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A. A. Baldwin

Fort Smith, AR USA | Member Since 2012

1
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 127 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2015
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  • The Hunt for Red October

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By J. Charles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2075)
    Performance
    (1646)
    Story
    (1649)

    A deadly serious game of hide-and-seek is on. The CIA's brilliant young analyst, Jack Ryan, thinks he knows the reason for the sudden Red Fleet operation: the Soviets' most valuable ship, the Red October, is attempting to defect to the United States.

    Christian says: "Audio quality quite poor"
    "Excellent story; Annoying narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I admit, we love Tom Clancy. Despite little inaccuracies in his books (particularly the early ones) with some gun and military terms (for example, he says clip when he means magazine and he frequently says automatic when he means semi-automatic), everything else (plot, characters, etc.) is riveting, every time.

    For context, we have read most of Clancy's John Clark/Jack Ryan books and are now working through them on audible.com during long travels. I believe this is our fifth Tom Clancy unabridged version book purchased on Audible. If you are a Clancy fan, we needn't sell you on the content of the text, no doubt.

    However, if you ARE a Clancy fan and you are going to be a heavy user of audiobooks, you might want to think through carefully which audio versions you prefer because narrators range widely. Some books are available from more than one narrator. Of course, many of Tom Clancy's audiobooks books come in an abridged and an unabridged version. We prefer the latter as we want to enjoy the story and the subplots as intended by the writer (and we don't mind very lengthy audiobooks).

    Since we also have some of Clancy's books on CD and such, we have listened to quite a few different narrators. We realize every narrator has his quirks, of course. Michael Prichard, for example, who is an excellent narrator 99.9% of the time, does the weirdest husky female voices in Rainbow Six. Ew, but at least it's only the one character and, fortunately, that is only a tiny piece of the plot. He is otherwise a top notch narrator. Lou Diamond Phillips, who has narrated three of Clancy's more recent books we have listened to so far, also does a fantastic job, as well. Scott Brick is another good narrator of Clancy books.

    J. Charles, however, who narrates this audiobook [The Hunt For Red October], has some quirks of speech that are so pervasive as to be annoying and that harshly interrupt the listening flow of the book. The most obvious is any word ending in -own. Own, blown, unknown, known, shown, etc. He makes these into two syllable words (or three in the case of unknown) such that the word Own becomes Owen. This is very odd and annoying, so much so that every time a word ending in -own pops up (very frequently!) we are cringing. This oddness is even carried through to his Russian accented characters using those sorts of words. Furthermore, his Russian accents occasionally sound more like Romanian or Serbia accents and seem almost vampirish at times. J. Charles also has a very funny way of pronouncing Annapolis (of course, this word appears frequently in the book which is very Navy centric) and Tarawa (which is a class of Navy ship) and a few other words that don't come to mind at present.

    So, while we give the book itself five stars, we give the narration (performance) only one star. Narration that is frequently annoying is not good narration. We'll avoid J. Charles in the future if other narrators are available for the same book (such as with Clear and Present Danger).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Riddle-Master of Hed: Riddle-Master Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Patricia A. McKillip
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (244)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (194)

    Long ago, the wizards had vanished from the world, and all knowledge was left hidden in riddles. Morgon, prince of the simple farmers of Hed, proved himself a master of such riddles when he staked his life to win a crown from the dead Lord of Aum.But now ancient, evil forces were threatening him. Shape changers began replacing friends until no man could be trusted. So Morgon was forced to flee to hostile kingdoms, seeking the High One who ruled from mysterious Erlenstar Mountain.Beside him went Deth, the High One's Harper. Ahead lay strange encounters and terrifying adventures.

    Yoshi Yoshitani says: "A Favorite Series"
    "Fantastic Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Oh my. Much to think on. Much to consider. There are wizards, sort of. And harpists. And shape shifters. And, all manner of odd beings. It's a bit confusing at first, but parts of the story are also ordinary, such as farmers taking their goods to trade and so forth. So many things or persons are not what they seem! Exciting!

    This is my first experience with this author and it was quite enjoyable. The story is creative and compelling and the protagonist is interesting and also developing as he encounters new and sometimes completely puzzling events.

    Bravo!

    I listened to this book on audible and will probably read it again on my Kindle eventually to be sure I have understood the major parts before moving on in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Sharyn McCrumb
    • Narrated By Sally Darling
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Written in grease pencil on a tourist postcard, the lyrics are winsome and innocent. But for famous folk singer Peggy Muryan, who has moved recently to the rural community of Hamelin, Tennessee, they are a chilling reminder of a troubled moment in her past.

    A. A. Baldwin says: "A solid start to the series"
    "A solid start to the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A little mystery with interesting characters that might be found in any small southern town. Interesting characters, a tie to events 20 years old, a class reunion, and small town crimes. A good read.

    The female characters could be better created, but the main male characters are interesting. The narrative is set in the mid 1980s but refers to events of the mid 1960s and the Vietnam War.

    I listened to it on audible. The narrator was pretty good. This is the first in a popular series that has at least ten books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Americanah

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • Narrated By Adjoa Andoh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1183)
    Performance
    (1060)
    Story
    (1060)

    Anna-Bo-Banana says: "Dazzling, Romantic, and Witty"
    "A colorful and tempestuous story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A colorful and tempestuous story about race, culture, immigration, family ties, finding oneself, and love, not necessarily in that order. The author paints with a kaleidoscope of words the feelings, thoughts, and actions of two young Nigerians and their families and friends, over many years. At once breathtaking, funny, extraordinary, and ordinary, it draws the reader/listener into a whole world, a whole culture, and then pulls through to the clash of cultures, and more. A splendid book full of pulsing emotions and words of wisdom.

    I listened to the audiobook on Audible (Recorded Books company). The narrator is lovely and talented, using a variety of accents and voices to convey the characters across three different countries and continents.

    If you haven't read this book, or listened to this audiobook, start now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Interpreter of Maladies

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Narrated By Matilda Novak
    Overall
    (518)
    Performance
    (294)
    Story
    (301)

    With accomplished precision and gentle eloquence, Jhumpa Lahiri traces the crosscurrents set in motion when immigrants, expatriates, and their children arrive, quite literally, at a cultural divide. The nine stories in this stunning debut collection unerringly chart the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations.

    Jennifer says: "Novel-amazing; Audio-mediocre"
    "Splendid!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Splendid. Superb. Subtle. Serious. Silly. Sonorous. Significant. Sublime. Sensual. Sensible.

    Without a doubt the most enjoyable collection of short stories I've read in ages. The beautiful writing describes places and persons I've yet to see, but still feel I know their thoughts intimately now. The glimpses of Indian and Indian-American culture are priceless and thought-provoking.

    I listened to this book on Audible. My only complaint is the 'chapters' of the audiobook do not correspond in any way to the short stories. Each ends in the middle of a chapter and the next begins. Nonsensical, that.

    The narrator is wonderful, though, and I have not a single critical word to add. This book is simply awesome.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • At Risk

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Stella Rimington
    • Narrated By Jennifer McMahon
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (9)

    At a meeting of the British Intelligence Joint Counter-Terrorist Group an announcement is made that "the opposition may be about to deploy an invisible". An "invisible" is the ultimate intelligence nightmare: a terrorist who, because he or she is an ethnic native of the target country, can cross its borders unchecked, move around that country unquestioned, and infiltrate its institutions with ease.

    A. A. Baldwin says: "Plots within plots, exciting and suspenseful"
    "Plots within plots, exciting and suspenseful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was fantastic! The ending a bit unexpected and the plots within plots that unfolded were exceedingly tangled and interesting. Learning the names and functions of the various British government agencies and roles takes some attention to detail for the uninitiated but is well worth the effort.

    The author is a former Director General in the British Security Service (MI5) who writes novels relating to that setting with particular attention to counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism.

    This book is the first in a series that follows the career of Liz Carlyle, a fictional (of course) employee of MI5. The book is exciting, interesting, adventurous, funny, a bit scary, detailed, and suspenseful, with an interesting mixture of subtle and not so subtle characters. The narrator, Jennifer McMahon, reads beautifully, using a convincing range of accents.

    If you like thrillers, suspense, or crime novels, or any of that sort of thing, read this book. Or, get the audiobook from audible.com. It has an excellent narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rainbow Six

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1750)
    Performance
    (1423)
    Story
    (1440)

    Ex-Navy SEAL John Clark is the newly named head of Rainbow, an international task force dedicated to combating terrorism. In a trial by fire, he must stop a terrorist group of men and women so extreme that their success could literally mean the end of life on earth as we know it.

    Nathan says: "Rainbow Six review"
    "Excellent story; good narration (but not the best)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Once again, we are absorbed into the world of John Clark. This is an excellent book by Tom Clancy, a writer we enjoy very much. The interwoven plots and sub-plots and the development of characters old and new are to the usual high Clancy standard.

    The narration is good but does has one annoying quirk and that is the husky very artificial female voice used for one character. That one is cringe worthy. Male narrators needn't attempt to sound exactly like females when reading female dialogue. Ew. Fortunately, that character is not a major one so the cognitive dissonance doesn't last too long.

    Otherwise, Michael Prichard (whose narration we have heard on other books) is an excellent narrator. His accents do not annoy (a major bonus) and his mixture of character voices (other than the horrible woman) are good.

    We still prefer Lou Diamond Phillips or Scott Brick for unabridged Clancy novels, but Mr. Prichard is probably a reasonable third on the list of narrators we've heard so far reading Clancy novels.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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