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Halifax, NS, Canada | Member Since 2008

  • 14 reviews
  • 81 ratings
  • 366 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • The City & The City

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By China Mieville
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlof the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined. Borl must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own.

    James says: "Interesting Premise"

    Brilliant -- indeed an urban fantasy. Mieville creates an utterly plausible (sur)reality which is grounded in ordinary details. The landscape and the lexicon are fascinating, and that makes an intriguing backdrop to an otherwise fairly standard police procedural. At times the setting takes precedence, and at times the action takes precedence. There's a fine balance here which Mieville masters.

    The narration is excellent. John Lee does a great job with the fictitious language and the cast of characters.

    It's a book that needs a second listen in order to catch all the nuances that one misses the first time around. Well worth the listen at however many credits.

    19 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • The Passage: The Passage Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Justin Cronin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Adenrele Ojo, Abby Craden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

    Nicole says: "You love it or you hate it..."
    "Voluptuous and Incredible Fiction"

    This is an absolutely incredible novel. If you take The Strain and The Warded Man and a healthy dash of Ken Follett, you will have the Passage.

    It is hard to conceive of a novel which can span so many genres with such success. The end of the world viral vampires book was enthralling enough (first part). The much shorter bridge with the tale of Ida was a little disconcerting. Then it picked up again with a post-Apocalyptic tale set somewhere in dusty (but not coastal) California. as the survivors attempt to make their way back to ground zero. It's absolutely brilliant.

    If life as we knew it were wiped out in a fairly short span of time, what would the survivors look like in 100 years? That's one of the questions which this book looks at and answers in a marvelous way.

    And miraculously, Justin Cronin manages to weave the threads between the two worlds by bringing back Amy, the 100-year old girl who was a sad and pathetic part of the Army experiment gone awry in Ground Zero.. It's an unbelievable book. The characters are well-developed, and Cronin is not afraid to kill important people if and when the plot needs it.

    I normally find Scott Brick a bit evangelical in his narration, but it works here. He's a great choice for this book.

    This is definitely a book which needs to be re-read / re-listened to almost immediately.

    Yes, it's a vampire novel, but it's also so much more. And it's the first of a trilogy. My beating heart, be still.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Dead Path

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Stephen M. Irwin
    • Narrated By Michael Carman

    The Dead Path tells the gripping story of a broken man, Nicholas Close. A terrible accident has left him a widower and awoken in him the ability to see the dead. Now, he can’t escape visions of tortured spirits, their last moments caught in horrible, endlessly replaying loops. Nicholas leaves London and returns to Australia, where he is disturbed to see that a heavily treed tract of land in his childhood suburb has somehow escaped development.

    Sean says: "An excellent story!"
    "Best Debut of the Year"

    This is the best audiobook I have listened to in ages. In fact, after I finished it I kept thinking about it and thinking about it, so I went back and listened to it again.

    The story is riveting. An Australian in London loses his wife in an accident and then returns to his home town in Australia after he discovers that his own accident has left him with the uncanny ability to see the ghosts of people at their moments of death.

    Back in Australia, he discovers that children are being abducted and killed in the dark woods near his house. These relate to the murder of Simon's best friend 20 years before. They also relate to a string of child killings (sacrifices) which have taken place over the past hundred years or so.

    The story weaves the current day plot with scenes from Simon's childhood. Simon seeks to find answers and to stop the horrifying occurrences. He enlists his sister, his mother, and the widow of an acquaintance. They are all drawn into the mystery and the witchcraft.

    The images in the book are compelling. The woods are haunted and haunting. There is witchcraft and ancient magic. There are ghosts. There are spiders and shape-shifters. There are believers, non-believers and reluctant believers. There are shamans and priests. Several characters die. The end of the book is surprising and satisfyingly disturbing.

    The narration of this story is superb. Michael Carman is absolutely brilliant. His English accents and Australian accents are spot on, and he's one of the few male narrators who does a really excellent job with female characters.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Horns: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache, and a pair of horns growing from his temples. At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances.

    bet says: "people are funny"
    "On the Horns of a Dilemma - The Devil You Know"

    The dilemma is whether to give Horns 4 stars or 5.

    Joe Hill is a great writer. Heart Shaped Box was brilliant, and Horns doesn't disappoint. The book has much symbolism and irony. It's loaded with devil-related imagery. The guy who looks like the devil really isn't, and everyone who looks angelic really isn't. Ig's father and brother play horns (instruments), but Ig's asthma precludes him from doing so, even though he yearns to do so. In the end, his horns break through.

    The only irritating thing about the book is the lack of clear chapter transitions. The story is told from Ig's point of view, but it isn't always clear initially whether what is being related is the current story set in realtime, or whether it's a flashback. The realtime story extends throughout and chronicles the day Ig wakes up and discovers he has horns and their effect on those around him. The flashbacks relate to pivotal moments in Ig's past -- those he knows about first hand, and those which he doesn't know about. The flashbacks are disordered, but they provide tidbits of insight and explanation of significant events.

    Joe Hill does a great job with characters, dialogue and description generally. His descriptions are vivid and evocative without descending into parody. He has Stephen King's brilliant gift for the inner monologue.

    This is a thriller with a twist. It's not really horror, but there are some neat supernatural or paranormal elements. It's an interesting look at what people are really thinking as Ig's horns seem to have the power to make people use their outside voices for what are very much inside voice thoughts.

    If you want to be really literary about it, there are themes of death and resurrection, blindness and vision, faith and faithlessness, and hope and redemption.

    But mostly it's just a great and very vivid story about a guy who unexpectedly grows horns and then seeks the truth about and revenge for the death of his former girlfriend.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Dome: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Raul Esparza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when - or if - it will go away.

    Venita says: "Lenghtly but good, ending was rushed"
    "Great Panoramic Novel"

    This is a return to the old-style Stephen King stories which are chock-full of character development and plot.

    The premise is interesting. It's Lord of the Flies taking place in Biosphere, but over the course of a week. When an impenetrable dome settles down over the town, mayhem ensues.

    It's probably social commentary on the nature of humanity and the testing of our ability to get along in difficult circumstances. But mostly it's just a cracking good novel about some good people, some bad people, and some crazy people. There are corrupt municipal politicians, drug addicts, empathetic caregivers, a ton of power-hungry police wannabes, and some ordinnary struggling people who just want to do the right thing.

    As usual, Stephen King is able to write a book with a hugely diverse cast of characters without creating caricatures. There's a good balance between description and interaction, so that everything is three-dimensional and engaging.

    This is a joyous, large-scale novel. It's the kind of audiobook which is worth listening to over and over again. Despite its length, I didn't want it to end. Most audiobooks start to run out of steam at about the 70% mark, but not this one.

    Raul Esparza's narration is great; he has a wonderful ability to bring many different voices and personalities to life without losing track of each one.

    This is a wonderful novel. It makes me want to go back and listen to all of Stephen King's other works. Long live the King.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Black House

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Stephen King, Peter Straub
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Stephen King and Peter Straub reintroduce you to Jack Sawyer of The Talisman, once a precocious boy traversing the Territories to save his mother and her "twinner," now a retired homicide detective drawn back to his past.

    Jennifer says: "Magnificent Sequel -- Riveting"
    "Magnificent Sequel -- Riveting"

    The Talisman is one of my favourite books of all time. When I downloaded the audiobook, I was initially disappointed with Frank Muller's narration.

    It seemed to me as though he had to draw breath at the end of every sentence; it was like being read to by Jack Palance or David Caruso. But after a while, my intense dislike of Frank Muller's narration abated. I loved the Talisman and ended up liking Frank Muller's narration.

    I dithered about buying the Black House in audiobook (despite having read the original in paper) because many of the reveiews were overwhelmingly negative. I wasn't sure I wanted 26 hours of unsatisfactory narration and questionable plot. But this is a must-have sequel to the Talisman.

    It is essential to have read the Talisman before reading Black House -- otherwise,many of the references are overlooked and the context of the story is lost.

    The story is part fantasy, and part thriller. A serial killer from a parallel world is taking children from this world, and the only person who can stop him is Jack Sawyer (and his trusty band of renegades).

    Jack Sawyer starts the novel having no recollection of his fantastic past and the role he played in the two worlds, and the memory of his time in the Territories slowly dawns on him. There is less flipping between worlds in this book, and the cast of characters is larger and grittier.

    The story is riveting and well-told. Frank Muller's narration is perfect. His range of characters is excellent, particularly the various voices of the Fisherman and his otherworldly counterparts. The narration of Henry the blind but all-seeing dapper DJ and sports announcer is brilliant. Even our old friend Speedy Parker/Parkus makes a return.

    Parts of the story are graphic, but the violence is never gratuitous. Black House is darker and less magical than the Talisman, but it is a perfect follow-up. Buy it and listen; it's brilliant.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • The Shining

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: You may have thought the movie was scary, but this is pure Stephen King as it was meant to be experience – performed frighteningly well by Campbell Scott. First published in 1977, The Shining quickly became a benchmark in the literary career of Stephen King. This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son slowly but steadily unfolds as secrets from the Overlook Hotel's past are revealed.

    Eileen says: "Much better than the movie..."
    "Still Thrilling"

    The audiobook experience is not as good as reading the original, and it's different from the Stanley Kubrick film. But the story does weather the test of time extremely well; it's as chilling today as it was 20 years ago.

    Campbell Scott's narration is a little flat. Sometimes the narrator's voice drops down so low that it's impossible to hear. His characters could have been a little more lively. Campbell Scott is not as good with King's material as Frank Muller; the vocal inflections are flatter and not as resonant. If Frank Muller had done the narration, I would have given the book 5 stars.

    The premise of the hotel as a malignant force which has psychic connections with the characters is still riveting. The hotel is one of the stars of the novel.

    Jack is a flawed character, and his inner demons eventually take over. His descent from reasonably near-normalcy to utter madness is creepy and realistic. This is not the larger-than-life Jack Nicholson cartoon portrayal of a madman; it's a more sinister and more credible portrayal. It's a portrayal of a flawed father and teetering alcoholic who ends up succumbing to his own weaknesses and nearly killing his family in the process.

    One of Stephen King's strengths is his ability to write for different voices. Wendy as the beleaguered and somewhat cowed long-suffering wife and protective mother is well done. Danny Torrence is a completely believable 5-year old with special talents.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Symbol Part 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael

    Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol. Within minutes of his arrival, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object is discovered in the Capitol Building. The object is an ancient invitation, meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of hidden esoteric wisdom. And when Langdon's mentor is kidnapped, Langdon's only hope of saving him is to accept this invitation and follow wherever it leads him.

    F. Hayek says: "Do yourself a favoe, pick up a good book"
    "4/5 of a Masterpiece"

    This is a worthy successor to the DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons. Fans of Dan Brown will not be disappointed. The story takes place during the course of one fateful evening, but twists back and forth with necessary flashbacks. There are some unexpected and extremely startling twists and turns in The Lost Symbol, and they confirm Dan Brown's genius as a storyteller.

    As usual, the story is replete with references to art, architecture, religion and the arcana of symbology. There are many many interesting details in the novel about Washington, DC, the Masons and various historical figures.

    After the story per se ends (with about an hour of audio left to go), what remains is a painful, plodding metaphysical diatribe about God, religion and the nature of the power of the mind in the universe and the influence of God etc. For those of us who are primarily interested in a good story, it's like being held captive by a proselytizing zealot and really adds nothing to the rest of the book. Without it, the book would rate 5 stars easily. But the last hour adds nothing to the story. It may be interesting for those who have an interest in religious philosophy and metaphysics, but it left me a little empty.

    Paul Michael's narration is excellent. His narration is very similar to Scott Brick's narration, but he has perhaps a greater range of vocal characteristics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Elissa Wall, Lisa Pulitzer
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In September 2007, Elissa Wall, the star witness against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, gave captivating testimony of how Jeffs forced her to marry her first cousin at age 14. This harrowing account proved to be the most compelling evidence against Jeffs, showing the harsh realities of this closed community and the lengths to which Jeffs went in order to control the sect's women. Now, in this courageous memoir, Wall tells the incredible story of how she emerged from the confines of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints and helped bring one of America's most notorious criminals to justice.

    Christine says: "Chris from Cedar City, UT USA"
    "Great Book, Terrible Narration"

    The story is interesting, disturbing and compelling. Elissa Wall's portrait of growing up in the smothering confines of the FLDS is fascinating and horrifying.

    I agree with the other reviews, though, that the book is spoiled by the narration. The narrator has a terrible cadence and rhythm -- she reads as if she is looking at only a few words at a time and is completely unfamiliar with whatever is coming next on the page. Her harration is so poor it's distracting. She pauses to take a breath in all the wrong places and creates phrases where there should be continuity. She does sound like a first grade teacher reading picture books to young children. This is the first narrator I have ever encountered whose work I absolutely will not purchase again.

    Her high and breathy voice is appropriate for the revelations about Elissa's childhood, but she has no emotional range and all the characters sound the same. She also mispronounces words in places, which is even more irritating. This book would be absolutely first rate with a different narrator.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Neighbor: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lisa Gardner
    • Narrated By Emily Janice Card, Kirby Heyborne, Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It was a case guaranteed to spark a media feeding frenzy: a young mother, blond and pretty, disappears without a trace from her South Boston home, leaving behind her four-year-old daughter as the only witness and her handsome, secretive husband as the prime suspect. But from the moment Detective Sergeant D. D. Warren arrives at the Joneses - a snug little bungalow, she senses something off about the picture of wholesome normality the couple worked so hard to create.

    KSK says: "Listen to "Say Goodbye" first"

    As it turns out, this is a sequel to Say Goodbye, but it takes a while to discover that fact.

    The Neighbour is every bit as good as Say Goodbye -- the plot twists are perhaps even more unexpected. Trying to figure out whether the characters are good or evil or deceptive or honest will keep you on your toes all the way through the book.

    The narration is expertly handled -- one person is the voice of the missing wife (albeit slightly nasal in places), one is the voice of the neighbour, and the main narrator covers the rest of the story.

    The action in The Neighbour spans a relatively short time -- only about a week, but it is never plodding or dull.

    There is a cast of potential suspects, and even at the end of the novel the story is not predictable.

    This is a great read and highly recommended.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Say Goodbye

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Lisa Gardner
    • Narrated By Ann Marie Lee, Lincoln Hoppe

    For Kimberly Quincy, FBI Special Agent, it all starts with a pregnant hooker. The story Delilah Rose tells Kimberly about her johns is too horrifying to be true; but prostitutes are disappearing, one by one, with no explanation, and no one but Kimberly seems to care.

    KSK says: "Not for the faint of heart"
    "Great Thriller"

    This is a great thriller with some unexpected twists and plot turns. It ends with a terrific one-two punch.

    The subject matter of kidnapping and sexual abuse is graphic but not gratuitous. The plot has several layers woven through it, and the perspective shifts back and forth between storylines and in time.

    The little factoids about different types of spiders at the beginning of every chapter is an interesting leitmotif.

    The dual narration is well done by both narrators. The accents are good and the dialogue is realistic.

    Do not hestitate to buy this book - it is absolutely worth it. If you like novels by Karen Rose and James Patterson, you'll love this.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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