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Cynbee

former nuclear scientist

San Jose, CA, United States | Member Since 2012

89
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 69 reviews
  • 157 ratings
  • 338 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
9

  • The Woman in White

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Wilkie Collins
    • Narrated By Josephine Bailey, Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1173)
    Performance
    (960)
    Story
    (963)

    One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White was a phenomenal best seller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Charles Dickens. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall audiences today.

    David says: "Gripping novel, excellent production"
    "A nice foray into literary history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Collins is often credited as one of the first popular English mystery writers. For this reason, and because the of late popularity of Jane Austen has shown us how ridiculous and confining mid-19th century English society was, we can forgive the convoluted coincidences and credulous actions necessary to maneuver the characters into the dire situations necessary for his drama.

    The story itself is classic. The title is from a mysterious woman, who always dresses completely in white, who appears early on and throughout the story to warn of vague impending doom. The conceit of the book is that it is told as recollections and interviews of various characters, which may have been novel 170 years ago and is certainly used today, in order to give the listener a patchwork of clues that he must unravel in order to see the deeper mystery underneath. The modern listener must keep in mind the constraints on women in that society, which Collins comments on directly, to explain why the people in danger don't simply run away when they realize what is happening. Collins also on occasion defends his amazing coincidences in the narration itself, which I found a little cute in such a classic, but hope that no one can get away with doing any more.

    The male narrator, Simon Prebble, was quite weak. I really disliked him. His Phillip Fairley is supposed to be weak and dislikable, and he does a fair job of that. But his Laura Fairley sounds weak in the head and on the verge of fainting, and his voice in general becomes so soft and fuzzy at the end of sentences that I can't really understand what he is saying some of the time. I had to turn the volume way up just to hear what the last word or two of each sentence was. Within twenty minutes I'd resolved myself to never buy another audiobook that he narrates. I'd rather have the dead trees.

    Josephine Bailey, on the other hand, was quite good. Her Fosco was her weakest (and didn't match with Prebbles, nor did her other characters), but narrators generally have a hard time doing the other gender. It was, however, quite distinctive, and she did a great job of differentiating her various characters in a voice that was clear and easy to understand. I wish she had narrated the entire thing.

    I got this book because I have an interest in Classic English literature. I'm going through Dickens on paper and have The Moonstone and a few other Collins novels to go through. Collins' phrasing is much less direct than Dickens'; he uses that to comic affect when describing Phillip Fairley and the state of English gentry, but at other times one must just accept that his style of prose takes 2-3 times longer to say something than modern prose would. It's an interesting peek back in time at a society that is often romanticized.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1927)
    Performance
    (1759)
    Story
    (1753)

    Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale....

    Nancy J says: "I LOVE this Book!"
    "Great fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wanted to keep listening through the end. I hope it's the start of a series, because it's a fresh and fun take on the old magic-is-all-around-us-but-a-special-group-keeps-it-secret genre. The narrator nails the different voices and accents. One star off for his frequent, and sometimes wet, very loud inhalations. It's just gross.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Losing Faith

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Adam Mitzner
    • Narrated By Andy Caploe
    Overall
    (246)
    Performance
    (221)
    Story
    (215)

    Aaron Littmann, the chairman of one of the country's most prestigious law firms, has just been contacted by a high-profile defense attorney whose client is Nikolai Garkov, a Russian businessman arraigned on terrorism charges for pulling the financial strings behind recent treasonous acts. The attorney informs Aaron that Garkov is looking to switch representation and will pay $100,000 just to take the meeting.

    Chris says: "Narrator is awful"
    "Terrible narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Predictable story, cliched characters, but could have been good with a decent narrator.
    Apparently I have to write enough words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Legend of Broken

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Caleb Carr
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (71)

    With the historical storytelling brilliance of Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth, the hugely best-selling author of The Alienist writes a bounding epic: The Legend of Broken is an action-packed, multi-charactered tale of a medieval clash of cultures. In Caleb Carr’s fascinating tale of the kingdom of Broken, legend meets history, science defies all expectation, and one noble soldier struggles to save a fortress city besieged by enemies within and without.

    Joe says: "Brilliant Story, Brilliant Narration"
    "Can't decide which adjective to use"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When powering through this audiobook, sad that not even the talented Tim Gerard Reynolds could enliven it, various adjectives flitted through my mind to describe the prose:

    sodden
    plodding
    tortuous
    tedious
    pompous

    It was a veritable SAT vocabulary fest in my head. I've read that this author has some great novels but considers this one his life's work. I actually feel sorry for him for having spent so long on this clunker.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Silent Sister: Riley MacPherson, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Diane Chamberlain
    • Narrated By Susan Bennett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3338)
    Performance
    (2855)
    Story
    (2850)

    In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?

    Sara says: "Predictable & Relentlessly One Dimensional"
    "Predictable but immersive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Glad I listened to it even though I guessed the "twists" halfway through the first act. It's more of a drama than a mystery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Disaster

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jamie McGuire
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1446)
    Performance
    (1315)
    Story
    (1335)

    The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand. Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid.

    Guiselle says: "5 things you should know before buying this book"
    "wouldn't want to spend time with these characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The description of this book is quite misleading. It's actually the story of two young drama queens mistaking violent possessiveness for romance, enabled by their equally young and drama loving friends. The best thing that can be said of this book is how it accurately captures the tunnel vision of people so self-involved that a lethal tragedy merely serves as backstory to what they think is a great romance. The author acknowledges this, throwing in a few comments from minor characters, but seems to buy into the horse pucky. She lets her protagonists escape any repercussions - and certainly any remorse - from their distasteful and occasionally criminal actions. She filled the story with improbable situations, such as a Vegas made of broken kneecaps and 1970s cliches, self-made obstacles, and bad behavior.

    I listened in vain to the end hoping for some growth. It was torturous to spend so much time with two characters so pathetic, so incapable of learning. I advise all potential buyers to spend their precious time elsewhere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Act of War: A Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brad Thor
    • Narrated By Armand Schultz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1331)
    Performance
    (1192)
    Story
    (1184)

    After a CIA agent mysteriously dies overseas, his top asset surfaces with a startling and terrifying claim. There’s just one problem - no one knows if she can be trusted. But when six exchange students go missing, two airplane passengers trade places, and one political-asylum seeker is arrested, a deadly chain of events is set in motion.

    Roger says: "Don't Start Unless you have Time For Whole Book"
    "eye roller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a neo-con Hollywood fantasy where all the heroes are manly white soldiers (except for one cunning Asian American soldier, needed because of the location of the story), the heroic but unpopular president makes all the hard choices while allowing pages-long lectures about fantastical, egregious crimes of "the previous administration" (code for Obama), women are underwear models who are admired but absent from anything important, and the bad guys accept a spanking from the Good Ole U S of A when we demonstrate our larger.. uh, stick.

    Whatever. The action wasn't believable enough to be compelling, and I couldn't immerse myself in the absurdity of the rest. Of you lean to the view that America just needs to flex her military might and the rest of the world will fall meekly at our feet, then thus could be a fun flight of indulgent fantasy. If you don't, it might be a groaner.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Feed: The Newsflesh Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Mira Grant
    • Narrated By Paula Christensen, Jesse Bernstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1154)
    Performance
    (923)
    Story
    (918)

    The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

    susan says: "I laughed, I cried..."
    "a near-future immersive America"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not big on the zombie genre, but I do like sci fi/fantasy, so I gave this book a chance. There are weaknesses - virus levels are measured in microns (a unit of length, not of number or concentration), internal inconsistencies, the villain at the end acts out a cliche that makes no sense in context (despite the speech he gives to indicate murderous insanity) - but despite all these flaws, I just wanted to keep listening. The author paints vivid pictures in an America just a few decades from now where (suspend disbelief) technology has progressed stunningly in response to a virus that creates "night of the living dead"-like zombies through a (suspend disbelief) lab-engineered mutation of the common cold. The fact that zombie-ism is contagious, and that transformation isn't immediate, is central to the plot, but the contradictions between the virus origin story and the way it behaves made me think that an origin story actually subtracts from the plot. So just power through the parts where the book's version of virology is discussed, and power through ridiculous scenes like the narrator taking the time to explain her brother's dating history during a zombie mob attack, and immerse yourself in an interesting thriller where the journalists are targeted because they tell the truth, and the harshness of a zombie-filled world forces people to horrible, soul-dimming acts of mercy and love and self-protection. "Sophie's Choice" with a virus instead of Nazis.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ruby Red: Ruby Red Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Kerstin Gier, Anthea Bell (translator)
    • Narrated By Marisa Calin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (608)
    Performance
    (537)
    Story
    (535)

    Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth who, in the middle of class, takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon, the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential.

    betsy says: "Where's the rest?"
    "premise undone by convenient, implausible plot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know that a lot of young adult (especially supernatural young adult - is there any other kind these days?) has questionable logic and behavior, presumably because teens don't think all that much of the motivations and reasoning of grown ups, but this book is extra absurd. Not only the behavior of the protagonist's mother, who irresponsibly endangers the girl, and the lack of sympathy for the poor cousin, who (as it is mentioned before she is mocked) is a real victim of the situation, but the inexplicable actions at the end of the Really Hot Guy. It's like the author didn't want to end the book without checking all the boxes. Disappointing, because this could have been an interesting blend of historical fiction and sci fi/fantasy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Emma's Secret

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Steena Holmes
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (203)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (188)

    For two years, Megan, Peter, and their two older daughters, Alexis and Hannah, dream of nothing but being reunited with the family’s youngest child, Emma, who was kidnapped just before her third birthday. When Emma is miraculously found living with an elderly couple just miles from the family’s home, they are hopeful that her return will heal the wounds her disappearance created. But Emma is vastly different from the sunny toddler they remember. She barely remembers her parents or her older sisters. She is quiet and withdrawn, and, worst of all, longs for the very people who kidnapped her.

    Vickie says: "Too Dramatic!"
    "no payoff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a mother of a beautiful toddler girl. I should really have been an emotional mess listening to a story about the aftermath of a toddler girl snatched at age 3 and not returned to her family for 2 years.

    Somehow, the author manages to avoid forging a connection between the reader and any of the characters. The mother character, Megan, is so unpleasant and makes so little sense that even her kids in the story don't want to be around her and her friends walk on eggshells because anything can set her off, and she doesn't feel like she has to be fair to anyone at all, even as she whines "that's not FAIR" to pretty much every other character more than once. Maybe that's true to life, but it doesn't make a compelling protagonist. The father shows inexplicably boundless compassion to one of the kidnappers and, although more sympathetic, is too one-dimensional to truly engage the listener.

    I read a little about this book because it is confusing just to jump in. Turns out it is a sequel in a self-published set of four novels that was a hit in book clubs, clubs which I can only surmise had at least one member without any critical reading skills and an overabundance of forgiveness for bad writing choosing the book. I would die of alcohol poisoning if I had to take a shot every time "it broke his/her heart," but I would stay sober if I didn't have to drink during "it broke her heart...it hurt." As in, "it broke her heart to hear him say that. It hurt to know that is what he thought." Then, "it wasn't FAIR."

    Oh, Lord, such a boring and actually irritating book. Irritating for what it should have been, with such a naturally compelling story. But it is plotted too poorly to enable the listener to sustain disbelief. One of the most glaring holes, which I couldn't believe until it was explicitly laid out, is that the surviving kidnapper, an elderly man married to the demented, now-deceased woman who had done the actual snatching, seemed to genuinely believe that his Alzheimer's-riddled wife just showed up one day with a 3 year old, with no clothes or papers, and that child was his granddaughter. "Hey honey, I'm home! Look what I got! It's a grandchild for us! Nevermind that she keeps crying for mommy and is absolutely terrified!" And all the times her journal was quoted where she says "this time, I'll do it right. This girl is my second chance." The guy is criminally stupid if he really believed it, and just plain criminal if he didn't. Either way, he belongs in jail, no matter how bad he feels now.

    Reading this review, I guess that the book did arouse passion in me after listening to it. Passionate dislike and annoyance that I wasted hours of my life, though, probably aren't the reactions the author was looking for. Save your money.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Private

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
    • Narrated By Peter Hermann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2156)
    Performance
    (1429)
    Story
    (1425)

    Former Marine helicopter pilot Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe. It is where you go when you need maximum force and maximum discretion. The secrets of the most influential men and women on the planet come to Jack daily - and his staff of investigators uses the world's most advanced forensic tools to make and break their cases.

    Meaghan says: "private"
    "Fast moving cliches stave off boredom for awhile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's got what you expect from a Patterson novel: action, fast pace, a tortured (former military) hero named Jack, titillating mysteries/side stories, and murder. It's really not special, really not terrible. Well, not terrible in a bad way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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