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Jim N

Chicago, IL | Member Since 2008

145
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 31 reviews
  • 284 ratings
  • 535 titles in library
  • 40 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
17

  • Pines

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Blake Crouch
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2599)
    Performance
    (2351)
    Story
    (2357)

    Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America — or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into his colleagues’ disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what’s the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town? Are they keeping the residents in? Or something else out? Each step toward the truth takes Ethan further from the world he knows, until he must face the horrifying possibility that he may never leave Wayward Pines alive…

    Linda B says: "Well done story"
    "A Riveting Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Pines?

    I loved the way the story developed, always hinting at it's central mystery while keeping the listener guessing, wondering, what was really going on.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ethan. The entire story revolves around his experience.


    What does Paul Michael Garcia bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His reading added a level of emotion, tension and drama that I don't think I would have experienced if I had just read the book.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this, especially for fans of TV shows like The Twilight Zone or Persons Unknown.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Seed

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Ania Ahlborn
    • Narrated By Eric G. Dove
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (114)

    With nothing but the clothes on his back - and something horrific snapping at his heels - Jack Winter fled his rural Georgia home when he was just a boy. Watching the world he knew vanish in a trucker’s rearview mirror, he thought he was leaving an unspeakable nightmare behind forever. Now, years later, the bright new future he’s built suddenly turns pitch black, as something fiendishly familiar looms dead ahead. Surviving a violent car crash seems like a miracle for Jack’s family, but Jack knows there’s nothing divine about it.

    Elle in the Great NorthWest says: "Starts out slow-ends with a BANG"
    "One Long Horror Cliché"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Narrator Eric Dove does what he can with this short novel but even with his excellent reading, and at a mere 6 hours, I found it tedious. The premise plays out as predictably as a bad B-movie, with few surprises and many familiar tropes. The writing is fine, the reading is excellent but the story itself left a lot to be desired, at least for me. Seed was a disappointment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Song of Kali

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (47)

    Blood will curdle in Calcutta. In the most crime-ridden city, nightmares become real and evil is defined by frightening occurrences. When an American family finds themselves encircled by the terrors of this land, lurid events befall them and life takes on a new meaning - death. Winner of the World Fantasy Award, Song of Kali will chill the blood and frighten even the most jaded of horror fans.

    Matthew says: "Truly immersive horror!"
    "Excellent, atmospheric horror"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Simmons practically makes his setting into a major character in this subtle, unsettling novel set in Calcutta, India. Song of Kali is mysterious and though-provoking and like some of the best horror, a bit ambiguous. Simmons doesn't spell everything out for the reader and that works to the novel's benefit. This book is definitely worth a credit and the reading by Mark Boyett is superb.

    1 of 1 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
    (345)
    Performance
    (312)
    Story
    (311)

    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
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    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
    (18706)
    Performance
    (16653)
    Story
    (16615)

    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
    (449)
    Performance
    (411)
    Story
    (411)

    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
    (567)
    Performance
    (508)
    Story
    (505)

    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
    (180)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (163)

    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
    (322)
    Performance
    (297)
    Story
    (297)

    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
    (562)
    Performance
    (392)
    Story
    (401)

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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