a few thoughts thrown in can be found over on my blog.

xoxoxoe’s #CBR4 Review #47: Catwings & Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings, by Ursula K. Le Guin

These are both short, so I am counting them as one entry.

The kid and I have fallen in love with audio books for our driving around town and beyond. We first tackled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which we owned. That kept us busy for quite a while. Then we discovered our local library has quite an extensive selection of audio books in the children’s library, so we grabbed a few titles we thought would be fun. She loved Catwings, by Ursula K. Le Guin, when her kindergarten teacher read it to the class, and I’m happy to report that now that she is a big third grader she still loves it, as well as one of its sequels, Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings.

Mrs. Tabby and her winged kittens

Not only are they both charming books to listen to, but they are read by the author herself, which adds another layer of fun. Catwings features four little city kittens, Thelma, Roger, James, and Harriet, whose loving mother, Mrs. Jane Tabby, sends them out in the world, to the country, away from the harsh and dangerous city. The kittens are unique, in that they have all been born with wings. The neighbors don’t hesitate to speculate, “I suppose their father was a fly-by-night.” Mrs. Tabby, who doesn’t have wings herself guesses, “Maybe they have wings because I dreamed, before they were born, that I could fly away from this neighborhood.”

Kittens having wings can be a convenience, and a boon, but can also prove to be dangerous, as other animals that they encounter are not too thrilled to meet cats that can fly. Catwings is a gentle story, for the most part, full of great imagery, as the cats learn to fly and interact with their new environment. But Le Guin does not shy away from the real dangers of a stray cat’s existence, even one that has wings. A few dangerous and exciting moments are provided by one of the kitten’s interactions with a large owl, but my daughter, although scared for the cats, was also enthralled. It’s a great little book.

The other book was just as fun. In Alexander the Wonderful and the Catwings a ginger kitten named Alexander gets lost in the woods on a winter’s day — a terrifying situation for a little cat. Luckily he also meets one of the Catwings, and his feline life will never be the same.

These books are definitely geared towards children, but they were highly enjoyable for me to listen to as well. Le Guin has wonderful enunciation and connects with each of the characters in her narration. After we listened to the books we had to dig out our hard copy versions, as they have some great illustrations by S. D. Schindler. I was trying to picture them while I listened to the author relate the Catwings’ adventures.

You can read more of my pop culture reviews on my blog, xoxoxo e

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