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Christopher Barnes

Richmond, Virginia USA | Member Since 2011

32
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • NOS4A2: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Kate Mulgrew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2727)
    Performance
    (2525)
    Story
    (2530)

    Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

    Christopher Barnes says: "D*mn near flawless"
    "D*mn near flawless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    WOW! NOS4A2 puts Heart-Shaped Box to shame, no question. This is a phenomenal book made all the better by Kate Mulgrew's superb narration. We all know that a bad narrator can made an otherwise-great book unlistenable; believe me, no danger of that here! Mulgrew is pitch-perfect with every single character. Her interpretation of Manx in particular is skin-crawlingly good. I will certainly be purchasing any other projects to which she lends her vocal talents! Out of the 100+ audiobooks I've downloaded from Audible, I'd say I've had about a 50/50 success rate. Some have been sublime, others downright unlistenable. NOS4A2 definitely falls in the former category!

    NOTE: This one starts off with a terrific bang then slows down for just a little bit to do some set-up. Don't be thrown off by the momentary lull---by the time you hit the two-hour-mark, things are revving up again and they never slow down for the rest of this incredible ride!

    29 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Forty-Nine Shades of Pink

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Druga
    • Narrated By Rebecca Horton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (4)

    Felix Cramer is a dashing, eccentric and effeminately gay poet who adores his life. That is, until he wakes up in the parking lot of a national chain coffee shop and discovers not only does he have a new identity, his old life has been erased. Felix hasn't a clue why it has happened. Bound and determined to prove who he is, he embarks on a path of danger, mystery and scandalous behavior and will stop at nothing to reclaim his life. That is, of course, if his old life actually did exist.Forty-Nine Shades of Pink is a comedic story of one man's struggles. While it contains adult themes, it does not contain any graphic sex.

    Fiona says: "Lots of fun, I won't lie..."
    "Avoid this one!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I suspect one of two things is going on here: either Ms. Druga is only loosely acquainted with any actual flesh-and-blood gay men, or her intended audience is women who are only loosely acquainted with any gay men. The concept for the story isn't terrible, but the main character is frustratingly one-dimensional, and that situation is NOT improved by the sub-par audio quality or the truly unfortunate narration. It's not that I object to the stereotypical effeminacy of Felix---I'm a pretty nelly queen myself---so much as the fact that nothing about this character reads as realistic or remotely nuanced. I downloaded this expecting a light, fun campy listen, so I didn't go into this looking for great literature, but this audiobook failed to meet even the lowest listening standards. Don't waste your money or your credit!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wonder

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By R. J. Palacio
    • Narrated By Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (945)
    Performance
    (852)
    Story
    (846)

    August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school - until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?R. J. Palacio has crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power.

    Jay says: "A Beautiful Story"
    "Well-written YA Fiction hurt by flawed narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Wonder?

    Wonder is a story that all middle school children should be reading. As an elementary teacher, I can tell you that it doesn't do justice to the occasional savagery of young adults, but it's still a close enough approximation to be a valuable tale.


    Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    The trouble with this recording is the narrator who performs the role of August. August is in many ways a naive and overprotected character, but the narrator's vocal presentation is not nuanced and represents him as more infantile than I understood him to be. Indeed, I'm not sure this male role should have been performed by a woman: I found her attempt at a prepubescent male child's voice to be grating and unpleasant to listen to. The narrator who performed Jack's character was much more believable as a city kid; indeed, all the other character performances (some of which may have been performed by the same narrator who performs as August, but using a different voice, thankfully) were excellent. If you can tolerate this troublesome character representation, then you'll enjoy this book. I gritted my teeth and plowed through the initial sections until the narrators switched, and I'm glad I did---the story's worth reading to its conclusion.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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