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Robert

Champaign, IL, United States | Member Since 2001

34
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 18 reviews
  • 156 ratings
  • 443 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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  • Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (218)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (81)

    When Henry receives a letter from an elderly taxidermist, it poses a puzzle that he cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the world of this strange and calculating man, Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey named Beatrice and Virgil and the epic journey they undertake together.

    S. Connors says: "Excellent writing and reading, but..."
    "Make an informed decision to read this"
    Overall

    Not a beach read, but if you need to be reminded of the horrors (word used intentionally as those who have read will recognize) of the holocaust in a novel (my pun) way, then this might be for you.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Michael Chabon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (697)
    Performance
    (611)
    Story
    (620)

    It's 1939, in New York City. Joe Kavalier, a young artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdiniesque escape, has just pulled off his greatest feat: smuggling himself out of Hitler's Prague. He's looking to make big money, fast, so that he can bring his family to freedom. His cousin, Brooklyn's own Sammy Clay, is looking for a partner in creating the heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit the American dreamscape: the comic book. Inspired by their own fantasies, fears, and dreams, they create the Escapist.

    Darwin8u says: "A World I DON'T Ever Want to Escape From."
    "Why ruin a good story with sex?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Michael Chabon and/or David Colacci?

    No, never if written by Michael Chabon.


    Has The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    What does David Colacci bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Well read


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Too much detail about the sex life of Kavalier (hetero) and Clay (homo) ruined for me what otherwise had the potential to be a great story.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3525)
    Performance
    (3084)
    Story
    (3118)

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "Paid by the word"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, while the basic plot mixing the world of gaming and international terrorism has great potential, the story is overly long due to the level of detail provided that often doesn't enhance the story.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Neal Stephenson? Why or why not?

    Maybe, based on other works.


    What does Malcolm Hillgartner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    This is one that could be read or listened to equally.


    Could you see Reamde being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Unless you are looking to kill a lot of time, listen to something more compactly written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Mark Logue, Peter Conradi
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (598)
    Performance
    (398)
    Story
    (401)

    At the urging of his wife, Elizabeth, the Duke of York (known to the royal family as "Bertie") began to see speech therapist Lionel Logue in a desperate bid to cure his lifelong stammer. Little did the two men know that this unlikely friendship - between a future monarch and a commoner born in Australia - would ultimately save the House of Windsor from collapse.

    Howard says: "As enjoyable as the film, and then some."
    "Dry as the dessert"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn???t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Loved the movie, could hardly finish the audiobook as not engaging at all.


    Has The King's Speech turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The King's Speech?

    Main issue the style.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All Clear

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1534)
    Performance
    (994)
    Story
    (1015)

    Three time-traveling historians are visiting World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler's bombers attempt to pummel London into submission.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Rescued by the second half"
    "Short story stretched to breaking point"
    Overall

    I have long been a fan of Connie Willis and so looked forward to "Blackout". The basic plot of time traveling historians trapped in London in WW II during the Blitz had great potential. However it was a major disappointment as the plot progressed at a snail's pace. I didn't realize it was the first of two books so decided the second book, "All Clear", would make up for the agony of reading the first- it didn't (I can't count how many times that was said in these books). I should have been tipped off when in the introduction to the audiobook for "All Clear" the author stated that she loved doing the research more than the writing. I suspect that after all her time researching, to maximize revenue she had to make this a two volume story when the plot would better support a short story! Willis fans, skip these two and hope she does better next time.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dancing at the Rascal Fair

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Ivan Doig
    • Narrated By Robert Ian MacKenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (545)
    Performance
    (232)
    Story
    (232)

    Dancing at the Rascal Fair by National Book Award nominee Ivan Doig captures the passion and tenacity of turn-of-the-century immigrants struggling to build new lives amidst Montana’s windswept Rockies. The tale unfolds into a contest of the heart between Anna Ramsay and Angus McCaskill—kept apart by obligations—as they and their stormy kin vie to tame the brutal land.

    Dana C. Nicolay says: "New Favorite"
    "Slow paced but worth it"
    Overall

    This slow paced tale of the life two Scottish immigrants homesteading in the Montana mountains from 1890 to 1919 is beautifully written and elegantly read and worth listening to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Night over Water

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By Tom Casaletto
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (587)
    Performance
    (308)
    Story
    (303)

    On a bright September morning in 1939, two days after Britain declares war on Germany, a group of privileged but desperate people gather in Southhampton to board the largest, most luxurious airliner ever built - the Pan American Clipper - bound for New York.

    Daniel Mcafee says: "Fun Listen"
    "Surprised by this trash"
    Overall

    I think Follett's "Pillars of the Earth" is a masterpiece and the follow-up novel "World Without End" a worthy read. So when I was browsing for something light, I picked "Night over Water." The basic plot revolves around the Pan American Clipper that flew from London to New York and is set at the outbreak of WW II. I thought it had great potential and was very disappointed when it kept constantly degenerating into long descriptions of character X sexually stimulating character Y. These were not integral to the plot and I finally just quit listening. I'm done with Follett for good!

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Peter Hessler
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (287)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (131)

    In the summer of 2001, Peter Hessler, the longtime Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, acquired his Chinese driver's license. For the next seven years, he traveled the country, tracking how the automobile and improved roads were transforming China.

    BARRY says: "Excellent book and narration"
    "Third time's not the charm"
    Overall

    As someone who has spent two months a year in China for the last three years, I found Peter Hessler's first book "River Town" great as it brought the perspective of someone new to China (Peace Corps volunteer) as well as the perspective of the Chinese in Fuling (Sichuan province) who had not had an American resident in 50 years. His second book "Oracle Bomes" didn't enage me as much as the first but was worth reading, especially as it brought us up to date on some of his students from the first book. Now in his third book called "Country Driving" I got the sense that he said, "Well, what can I write about now?" and so rambled along the great walls, settled in a village and then watched a new factory town spring up. I wish I had stopped at "Oracle Bones" and can not recommend this last book.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Terminal Freeze

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (814)
    Performance
    (260)
    Story
    (264)

    In this riveting new thriller, Lincoln Child weaves together a stunning Arctic landscape, a terrifying mythic creature, and a pervasive mood of chaos and fear. With Terminal Freeze, Child demonstrates why he has become a major best-selling author, and why his novels electrify and enthrall so many.

    Lee says: "a gourment meal for us lovers of horror fiction"
    "I should have read the reviews"
    Overall

    I downloaded this without reading the reviews. What a mistake! Most are accurate, nothing original here, writing insipid and predictable. Look elsewhere for your next thriller.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Insomnia

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Eli Wallach
    Overall
    (357)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (91)

    Ralph Roberts has an incurable case of insomnia, but lack of sleep is the least of his worries. Each night he stays awake, Ralph witnesses more of the odd activity taking place in Derry after dark than he wants to know. The nice young chemist up the street beats his wife and has delusions about beings he calls "The Centurions".

    Karen says: "Very Good Book"
    "Finished with a bang!"
    Overall

    Slow start, music between chapters annoying, more details than needed re auras BUT overall a must read for any fan of the Dark Tower series and a fine stand alone. Would certainly recommend without hesitation.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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