Monday, February 23, 2015

Eragon: Inheritance Cycle

Okay, so if you were to tell me to check out the writing of a 19-year-old homeschool kid from Montana who dresses up like he's going to the Renaissance fair to promote his really neat book about magic,  I would probably discredit everything that proceeds from your gob until you buy be a really nice breakfast. Today I am, you telling me that, and I won't be buying you that delicious Country-fried steak breakfast with eggs over easy, hash browns, wheat toast and coffee; black, because this four part audiobook series was really good. Remembering that the books were written by the aforementioned dorky 19-year-old, I believe this series could be put at the top of most lists not too far under Tolkien or Rowling. It isn't off the wall amazing like those two authors, I also wonder if the Eragon series has the same re-play-ability as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. What I'm postulating is that I enjoyed listening to it more than any other audiobook I've listened to with the exception of LOTR or HP.

Now that I've rambled a bunch, and got you salivating, let's talk about the Quadrilogy or Tetralogy if you must. Like every good series, a young boy is given a quest and all along the way he picks up sweet, new abilities that make him super powerful to defeat the super bad guy. In this case there is a lot of magic and a few pet best friend dragons. There are elves, dwarves, humans, and some beings that were new to me like: Urgals, Shades, Raz'ac, Nidwal, Lethrblaka, and Werecars.

I'm going to suggest this series to you. Don't expect a lot, and you will be very pleasantly surprised, expect a lot and it might not live up to expectations. This was a great audiobook to listen to at work. It took me about a week of work days and I was sucked in the entire time. It has a lot going on but isn't so deep that you could get lost if you miss a few parts.

 5/5 Stars 

Runtime: Approx. 100 hours.

Genre: Young-Adult, Fiction, High Fantasy, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure

Book to Movie Grade: C

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ender's Game

By Orson Scott Card

Andrew "Ender" Wiggins is the middle of three children in a time where the earth is at war with an alien-bug-like race. Started in 1977, completed in 1985, and adapted into a motion picture in 2014. Ender's Game is pure brilliance. Fitting in with many of the popular themes of today, it's the distant future, and it's up to children to save the human race. Ender is the only child to be chosen of his siblings because of his brother's hot head and his sisters overly good heart. Ender is a happy medium which turns out to be perfect for the military, who take him to space to train to defeat the "Buggers" In this audiobook you follow Ender's training and several mishaps up until you see several unexpected turnings and endings. All the while back on earth, his siblings team up to start a war of their own!

I recommend this audiobook very highly. I enjoyed every chapter and the interview with the author at the end was really interesting. I did not know much about this story until I saw the movie which I also liked a lot, the book and movie translation are as accurate as you can expect from Hollywood! There are books that come after Ender's Game, but I'm not sure I will get to them. Ender's Game was pretty great as is. If or when I do, I will update this review. I am told that much like the Hannibal Lector series, you can listen to these audiobooks in just about any order that you want.

Series Listing:
Ender's Game
Speaker for the Dead
Children of the Mind
Ender's Shadow
Shadow of the Hegemon
Shadow Puppets
Shadow of the Giant

Ages 12 & Up

 4/5 Stars 

Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction

Book to Movie Grade: A-

Monday, February 9, 2015

Paddle Your Own Canoe

By: Nick Offerman

Paddle your own canoe is a collection of stories, thoughts, and advices from Nick Offerman, the actor who plays Ron Swanson on the wonderfully endearing Parks and Rec. It is not, however written by Ron. This will come as a disappointment to many, as Nick is not nearly as awesome.

It was an interesting audiobook for the most part. It gets a really toward the end when he talks more about Parks and Rec, his woodworking, and less rambling on his twisted views of religion and how he likes drugs a lot. He starts from the beginning of his life, Nick's life, not Ron's mind you. His upbringing, his athletic high school years, his artsy and colorful college experience, years in theater class, years of building sets, then tells how he finally broke into the entertainment industry and how Ron Swanson was born. 

I would recommend this book for anyone who is a big fan of Parks and Rec because you learn some of the behind the scene stuff which I found really interesting. He has some really good views on some things and has some others that are not so well thought out. My advice is to abridge this book for yourself. When ever he starts in about religion, simply hit "next chapter" Nick has some great points on how we should just be decent to each other, how we need to get away from time wasting electronics, and take up a worth while hobby. He also adds in a touch touch of some personally written poems and songs that make for a more enjoyable listen.

Runtime: Apx 10.5 hours

Ages 16 & up

 3/5 Stars

Genre: Non-fiction, humor, audio biography, autobiography

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Total Money Makeover

By: Dave Ramsey

Yes I have strayed out of fantasy and fiction territory this week, promise to be back next week, but don't discount this week because it gets a 5-Star Audiobook Rating!...

If you are going to be listening to audiobooks quite a bit at work, in the car, or whatever else, you may as well throw in an educational piece once in awhile to change things up. I have listened to The Total Money Makeover many times and have listened to Dave Ramsey’s various other books and it has helped me immensely with my own personal finances. Infact, TTMM has completely changed my life!  

TTMM is basically an extremely power packed version of all the financial advice your grandma would give you. It’s a life time of learning all in one audiobook. This book teaches you a lot of simple principals that most people don’t realize or think about until its too late. If you are looking for a get rich scheme, then look some where else. This is a Get-Rich-Slow-and-Stay-Rich-Slow scheme. Dave takes you through all the various aspects of finances throughout your lifetime. He has a plan for you to get on in "baby-steps". If you are like the majority of Americans you have some or a mountain of student or consumer debt. This book is definitely for you if you are tired of the annoying debt collection phone calls or if you are really pissed off about giving most of your bi-weekly paycheck to SallieMae. 

If/once you have no debt he gives you more baby steps on how to invest wisely and informs you on the best methods for the various levels of financial well-being. Some forms of insurance, investing, retirement plans are good, but he will instruct you on the most proven ones, the ones you can count on. Dave is all about "Murphy(’s law) proofing" your life. Getting you set up so if you get set back, you are ready for Murphy with no worries. Getting on a written monthly budget may sound boring, but it's amazing how much more money you have when you do. Are you like I used to be and you have no idea where your money goes every month? The average family says $8000 in the first three months after implementing his methods.

I recommend this book as highly as any. If you are sick and tired of  being sick and tired, this book is for you. Are you interesting in upping your game? Give this book a listen. Are you a semi intelligent person willing to admit that you don’t know everything about everything? Listen to Dave Ramsey, who has been bankrupt several times after becoming a millionaire in his twenties. He is now a big time millionaire and does all he can to help people avoid all the common mistakes. You can learn to live debt free, and build for a bright future.

Runtime: 3 hours 41 minutes

Ages 12 & up

 5/5 Stars 

Genre: Non-fiction, Finance