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Herv J. Peairs

HJP

Massachusetts, USA | Member Since 2005

29
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 136 ratings
  • 247 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • Framley Parsonage

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (27)

    Mark Robarts, a young vicar, is newly arrived in the village of Framley. With ambitions to further his career, he seeks connections in the county's high society. He is soon preyed upon by a local member of parliament to guarantee a substantial loan, which Mark, in a moment of weakness, agrees to, even though he knows the man is a notorious debtor; it brings Mark to the brink of ruin.

    Herv J. Peairs says: "Doesn't disappoint"
    "Doesn't disappoint"
    Overall

    Hooray for Audible for adding this and Doctor Thorne to their library. Simon Vance does a nice job reading. If you are new to Trollope, you are better off reading the Barsetshire series in order for a full appreciation of some of the secondary characters in this novel. Start with The Warden.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4109)
    Performance
    (2650)
    Story
    (2673)

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

    Peter says: "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
    "Utterly Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    One of the most eye-opening books I've read in years. So much of what we thought we knew about Genghis Khan was flat wrong. His life and accomplishments, as revealed by recent discoveries brought to life in this book, place him among the great characters of history. Solid narration as well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Washington: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ron Chernow
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1769)
    Performance
    (1240)
    Story
    (1240)

    In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. This crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.

    ButterLegume says: "A sad day when my book was done!"
    "Washington brought to life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Ron Chernow presents a rich and fascinating portrait of a man who guided his nation through its most fragile period. This book helped me understand Washington as a human being, and in so doing gave me a much greater respect and appreciation for his accomplishments. Scott Brick does a solid job narrating, staying in the background and letting the story tell itself.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5243)
    Performance
    (4833)
    Story
    (4838)

    A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie - magical, comforting, wise beyond her years - promised to protect him, no matter what.

    Cynthia says: "Shadows Dissolved in Vinegar"
    "A homely bridge between reality and dark magic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    To Neil Gaiman devotees, I would say that The Ocean at the End of the Lane is as magical as the rest, and as usual, transports us from customary surroundings through unassuming tokens to magic deep and dark. To find small fault, I thought this novel without the same degree of character relationship that we see in his very best works, like Neverwhere, or for novels with child protagonists, The Graveyard Book. Although the inventiveness and language are as good, I found myself less involved with the characters.

    To those who have not read Neil Gaiman, this is a very good book and a fine choice to start with, but I still recommend anyone not familiar with his work to start with Neverwhere

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tales from the Old West

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Zane Grey, Max Brand, Louis L'Amour
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    Here are three stories by the finest Western writers who ever lived.

    Herv J. Peairs says: "light fare, but not unappetizing"
    "light fare, but not unappetizing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Tales from the Old West? What did you like least?

    Two short stories and something like a novella (Canyon Walls). I found each to be lacking in one way or another, but nothing kept me from finishing them. If you prefer John Wayne to Clint Eastwood, you will probably like these better than if your preference is the other way around. If you are looking for something a little less pulpy and romantic, you might try The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard. Disclaimer: I read the Elmore Leonard stories so I can't vouch for the narration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Old Man and the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By Donald Sutherland
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1507)
    Performance
    (903)
    Story
    (905)

    The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal, a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss.

    Dave says: "Truly a Classic"
    "Perfect narration by Donald Sutherland"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Old Man and the Sea rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This reading of The Old Man and the Sea ranks in the top quartile of books I've listened to. Of course the book itself is a classic, but Donald Sutherland's narration elevates it a notch or two. The smoky timbre of his voice and his understated delivery are a perfect match for Hemingway's laconic prose and its underlying depth. Listen to it in a distraction-free environment. You may also want to try completing it in one sitting -- it is about the length of a feature movie.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sick Puppy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Carl Hiaasen
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (157)
    Performance
    (134)
    Story
    (135)

    When Palmer Stoat notices the black pickup truck following him on the highway, he fears his precious Range Rover is about to be carjacked. But Twilly Spree, the man tailing Stoat, has vengeance, not sport-utility vehicles, on his mind. Idealistic, independently wealthy, and pathologically short-tempered, Twilly has dedicated himself to saving Florida's wilderness from runaway destruction. He favors unambiguous political statements - such as torching Jet-Skis or blowing up banks - that leave his human targets shaken but re-educated.

    Herv J. Peairs says: "Therapy for green folk"
    "Therapy for green folk"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Sick Puppy to be better than the print version?

    I do enjoy listening to Carl Hiaasen novels in the car, but I'm sure I'd enjoy the printed word as well. Sick Puppy is a good one for the commuter -- not too hard to follow and plenty of good laughs.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Skink is always awesome. But in this case I really enjoyed Twilley Spree's antics.


    Have you listened to any of George Newbern’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, Seabiscuit: An American Legend. Both books were well-read.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Well, one or two moments were moving, but I don't want to write a spoiler.


    Any additional comments?

    Hiaasen's novels are satirical crusades against government corruption, corporate greed, and most of all, land development and other crimes against nature. He does not spare either side of the aisle, but I suspect that if you tune in to conservative talk radio, you will not like this book. On the other hand, if you are inclined to make donations to The Nature Conservancy and similar-minded groups, Hiaasen may stop your tears for at least a little while.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Maltese Falcon

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Dashiell Hammett
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    Overall
    (814)
    Performance
    (339)
    Story
    (337)

    Hard-boiled detective Sam Spade is hired to locate a client's sister by tailing the sister's companion. Spade's partner Miles Archer takes on the assignment, and quickly both Archer and the man he was shadowing are murdered. As Spade pursues the mystery of his partner's death, he is drawn into a circle of colorful characters, and they are all after a legendary statuette of a falcon that had long ago been made for King Charles of Spain. Encrusted with jewels, it is worth a fortune.

    Jim says: "A little overacted"
    "Good listen in spite of weak narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Maltese Falcon again? Why?

    I would not listen to The Maltese Falcon again because it's a pretty simple story, and in this case, there's no reason to go back for the narration.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed the physical descriptions of Sam Spade and his witty dialog with other characters.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator's voice characterizations were for the most part, Saturday morning cartoon-ish, and the lines just felt poorly acted. His Sam Spade wasn't too bad, which saved it, and non dialog was just fine.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I felt no need to listen to this book all in one sitting, but that's not my style anyway.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're a fan of detective fiction and noir, are on the lookout for light entertainment, and haven't seen the movie for so long you don't remember the plot, I would go ahead and give this a try. It's a good story. If you are picky and feel life is too short to spend on anything but the best, then give it a pass.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sharpe's Rifles: Book VI of the Sharpe Series

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (337)
    Performance
    (159)
    Story
    (161)

    It's 1809 and the powerful French juggernaut is sweeping across Spain. Lieutenant Sharpe is newly in command of the demoralized, distrustful men of the 95th Rifles. He must lead them to safety - and the only means of escape is a treacherous trek through the enemy-infested mountains of Spain.

    Joe says: "Historical Fiction at it's best."
    "Enjoyable, but not the best in the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been trying to take the Sharpe series in chronological order. I listened to the first two (Sharpe's Tiger and Sharpe's Triumph), read the third (Sharpe's Fortress), and then skipped a couple to listen to Sharpe's Rifles. Of the three audiobooks, I rate the first two as five stars. These were written a decade later than Sharpe's Rifles, and Cornwell seems to have honed his skills during that time. Sharpe's Rifles is still a very enjoyable listen, but if you are sampling the series for the first time, start with Sharpe's Tiger..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pillars of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13249)
    Performance
    (5581)
    Story
    (5625)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Got 40 hours to kill? You’ll find the time when you start listening to Lee’s take on Follett’s epic – and widely celebrated – novel of 12th-century England. The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...and of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame....

    CynNC says: "Captivating"
    "Can this many people be wrong?"
    Overall

    Yikes. This is the last time I trust a 4.5 star review on Audible. If, to go with your historical novel, you would like plausibility, period feel and accuracy, three-dimensional characters, literary grace, and clever plotting, look elsewhere. If you start this book and then start frowning, trust your instincts.

    5 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Doctor Thorne

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (47)

    Doctor Thorne adopts his niece Mary, keeping secret her illegitimate birth as he introduces her to the best local social circles. There she meets and falls in love with Frank Gresham - the heir to a vastly mortgaged estate and obliged to find a wealthy wife. Only Doctor Thorne knows that Mary is to inherit a large legacy that will make her acceptable to the otherwise disapproving middle-class society to which Frank belongs.

    Connie says: "balm for the soul"
    "One of Trollope's best"
    Overall

    Hooray for Audible for adding this and Framley Parsonage to their library. Doctor Thorne is considered one of Trollope's finest novels. Simon Vance does a nice job reading. Now let's hope they add The Last Chronicle of Barsetshire.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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