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  • gilwilson 3:58 PM on December 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal” By Mary Roach 

    51Zz2yh5aHL._SL500_Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
    By: Mary Roach
    Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
    Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
    Release date: 04-02-13
    Publisher: Tantor Audio

    I have to start out by saying this book has cemented my standing as a Mary Roach fan.  I have only read 2 of her previous books: “Stiff” and “Spook”, and with this book the exploration of science stuff and presenting to the non-scientist is outstanding.

    Mary Roach knows exactly what the average person wants to know about, whether it’s how fast a human body decays, how much does the soul weigh, or in this book how is a fecal transplant performed.  In this book from mouth to anus the human body’s digestive tract (and even our beloved pets’ digestion) is explored.  Oh and we get the final word on Elvis as well.

    Mary’s style is perfect for the non-scientist but curious, in that she doesn’t have to cloud the page with college words, although she does put them in but she is quick to define and explain the words so no PhD is required.

    Not only does she make the subject matter easy to comprehend but she hits the topics we need to hear about; how does pet food taste, are flavors and smells the same, and did Elvis die of constipation?

    The narrator, Emily Woo Zeller, does a superb job of presenting this book and seems to completely capture the author’s voice.  The book is written, or maybe just the reading of the book, in a conversational manner that even the side notes sound like she’s whispering to you personally.  Definitely a heavy subject covered in an easily digestible way.  (Pun Intended!)

    Publisher’s Summary
    Best-selling author Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. Roach takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour.

    The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: The questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis?

    In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of – or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach as our guide, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists – who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts. Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.

    ©2013 Mary Roach (P)2013 Tantor

  • gilwilson 3:24 PM on December 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “You Have Been Judged: A Space Opera Judge, Jury, & Executioner, Book 1” By Craig Martelle 

    51nA4bxkHgL._SL500_You Have Been Judged: A Space Opera
    Judge, Jury, & Executioner, Book 1
    By: Craig Martelle, Michael Anderle
    Narrated by: Katharine McEwan
    Series: Judge, Jury, & Executioner, Book 1, The Kurtherian Gambit Universe, Book 140
    Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
    Release date: 01-03-19
    Publisher: LMBPN Publishing

    So I was not sure what to expect of this series, but being a Sci-Fi fan, I had to give it a try.  It was a bit rough at first, but once the story got going I was all in.  This is the first book in the series and character introductions were the rough part.  The author knows we have to understand the characters to enjoy their adventures, but the intros were a bit blocky at first.  After the crew of Rivka Anoa’s ship were in place, all went well from there.

    My best summary of this book would be like a nicer Judge Dredd and maybe a bit of the Star Wars Mandalorian storyline,  but instead of bounty hunters the mandates wait for their assignments and mete out justice as needed.   You get a bit of space travel adventures, meeting different races/species and some bounty hunters drinking to celebrate their bounties being caught, or rather Justice being served across the galaxy.

    As long as the next books in the series don’t have long introductions to characters, I can and will read more in the collection.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Rivka Anoa has a gift and a galactic mandate.
    She’s a lawyer accused of a murder she did commit. She stands ready to accept her fate, even though her victim was a murderer. A second chance appears. Become more than a lawyer. Be one who judges and punishes the guilty.
    Could she look herself in the mirror after meting out justice? She’s about to find out. Rivka heads to space to be the Judge, Jury, & Executioner. Criminals have nowhere to go.
    You have been judged….

    Judge, Jury, & Executioner is a stand-alone series in the Kurtherian Gambit Universe. No previous books need to be heard. Just lock in your seat-belt, grab your favorite drink, and be ready for your socks to be blown off.

    Please note: This book contains cursing. Perhaps humorous cursing, but cursing nevertheless. If this offends you, perhaps this book isn’t for you.

    ©2018 Craig Martelle, Michael Anderle (P)2019 LMBPN Audio

  • gilwilson 3:02 PM on December 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: chewbacca, ewoks, han solo, lando calrissian,   

    Last Shot – Star Wars – A Han & Lando Story 

    Last Shot – Star Wars – A Han & Lando Story51b7Pbq4yKL._SL500_By: Daniel José Older
    Narrated by: Marc Thompson, Daniel José Older, January LaVoy
    Series: Star Wars, Book 33
    Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
    Release date: 04-17-18
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    I once heard a self-proclaimed Star Wars fan say that the problem with Star Wars is that you have to wait so long between movies.  This was before the launch of Disney+ streaming service but still I was thinking you can’t be a real fan unless you know about all these books that are considered part of the Star Wars Cannon.  There’s plenty of material there.  This book is a great fit for the recent Star Wars films and the classic Star Wars films.

    This book jumps back and forth between the times of the “Force Awakens” movie and the original trilogy of movies.  There are even times in the book that go back to the “Solo” side movie.  In other words everything a Star Wars fan loves about Han Solo and Lando Calrissian is contained and even some explained in this fun adventure.

    When it comes to the audiobook aspect of this book, the multiple voices fit in great with the time jumping aspect of the story telling.  Also the voice actors (especially Marc Thompson) Make it sound as if you are hearing the actors themselves reprise their roles.

    I thoroughly enjoy a good flashback storytelling model and with this one the going back and forth and trying to find out who wants to kill Lando makes the mystery even more intriguing.  The nice thing is that there are times set by the movies that are ready to be explored and this book never held back playing on the set characters and different times of the flashbacks.

    For those of you looking for the Greedo/Solo shooting first argument settled, nope, not this book.  But as the reader/listener we do get to find out more about how Lando and Han developed their “friendship.”

    Publisher’s Summary
    New York Times Best Seller
    Han Solo and Lando Calrissian are reunited on the Millennium Falcon in a galaxy-spanning novel inspired by Solo: A Star Wars Story. But even the fastest ship in the galaxy can’t outrun the past…
    It’s one of the galaxy’s most dangerous secrets: a mysterious transmitter with unknown power and a reward for its discovery that most could only dream of claiming. But those who fly the Millennium Falcon throughout its infamous history aren’t your average scoundrels. Not once, but twice, the crew of the Falcon tries to claim the elusive prize – first, Lando Calrissian and the droid L3-37 at the dawn of an ambitious career, and later, a young and hungry Han Solo with the help of his copilot, Chewbacca. But the device’s creator, the volatile criminal Fyzen Gor, isn’t interested in sharing. And Gor knows how to hold a grudge….
    It’s been 10 years since the rebel hero Han Solo last encountered Fyzen Gor. After mounting a successful rebellion against the Empire and starting a family with an Alderaanian princess, Han hasn’t given much thought to the mad inventor. But when Lando turns up at Han’s doorstep in the middle of the night, it’s Fyzen’s assassins that he’s running from. And without Han’s help, Lando – and all life on Cloud City – will be annihilated.
    With the assistance of a young hotshot pilot, an Ewok slicer prodigy, the woman who might be the love of Lando’s life, and Han’s best and furriest friend, the two most notorious scoundrels in the New Republic are working together once more. They’ll have to journey across the stars – and into the past – before Gor uses the device’s power to reshape the galaxy.
    Praise for Last Shot:
    “Action-packed in all the right ways.” (Tordotcom)
    “A fun, breezy read, with plenty of humor, Ewok hackers, murderous robots, and rousing fight scenes as Han and Lando go from scrape to scrape [to] track down a long-forgotten enemy.” (The Verge)
    “The flat-out funniest Star Wars novel to date.” (Alternative Nation)
    ©2018 Daniel Jose Older (P)2018 Random House Audio

  • gilwilson 4:58 PM on September 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “Cryptofauna” By Patrick Canning 

    By Patrick Canning
    Narrated by Steve White
    Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
    Release date: 01-23-19
    Publisher: Patrick Canning

    Every once in a while you run across something that upon first reading you just think, “What the ‘F’ was that?”  Well, this was one of those, but not in a bad way.  It actually reminds me of the first time I read “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “A Clockwork Orange.”  When I read those two books for the first time It took me a few weeks to absorb and I fully din’t get the entire message until I re-read them.  Don’t get me wrong, they may have been “What the ‘F'” moments but so much so that I had to go back and re-read.

    This review is based on the first and definitely not the last read of this fun mish mash of fun.

    Going into this I had no idea what to expect, anytime this book was referenced they referencer (that is now a word ), would mention Douglas Adams.  I was thinking, “Yeah, we’ll see about that.”  With all the silliness involved I can understand the references now. a Jinn that changes from dragonfly to whale to bus driver…well that alone is enough to understand the fun.

    As the story goes, Jim is an Idaho native who works as a janitor at an insane asylum.  Jim is at the pinnacle of depression and is ready to snuff it.  Before he completes that suicide he is drawn into a game called Cryptofauna which to the best of my ability (so far) to discribe comes to be a real life Role Playing Game in which the contestants must recruit their own team after being picked by some sort of entity and then battle the team of some other sort of entity.  At this point I was thinking that as Jim fell into the rabbithole (metaphorically speaking) of finding his crew, he discovers how the real world works and decides he wants to live once this game is over.

    I will have to admit there were a few times in the story where I became confused and the point was never fully explained, but I strongly feel that this will be fixed in a second reading, and I really do want to read it again, there was just so much fun in this book.

    So drop a little acid, play some real life “World of Warcraft,” or be safer and just read “Cryptofauna.”


    Publisher’s Summary
    Working as a janitor at an insane asylum in rural Idaho has Jim in the dumps. One night, his attempted suicide is rudely interrupted by one of the residents, and he’s recruited to play a game called Cryptofauna. The bizarre contest of worldwide mischief and meddling might actually help the blue custodian discover a reason to live, if he can survive the deadly trials that await….

    “If Alice and Wonderland and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had a love child, it’d be Cryptofauna. This fantasy novel creates an acid dream of lovable characters, tense twists, and a storyworld unlike any I’ve experienced…it’s a beautiful story, funny at times, ridiculous in the best possible way, intense and action packed.” (Nico Bell Writes)

    “Every so often, you come across a book that leaves you wondering if you should be looking into psychedelic drugs, because you realize that your reality is rather limited. This is definitely one of those books…one of the strangest, most intriguing things I’ve ever read.” (Songs Wrote my Story)

    “Cryptofauna is fantastically strange, it’s so funny and I found myself laughing out loud multiple times. But it’s also deep and poignant and [the] attention to detail is superb.” (Rae’s Reading Lounge)

    ©2018 Patrick Canning (P)2019 Patrick Canning

  • gilwilson 4:28 PM on September 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Stories” By Mark Twain 

    15766163“The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Stories”
    By Mark Twain
    Narrated by Norman Dietz
    Length: 4 hrs and 26 mins
    Release date: 03-27-00
    Publisher: Recorded Books

    Once again it was time to revisit a classic.  I found this collection of stories online and was in the mood for some folksy humor and jumped.

    Other than the main title here are the other stories included in this collection: “A True Story”, “Extracts from Adam’s Diary”, and “The Private History of a Campaign That Failed.”

    Once again it was nice to hear the story of this famous jumping frog that is basically a story about a man who loves to make bets and can’t stand to lose.   The folksy story-telling that only Twain could do is what makes this story fun and interesting.  It must be something because it started a whole tourist trade in Calaveras County, California.

    The next story, “A True Story,” was at times uncomfortable, because I’m a white person and having to hear the travesties of slavery is unnerving and the use of the n-word and other nick-names from the time period are just hard for me to hear.  In reading the words of the time I can see why they need to be there, if only to make today’s readers understand the time and culture.

    “Extracts from Adam’s Diary,” is a fun little memoir of Adam and Eve (you even get a bit from Eve’s diary).  Basically Eve is another creature that Adam has to put up with as the days in the garden go on.  Adam is happy just existing but Eve has to go on naming things and talking all the time.

    “The Private History of a Campaign That Failed,” is the story of a few folks that want to fight for the Confederacy but have no clue how.  This one is funny, but disturbing in that it is said to be somewhat autobiographical.  Picture Mark Twain and Joseph Heller putting a story together.  I say this is disturbing because Twain/Samuel Clemons fought for the confederacy, but after hearing the story I see he really didn’t want to.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Originally published in 1865, “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” began Mark Twain’s remarkable career, and immediately demonstrated his masterful storytelling and brilliant sense of humor. This delightful tale introduces Jim Smiley, a man who loved to gamble, whether on horse races, dogfights, catfights, or even how long it took bugs to cross the Mexican border. When a gullible stranger came to town, Smiley boasted that his pet frog, Dan’l Webster, could outjump any frog in the county. Smiley, figuring it would be easy money, eagerly made a bet with the stranger, who had a secret plan to stop Dan’l in his tracks. This wickedly funny collection also includes several of Twain’s other great short stories, including “A True Story”, “Extracts from Adam’s Diary”, and “The Private History of a Campaign That Failed.”

    Public Domain (P)1992 Recorded Books, Inc.

  • gilwilson 2:59 PM on July 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 

    17795759Jane Eyre
    by Charlotte Brontë
    Read by Wanda McCaddon
    Length: 17 hrs and 56 mins
    Published August 19th 2008 by Tantor Audio (first published 1847)

    First off, unlike Rachel in the TV series “Friends” I read the book.  Having read the book, or rather listened to, I know for sure there are no robots.  My question is, why did I read this?  I don’t know why, other than, it was there.  Maybe because it is a classic, and I’m trying to catch up on the classics before I am one myself.

    I can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed the book, which is not the book, the author’s or the narrator’s faults.  It’s just that it was not my particular choice in literature.  A woman coming of age and falling in love then being destitute then being rich then finding love again doesn’t cut it with me.  Maybe there should have been robots, then I would have had no problem listening.  But alas, Rachel was wrong and there are no robots.  So at times I had to fight the urge to stop and go to another book.  But I toughed it out and now can proudly say I read another classic.

    The summary of the story above is pretty much all there is to it.  For a romantic, I’m sure there’s a lot to the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester.  Maybe the heartbreak is huge when it is discovered Mr. Rochester is still married.  Or maybe going back further it would be interesting to see yet another orphan mistreated by adults.  Not for me.

    Publisher’s Summary
    This classic story shows how a young woman can overcome adversity and find true happiness. It is a story of passionate love, travail, and final triumph.
    Orphaned at an early age, Jane Eyre leads a lonely life until she finds work as a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she meets the mysterious Mr. Rochester and sees a ghostly woman who roams the halls by night.

    The relationship between the heroine and Mr. Rochester is only one episode, albeit the most important, in a detailed fictional autobiography in which the author transmuted her own experience into high art. In this work, the plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance but possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit, and great courage. She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer, and the rigid social order that circumscribes her life and position.

    Public Domain (P)2008 Tantor

  • gilwilson 2:25 PM on July 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “Indavo Omnibus Volume 1” by Nathan J Bonner 

    5104fznh4WL._SX365_BO1,204,203,200_“Indavo Omnibus Volume 1”
    by Nathan J Bonner
    450 pages
    Publisher: Remnant Press (September 20, 2014)

    Going into this you have to understand that it is an independently produced comic series. The lack of a real editor/proofreader is very evident. Once you get past that the storyline of Indavo, Rachael, robot Guaran T & and somewhat sentient spaceship Mack, saving the universe and the methods of execution of plot really make this a fun story. I am definitely going to be looking for Volume 2.

    The artwork really helps in pushing the story and creating the fun.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Space Exploration can be dangerous! Especially when you’re a freelancer! Indavo has set out into the Universe seeking adventure. Along the way, he has picked up two fellow travelers: Racheal and the robotic Gauron T. The Indavo Omnibus Volume 1 collects the first half of the Indavo series and contains the beginning adventures in space mayhem!

  • gilwilson 3:36 PM on July 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    “Gathering Prey” By John Sandford 

    23281842“Gathering Prey”
    By  John Sandford
    Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
    Series: Lucas Davenport, Book 25
    Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
    Release date: 04-28-15
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    John Sandford always delivers. Whether it is a Lucas Davenport or a Virgil Flowers novel, I am constantly on edge when reading or listening to one of these books.

    Gathering Prey follows Lucas as tracks down what seems to be a Manson-like serial killer travelling the country via Juggalo Gatherings or biker rallies. Pilate has his disciples and they are all just plain crazy killers. This time around Lucas is brought into the case via his daughter who befriends some young travelers who run up against Pilate and lose.

    Publisher’s Summary
    The extraordinary new Lucas Davenport thriller from number-one New York Times best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize winner John Sandford.

    They call them Travelers. They move from city to city, panhandling, committing no crimes – they just like to stay on the move. And now somebody is killing them.

    Lucas Davenport’s adopted daughter, Letty, is home from college when she gets a phone call from a woman Traveler she’d befriended in San Francisco. The woman thinks somebody’s killing her friends, she’s afraid she knows who it is, and now her male companion has gone missing. She’s hiding out in North Dakota, and she doesn’t know what to do.

    Letty tells Lucas she’s going to get her, and, though he suspects Letty’s getting played, he volunteers to go with her. When he hears the woman’s story, though, he begins to think there’s something in it. Little does he know. In the days to come, he will embark upon an odyssey through a subculture unlike any he has ever seen, a trip that will not only put the two of them in danger – but just may change the course of his life.

    ©2015 John Sandford (P)2015 Penguin Audio

  • gilwilson 3:24 PM on July 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    “Shadowed Souls” edited by Jim Butcher & Kerrie L. Hughes 

    28953620._SX318_“Shadowed Souls”
    edited by Jim Butcher & Kerrie L. Hughes
    Narrated by: Jim Butcher, Julia Whelan, Various
    Series: The Dresden Files, Book 14.5
    Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
    Release date: 11-01-16
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    I just love to read anthologies. Several Short stories with a related theme. It’s like getting a view of the world from different perspectives. I was raised on the Asimov’s Science Fiction anthology magazine and others like it. Then I discovered the same idea but in hardback books or even paperback, and these were usually collections of horror stories. It was how I discovered many of my favorite sci-fi and horror authors, including Jim Butcher.

    This time around Jim Butcher edits (and contributes a story to) this collection, “Shadowed Souls.” This collection contains another favorite of mine, anti-heroes. All the heroes in these stories have something dark about them but they work on the side of right, most of the time.

    The various authors and various narrators in this audiobook keep the excitement rolling. I couldn’t point out a bad story in the lot. My favorite stories are the the first one, “Cold Case” by Jim Butcher, in which we follow the new Winter Lady, Molly Carpenter as she rescues children from the colds of the north but then is forced to realize her reality as a “Shadowed Soul.”

    The last story in the collection was a great way to end the book. “Impossible Monsters,” by Rob Thurman tells of an anti-hero that seeks revenge that is long overdue and at the same time, requires the long time to boil over with revenge. (I’m going to have to look for more from Rob Thurman)

    Publisher’s Summary
    In this dark and gritty collection – featuring short stories from Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Kevin J. Anderson, and Rob Thurman – nothing is as simple as black and white, light and dark, good and evil….

    Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes it so easy to cross the line.

    In number-one New York Times best-selling author Jim Butcher’s “Cold Case”, Molly Carpenter – Harry Dresden’s apprentice-turned-Winter Lady – must collect a tribute from a remote Fae colony and discovers that even if you’re a good girl, sometimes you have to be bad.

    New York Times best-selling author Seanan McGuire’s “Sleepover” finds half-succubus Elsie Harrington kidnapped by a group of desperate teenage boys. Not for anything weird. They just need her to rescue a little girl from the boogeyman. No biggie.

    In New York Times best-selling Kevin J. Anderson’s “Eye of Newt”, Zombie PI Dan Shamble’s latest client is a panicky lizard missing an eye who thinks someone wants him dead. But the truth is that someone only wants him for a very special dinner….

    And New York Times best-selling author Rob Thurman’s infernally heroic Caliban Leandros takes a trip down memory lane as he deals with some overdue – and nightmarish – vengeance involving some quite nasty “Impossible Monsters”.

    Also includes stories by Tanya Huff, Kat Richardson, Jim C. Hines, Anton Strout, Lucy A. Snyder, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Erik Scott de Bie.

    Full cast of narrators includes Jon Lindstrom, Sumalee Montano, Mozhan Marno, Karissa Vacker, and Macleod Andrews.

    ©2016 Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes (P)2016 Penguin Audio

  • gilwilson 3:10 PM on July 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    “Arcadis: Prophecy” by George Kramer 

    25651374._SY475_Arcadis: Prophecy
    by George Kramer
    Kindle Edition, 190 pages
    Published November 25th 2014

    Very interesting book. Nice introduction into the magical world created by George Kramer the war among the colors of magic. The nice thing about this book is that it sets the main character in the heart of Indiana. Much like the way Jim Butcher sets his Dresden books in Chicago, this gives the reader more of a it could be happening here feeling and make the story feel more real.

    On to the rest in the series and see how Arcadis holds up in the upcoming war between the Primaries and Secondaries.

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