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Jim N

Chicago, IL | Member Since 2008

138
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 29 reviews
  • 252 ratings
  • 528 titles in library
  • 34 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
17

  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10973)
    Performance
    (9956)
    Story
    (9977)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "Fresh and Enetertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased this novel on a whim, primarily on the strength of it's description. It turned out to be a great investment and a pleasant surprise! It's best experienced without much knowledge of the plot as most of the fun comes from the characters (who make numerous pop culture references and even compare themselves to Scooby Doo and his pals) unraveling the mysteries of the building where they live. Cline has a to-the-point writing style, a good sense of humor and he keeps this story rolling along.

    14 isn't a deep novel or a book that will blow the reader away with tremendous, in-depth characterization. It's good, fun genre fiction with a memorable cast of characters and some genuinely surprising twists and turns. I highly recommend it.

    65 of 77 people found this review helpful
  • The Alienist

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Caleb Carr
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (287)
    Performance
    (257)
    Story
    (256)

    The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan's infamous brothels.

    lyl says: "Outstanding on several levels."
    "An Enjoyable Procedural"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My expectations may have been too high going into this novel. It's an entertaining book but I found it overly long, bordering on tedious at times, especially because in essence, it's a pulp novel filled with larger-than-life characters. The Alienist takes a bit too much too much time to get where it's going.That said, the historical setting is interesting and Carr practically makes turn-of-the-century New York into an additional character.

    George Guidall's reading is superb, one of the best I've ever heard for an audiobook. He brings the characters to life, raises the tension in scenes where it's appropriate and overall, just does a fantastic job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Shadow Out of Time

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By H. P. Lovecraft
    • Narrated By Mike Vendetti
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Another H. P. Lovecraft masterpiece. We have all heard of alien abductions, but what if the alien forces only exchange the mind of the abductee with a mind to occupy that of the abductee's body while the mind travels in the body of an alien to be mined for information concerning the abductee's world? The mind then travels to a place in the earth where it mingles with not only with the aliens, but minds from other planets and other ages on this Earth.

    Phillip says: "Awe inspiring science fiction"
    "Classic story with a sometimes shabby reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've always considered The Shadow Out of Time one of Lovecraft's better tales. It's as much a science fiction story as a horror story, although the mind-bending experiences of it's protagonist would be enough to push anyone's mind to the brink of madness.

    This story probably isn't the best starting point for a Lovecraft reader (try The Dunwich Horror, The Shadow Over Innsmouth or The Call of Cthulhu if you're just getting to know HPL) but it's one of his most carefully constructed tales and it gradually builds to a ripping climax.

    Mike Vendetti's reading of the story doesn't ruin it by any means but it ranges from good to lifeless to distracting. At times, he does a fine job but he repeatedly struggles to pronounce words correctly. Some of them are Lovecraftian creations but he has as many problems with good ol' English as he does with words like "Necronomicon" (how can anyone be allowed to read Lovecraft for an audiobook if he can't pronounce the name of that infamous tome correctly?).

    Anyway, I don't mean to be too hard on the man but this isn't the sort of reading that truly enriches that material like, say, the readings of Wayne June, which I highly recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (17873)
    Performance
    (15891)
    Story
    (15848)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "One of King's Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read and listened to quite a few Stephen King novels at this point, including fan favorites like The Stand and It and I'd rank this as one of his best. Like many of King's books, it's long but in 11-22-63, he uses that time to really develop his characters, to give them rich, emotional lives, and it serves this fascinating time travel tale well. It's more than just a time travel tale, of course. It's also a love story, a thriller and even a bit of a "chiller" in places, though this really isn't a horror novel.

    The pacing is good and King hooks the reader/listener from the start. His fondness for the past is evident and there are times when the book feels a bit like a paean to simpler times. However, the author is sharp enough not to simply romanticize the past and he also reminds us that the period had a darker side. After all, this is a book that concerns itself with the assassination of a U.S. President.

    It's a great, compelling listen, well worth the credit, and the narration by Craig Wasson is as good as it gets. He does a superb job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Winter People: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jennifer McMahon
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (361)
    Performance
    (327)
    Story
    (328)

    West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, 19-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary....

    D. says: "Get past the narration of the first chapter"
    "A Haunting Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Jennifer McMahon and/or Cassandra Campbell and Kathe Mazur ?

    I'd consider it but it would depend on the theme of the book.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting aspect of the story was it's central mystery: what really happened to Sara's daughter Gertie? Was Sara really able to accomplish what her notes and the legends surrounding her implied?


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The book was read by two readers and I'm not sure which reader read which sections. The novel splits it's narrative between the past and present. The reader who handles the contemporary sections of the book does a fine job but the reader who handles the past sections, featuring Sara, has a tendency to seriously overact at times, trying to squeeze so much emotion and pathos out of her voice that it became an annoying distraction.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    I doubt it.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a book worth reading if you like gothic tales and ghost stories. As I implied above, the audio performance detracted from parts of it for me so I might have enjoyed it a little more if I had simply read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Weight of Blood: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Laura McHugh
    • Narrated By Dorothy Dillingham Blue, Shannon McManus, Sofia Willingham
    Overall
    (486)
    Performance
    (438)
    Story
    (435)

    The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane's mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see.

    John S says: "Not too bad but you have to pay attention."
    "A Powerful Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This well-narrated novel about a girl not only coming of age but coming to grips with the mystery of her lost mother's disappearance and the more recent death of a friend is alive with the local color of the Ozarks. The reader not only feels the weight of family ties alluded to in the novel's title but also the intimate connections the people who dwell in a small, rural community. Laura McHugh's debut is an excellent read and I won't be surprised if it's up for an Audie award at the end of the year. I'm glad I took a chance on this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Elsewhere

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Robert Jackson Bennett
    • Narrated By Graham Winton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (169)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (153)

    Some places are too good to be true. Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map. In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things. After a couple years of hard traveling, ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother's home in Wink, New Mexico. And the closer Mona gets to her mother's past, the more she understands that the people of Wink are very, very different....

    Lisa says: "You are entering the twighlight zone"
    "A Lengthy Disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    WARNING: Contains a few SPOILERS.

    There might be a very good 250-300 page novel somewhere in American Elsewhere but author Robert Jackson Bennett buries it in a book that's over twice that length. At 22 hours, this audiobook ended up being a slog for me. Jackson s-l-o-w-l-y introduces readers to the unusual town of Wink, then tediously reveals the truth behind it's mysteries, truths that any seasoned reader of weird fiction will grasp long before the book comes close to revealing them. When they were finally revealed, I found it hard not to smirk a bit at the combination of Lovecraftian extra-dimenional beings and mommy issues. The whole thing plays out pretty predictably, all things considered, and similar concepts have been handled more efficiently and effectively. There ARE some good moments in American Elsewhere. There was a section in the middle of the book where things really picked up, became original and interesting and got me enthused about listening further. Unfortunately, in the end, I didn't feel that enthusiasm was rewarded.

    I give reader Graham Winton an A for effort. His quality performance actually helped me finish the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Annihilation: Southern Reach Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Jeff VanderMeer
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (214)
    Story
    (215)

    Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

    Charles says: "I Feel Like I'm Coming Down From Peyote"
    "A Strange, Surreal Delight"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Annihilation is the first volume in a planned trilogy but the novel easily stands on it's own. It reminded me of the work of J.G. Ballard in that it's at least as concerned with the psychological state of it's primary character as it is with the strange, mysterious area she and her companions are exploring. There's a dose of Machen and Lovecraft in the book too, which isn't surprising since Jeff Vandermeer is a champion of weird fiction. However, in the end, the novel is unique and original, a beautifully written, sometimes harrowing, exploration of humanity's encounter with something new. There are passages that border on the hallicinogenic and Vandermeer wisely leaves some questions unanswered. Perhaps they will be answered in subsequent books but honestly, I hope not. Some things are best left to the imagination.

    I highly recommend Annihilation. I found Carolyn McCormick's reading of the book a little monochromatic but it's certainly not bad and there are moments where the placid tone she uses really works in the novel's favor.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • A Fire Upon the Deep

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Vernor Vinge
    • Narrated By Peter Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (525)
    Performance
    (363)
    Story
    (371)

    A Fire Upon the Deep is the big, breakout book that fulfills the promise of Vinge's career to date: a gripping tale of galactic war told on a cosmic scale. Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can function.

    Noah says: "What a wild, wacky, awesome book!"
    "A Critically Acclaimed Disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel won the Hugo award and was nominated for the Nebula award as well so I went into it with relatively high expectations. Unfortunately, it turned out to be somewhat of a bore. A Fire Upon the Deep contains some original and fascinating ideas but the characterization is stiff and the novel really drags in the middle. Vinge seems more interested in exploring the medieval world on which he's stranded some of his characters than the complex and interesting galactic structure he's created, populated with numerous intelligent races and super intelligences so powerful they are impossible for lesser being like humans to comprehend.

    Peter Larkin's reading contributed to my disappointment with the book as well. He used cartoony voices for a number of the alien characters that made it increasingly difficult to take the book seriously.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Echo: Harry Bosch Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    Overall
    (4943)
    Performance
    (2923)
    Story
    (2921)

    For LAPD homicide cop Harry Bosch - hero, maverick, nighthawk - the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland Dam is more than another anonymous statistic. This one is personal. The dead man, Billy Meadows, was a fellow Vietnam "tunnel rat" who fought side by side with him in a nightmare underground war that brought them to the depths of hell.

    Daniel Mcafee says: "What a Terrific Book"
    "A Mystery That Failed to Intrigue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dick Hill's expert reading of this dud wasn't enough to save it and after nearly 8 hours of dull listening, I finally bailed. Perhaps there's an unexpected twist and a great payoff at the end of this mystery but the ride was so dull and predictable, even with a great reading, that I lost interest in reaching the destination. This novel is riddled with clichés, the main character isn't particularly likable OR interesting and the pacing didn't work for me. By the middle of the book I was just too bored to care what happened next.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Map of the Sky: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Felix J. Palma
    • Narrated By James Langton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (87)

    A love story serves as backdrop for The Map of the Sky when New York socialite Emma Harlow agrees to marry millionaire Montgomery Gilmore, but only if he accepts her audacious challenge: to reproduce the extraterrestrial invasion featured in Wells's War of the Worlds. What follows are three brilliantly interconnected plots to create a breathtaking tale of time travel and mystery, replete with cameos by a young Edgar Allan Poe, and Captain Shackleton and Charles Winslow from The Map of Time.

    Jim N says: "What a Disappointment!"
    "What a Disappointment!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Felix J. Palma's first novel, The Map of Time, was a clever, charming story full of surprises, well-written characters and a wonderful mix of history and fiction. It used H.G. Wells classic novel, The Time Machine as a launching point and Wells himself as a character.

    Wells is back in this sequel, which draws upon another of his most famous novels, The War of the Worlds, for inspiration. Unfortunately, while the first book was clever and inspired, this novel was more like a bad Hollywood sequel. It tries too hard to replicate the experience of the first book and consequently feels forced and labored from start to finish. It was a 22+ hour slog. In his effort to deliver the kind of unexpected surprises he gave readers in The Map of Time, the author pushes too far, repeatedly forcing the issue. The surprises feel labored and at one point, he thoroughly betrays the reader's trust in way he probably thought was clever and playful but was, in reality, so disappointing that I almost bailed on the book immediately after finishing that chapter. In the end, maybe that would have been a good idea.

    Palma is a talented writer and I'm hoping he'll put that talent to better use on his next book and leave the themes and characters of his first two behind.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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