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Adam

Jersey City, NJ, United States | Member Since 2009

104
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 21 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
9

  • Hexed: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7458)
    Performance
    (6684)
    Story
    (6699)

    Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II. With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt.

    Adam says: "Authenticity, Humor and Brilliant Writing"
    "Authenticity, Humor and Brilliant Writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Authors often use Celtic/Druidic/Pagan ideas, beliefs and characters in their writing as merely functions for a broader story manipulation, paying no attention to the actual mythological history of these characters and concepts. Mr. Hearne is one of only two authors I have discovered who has succeeded in bringing these elements together with authenticity, humor and plain ol’ excellent writing. (I guess that’s what happens when you have a degree in English Education!) And hats off to Luke Daniels for almost perfect pronunciation of those almost impossible-to-pronounce Irish names!

    Speaking of Mr. Daniels, his dexterity with dialect is delicious. Through the first two books in this series, he accomplishes Irish (Southern), Tamil, Polish, Russian, American South Western, Scandinavian, “Dude”-ian, and Dog! I don’t know that there has been such a good of a match between author and reader since Jim Butcher and James Marsters.

    This would be a mildly entertaining story if not for Mr. Hearne’s exquisite sense of humor. As it is, the book (and series) is an extremely effective, enjoyable, addictive and yes, entertaining, experience. There is a scene in this book where Oberon is trying to impress Atticus with his use of language in order to get a treat. It is brilliantly written and brilliantly performed, and I can’t remember the last time – outside of actual live theatre – that I have been so tickled with hysterics. It is classic, intelligently written, and truly comedic – an almost impossible task that has been achieved by Mr. Hearne. Two other humor points to mention: what Oberon learns from the story of the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and the author’s hysterical use of the word “ass” in many different contexts, will be burned in my Funny Bone Memory forever.

    The last time a book made me randomly and breathlessly burst with laughter was David Sedaris’ “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” Expect the same thing to happen with you with this book.

    42 of 43 people found this review helpful
  • The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Ken Harmon
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    Fired from his longtime job as captain of the Coal Patrol, two-foot-three-inch, 1,300-year-old elf Gumdrop Coal is angry. He's one of Santa's original elves, inspired by the fat man's vision to bring joy to children on that one special day each year. But somewhere along the way, things went sour for Gumdrop. Maybe it was delivering one too many lumps of coal for the Naughty List. Maybe it's the conspiracy against Christmas that he's starting to sense down every chimney.

    PastorJim says: "Fantastic Holiday Listen"
    "Smart, Fun, Edgy and Saucy (mostly)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an extremely fun, laugh-out-loud, cracker of a story. Brilliantly conceived and brilliantly executed. The actor/narrator’s performance was so perfectly shaped and constructed; Mr. Heller, an award-winning voice actor, brought these saucy and magnificent characters to full realization through his perfectly-suited Noir style.

    Almost every line has some quirky reference or wink/nod based on classic Christmas stories, movies and animated TV specials and spins them in a unique, razor-witted, and extremely intelligent way. For most of this book, I found myself moving from grin, to laugh, to shock, to chortle, to chuckle, and back again.

    The structure of the book does seem to spin out of control near the end, only to wrap up in a somewhat unnecessary and overtly-religious way. This bothered me until I realized the source from which the author drew his conclusion was also one of those animated classics which, by today’s “standards,” comes across as also quite overtly “religious.” Once I realized who this character was, it lessened my aversion to the seemingly forced message or moral that it presented. I don’t usually have an aversion to books that have a strong Moral, if that Moral emerges or develops naturally from the characters, or plot, or style of writing. Given the tone of 9/10ths of this book, however, the conclusion seemed entirely out of character from the rest of the book. It felt forced and manipulated, and did slightly spoil the overall experience of the otherwise brilliant world and language the author created.

    The bottom line is: I have in fact, recommended this book to several people for the incredibly sharp and smartly funny turns of phrase and stylistic brilliance in the writing. Despite the structural problems and awkward way it comes to its conclusion, I still think this is a wonderful holiday tale.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Interview with the Vampire

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Anne Rice
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (978)
    Performance
    (787)
    Story
    (794)

    Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force - a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write. From the Paperback edition.

    James says: "Compelling, Simon Vance does it again!"
    "New Editions!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This new recording of Anne Rice's classic book is welcome and thrilling. It's most important to know that these audiobooks (including "Vampire Lestat" and "Queen of the Damned") are not reissues of the unabridged CDs that were made years ago with Frank Muller doing the reading. I know that many listeners enjoy Mr. Muller's work, but I found his reading of The Vampire Chronicles to be far too mannered and "affected." I listened to the earlier CDs primarily because I'm a big fan of the Chronicles; but I always had a hard time getting past Mr. Muller's voice. I don't wish to be cruel about Mr. Muller - as I said, I know he has many fans, and has had a long and successful career as a voice actor - it's just that personally, I cannot appreciate the vocal mannerisms he uses and the type of performance he gives.

    Now, thankfully, and at last, we have another award-winning Master Storyteller (Simon Vance) re-telling these tales! Within the first few minutes of listening, I knew that this would be the version that I could love and listen to over and over again. Mr. Vance easily evokes the "correct" atmosphere in his narrative, and moves between dialects as if he were a "Complete Cast" on his own. Sections that seemed awkward poetically in Mr. Muller's performance, now are rich, imaginative and evocative.

    I am thrilled to recommend this to fans and first-timers alike. If you've heard the previous recording - even if you like it - you will love this new one. Fingers tightly crossed in the hope that Mr. Vance will also record "Tales of the Body Thief" and finally give us an unabridged recording of "Memnoch the Devil" (which has only ever been recorded in an abridged format).

    Finally, I've heard Anne Rice say that she thinks that "The Witching Hour" (and probably "Lasher" and "Taltos") will be recorded in an unabridged format soon. Now THAT'S something to look forward to!! (Please, please, please....let it happen!)

    24 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • The High Queen: The Mists of Avalon: Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Marion Zimmer Bradley
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (337)
    Performance
    (174)
    Story
    (180)

    Morgaine, finally reconciled to the birth of her son, must relinquish him to her aunt Morgause in exchange for the kept secret regarding his parentage. Arthur marries the timid but dutiful Gwenhwyfar, while ongoing wars with the Saxon invaders continue to rage accross the land. Morgaine, tired of worldly concerns, attempts to return to Avalon, but disappears without a trace somewhere near the end of her journey.

    Adam says: "Gwenhyfar is not the Guinevere you think you know"
    "Gwenhyfar is not the Guinevere you think you know"
    Overall

    "Mistress of Magic" (part one of this saga), is Igraine's and Morgaine's journey. It is an effective, evocative and intensely personal journey. This part, "The High Queen," is mostly Gwenhyfar's story, and shows a lot of contrast, and a different perspective. Though it's my least favorite "book" in the saga, it *is* still part of the larger story. It's a testament to the quality of the writing, I think, that I can be so personally involved, moved and annoyed by the journeys of these characters. (And Gwenfhyfar annoys me greatly! :-) )

    Obviously, don't get this book if you have not listened to "Mistress of Magic" first. This (and the other books which make up the entirety of The Mists of Avalon) is NOT a sequel; it is part of the SAME BOOK! It is unfortunate that Audible (or the publishers, more likely) have chosen to break this one large book up into 4 separate parts. They shouldn't be considered separate books.

    I've written specifically about the narration in my review of "Mistress of Magic," but to just do a quick recap: Davina Porter gives an adequate and sometimes very good reading of these books, though her pacing is sometimes quite slow.

    For those listeners who lose interest during this "part" of the saga, please know that it really does get better! "The High Queen" can feel a bit tedious at times, but it is worth it to continue through to the end - the next two "books." The next installment, "The King Stag" picks up the pace and energy that this section lacks, and "The Prisoner in the Oak" is a magnificent and stunning conclusion to this incredible journey.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mistress of Magic: The Mists of Avalon: Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Marion Zimmer Bradley
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (749)
    Performance
    (410)
    Story
    (412)

    In the tradition of T.H. White's The Once and Future King, the author makes use of the prerequisites of the Arthurian legend: Excalibur, the Holy Grail, Lancelet's illicit love for Gwenhwyfar, the destruction of Camelot, but with a twist - she presents the entire panoramic story from the female point of view.

    leslie says: "Excellent Narration-Frustrating Hatchet Job"
    "Beautiful Story / Acceptable Narration"
    Overall

    I was first introduced to this book very soon after it was initially released in hardcover. I had had very little interest in it when I heard it was "just" the King Arthur story. My friend convinced me to give it a chance, given that it was not only written from the perspective of the women in the saga, but that it would also resonate with me, given that it also explored spiritual perspectives that I share. I agreed to give it a go, and my friend actually read it aloud to me. (Yes, the entire book over the course of a couple of weeks!) It was the first book I ever experienced first in a purely audio/vocal way. It was fascinating. It became a great love. I've read the print edition once a year (during the Beltaine season...) for the past 20 years. I took to this saga as many others have The Lord of the Rings.

    I joined Audible when I found out that this book was (finally) released in an unabridged format. Like other reviewers, I was disappointed that it was broken into four separate "books," but I was, still, just thrilled to have the opportunity to "have it read to me" again.

    I have given this book 5 stars - and by doing so, include the "other three" audiobooks which make up this one actual book. Ms. Porter as the narrator does adequate and sometimes very good work here, though her pacing is somewhat flat. She is subtle, gentle, and at times very effective.

    By way of contrast, Rosalyn Landor (the narrator of Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Forest House" and "Lady of Avalon") would have been much more effective as the reader of this book. As I've written in other reviews, I have absolutely loved Ms. Landor's reading of the Avalon books; whereas Lorna Raver (the narrator of "Sword of Avalon" and "Ravens of Avalon") is the least effective of the three narrators in the Avalon series. Ms. Raver's precise-ness, forced diction, and American (as opposed to English) accent, is sometimes very difficult to listen to in this context.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lady of Avalon

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Marion Zimmer Bradley
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (42)

    Through the generations the women of Avalon prepare for the coming of the Defender, the sacred king who will guard the old ways of the Britons and save their land from destruction. On the holy isle of Avalon, hidden in the mists between the world of Faerie and the world of men, they wait. For High Priestess Caillean, facing the Roman foe, salvation comes not through victory, but bitter sacrifice.

    Adam says: "Two very interesting stories"
    "Two very interesting stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Admittedly, when I read the hardcover years ago, I was extremely disappointed with the fragmented nature of this book. I wanted "Epic" like Mists, and dismissed this book with some sourness. I only chose to get the audiobook because of Rosalyn Landor, and how stunning I thought her reading of "The Forest House" was. This book ("Lady of Avalon") like the previous one, just blossoms under Ms. Landor's efforts. I still don't care for the middle story, but the bookends - the first part taking up the action right after "The Forest House" ends and the third part, learning about Viviane's early years, are just beautifully done now.

    I still don't think this is a great standalone book - in fact, I would only recommend it after listening to "The Forest House" and as a bridge to "Mists." But, if like me, you didn't enjoy reading the novel itself, I would suggest you give it another try by listening to it being read by such a wonderful storyteller.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Jeff Guinn
    • Narrated By Susan Denaker
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (8)

    Using as its springboard the actual events of a day in 1647 when 10,000 peasants marched through the streets of Canterbury demanding their right to celebrate a beloved holiday, How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas is rich in historical detail, adventure, and plain ol' Christmas fun. Children, parents, and entire families will enjoy this holiday classic!

    Adam says: "Not quite what I wanted"
    "Not quite what I wanted"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After having gone through the slight and fairly enjoyable "Autobiography of Santa Claus," I was expecting perhaps something in the same light vein. This was a bit too "precious" for me - perhaps it was the narration that made it so, and far too repetitive over the last 2 hours or so. This is not a "Holiday Romp" novel that I mistakenly thought it would be - I read the title to mean it would be a "fun" novel; it's not, it's a serio-historical drama, far more geared toward the religious aspects of the holiday. I do suppose that if you are a Christian, you might very well enjoy this novel far more than I did. In other words, it's very "Christ-mass" and less holiday than I wanted.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Forest House

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Marion Zimmer Bradley
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (48)

    She was Eilan, the daughter of a Druidic warleader and gifted with visions. In a land struggling to survive both Roman conquerors and her own people's enemies, surely fate had marked her to become a priestess of the Forest House. But first Eilan had chosen a different, forbidden path - to love Gaius, a soldier of mixed blood among the legions sent to subdue her country. So she must hide a terrible secret when she is anointed as the new High Priestess.

    Adam says: "Re-recorded and highly effective"
    "Re-recorded and highly effective"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not a reissue/transfer of the unabridged cassette tapes that were originally produced. Everything about this new recording is outstanding. Rosalyn Landor is an absolutely, perfectly beautiful interpreter of these characters and words. In fact, she's so wonderful, I wish she had also been engaged to rerecord The Mists of Avalon as well; she is really *that* good! This story, though slighter than Mists, is a wonderful tale and forerunner to the main novel of the saga. If you've heard the cassettes and haven't really cared for them, I urge to you get this new recording and hear this beautiful story for the "first time."

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Cursor's Fury: Codex Alera, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2838)
    Performance
    (1845)
    Story
    (1851)

    The power-hungry High Lord of Kalare has launched a rebellion against the aging First Lord, Gaius Sextus, who with the loyal forces of Alera must fight beside the unlikeliest of allies - the equally contentious High Lord of Aquitaine. Meanwhile, young Tavi of Calderon joins a newly formed legion under an assumed name even as the ruthless Kalare unites with the Canim, bestial enemies of the realm whose vast numbers spell certain doom for Alera.

    Readalot says: "Great series"
    "War in Detail"
    Overall

    The larger story arc of the series so far is wonderfully fascinating and intriguing. I have enjoyed following the main characters' arcs through the story. It is a bit black and white in some ways with the Very Bad being Very Bad and the Very Good... well, you get it, but there are a lot of grey areas and characters (Lady Placida is fantastic!) The story involving Fade and Isanna is beautifully written; Lady Aquitaine (et al) is fascinating...

    My biggest problem with how the series is developing - and it's a major issue for me, is that at least 1/3 of the book is taken up with battle tactics during the war which seem much like a fantasy version of a History Channel documentary. Hours and hours are spent in detailed battle plans and execution. Nothing there there, just details of swords/arrows/spears/etc. While I can see how probably many fantasy fans find this exciting, to me, it became extremely tedious. Every battle or development in the war, over time, started to sound exactly the same in every respect. There's absolutely nothing creative or of interest for me in this kind of war documentary. To quote from the book: "And the battle went on, and on. And on." And it does.

    This incidentally was why, of the Dresden Files, "White Knight" is probably my least favorite (huge battle there, which, compared to this Alera book, makes it seem short....)

    Jim Butcher remains a favorite author of mine, but I'm not sure that I'll continue on with this Alera series, just because of these endless, tedious battle-upon-battle scenarios.

    Last word: I sincerely wish that there was more actual story and development here. Mr. Butcher's creative imagination is strong, unique and wonderful. If you love battle scenes, you have a lot to love in this book.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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