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K Cornwinkle

Say something about Yusef. Uh...he was a great horn player?

San Francisco, CA USA | Member Since 2008

213
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 36 reviews
  • 98 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
10
FOLLOWERS
21

  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5299)
    Performance
    (4589)
    Story
    (4585)

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "Fantastic - this novel is bulletproof"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The structure is ideal. The craftsmanship is wonderful -the novel was constructed and finished like some complex engineering creation, say a high rise or, perhaps a tennis court, cantilevered over the sea. This is not a slight -great art often depends on great craftsmanship. The language shines though for me, Edoardo Ballerini's reading may have taken it farther than reading it myself.
    I rarely laugh out loud listening to novels, particularly since I might be listening with my wife or the three year old asleep next to me. BUT, this made me laugh out loud twice. Once at dialogue and once at a plot twist. Naturally, Beautiful Ruins makes me want to visit Liguria AND perhaps rent Cleopatra.

    80 of 87 people found this review helpful
  • The Mine: Northwest Passage 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By John A. Heldt
    • Narrated By Aaron Landon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books.

    Greg White says: "Excellent Time Travel / Romance"
    "Oh, this could have been a good alternate history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked the premise, and the eve of WWII period piece details were good as Josh gets transported back in time from 2000 to 1941.
    Marginal character development -this has more than a touch of romance novel; Josh is almost perfect in appearance and deeds. Some odd anachronisms in the details and language. I was happy enough to finish it and can even imagine reading a sequel (my standards aren't all that high...) but I did find myself rolling my eyes at some of the language and plot holes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4194)
    Performance
    (3834)
    Story
    (3835)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "If we’re just talking story, kid, you got it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    late in the book Theo remembers or imagines his father saying. And for all else, this IS an intriguing and entertaining story. Picaresque, it ranges from Theo’s coming of age in a forlorn Las Vegas suburb with his inexorable friend Boris to Manhattan and the furniture buying habits of the very rich. Of the many startling but believable coincidences, major and minor, I give one example: The Goldfinch painter and Rembrandt student Carel Fabritius died young in a huge powder magazine explosion in 1654 and, early in this book his painting is in an explosion at the Met in New York. (The painting is amazing and a most elegantly simple masterwork. I want to see it in the Hague someday).

    Like complex clockwork, the story needs all of the small pieces that add up to 32 hours. Some scenes could even have gone longer; more could have been said and it would have been okay. There is a delicacy to the detail of description and narrative that I find appealing. I have always loved picaresque novels most of whose plot twists seem far less plausible than these.

    The narration is great. I am speaking with Ukrainian eccent all the time now I finish book. A good listen.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Sleeping Dictionary

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Sujata Massey
    • Narrated By Sneha Mathan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    The term "sleeping dictionary" was coined for young Indian women who slept with British men and educated them in the ways of India. Set between 1925 and the end of World War II, The Sleeping Dictionary is the story of Kamala, born to a peasant family in West Bengal, who makes her way to Calcutta of the 1930s. Haunted by a forbidden love, she is caught between the raging independence movement and the British colonial society she finds herself inhabiting.

    K Cornwinkle says: "It is a romance but..."
    "It is a romance but..."
    Overall
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    Story

    the setting and events of pre-partition India (1930-1947), mainly Calcutta, and the early horrifying picaresque plot take it farther.

    The heroine, born Pom, is terrifically honorable yet she is tormented throughout by having to keep her origins and early life a secret. A few easily swallowed implausibilities in her early life kept me aware that this was fiction. Lovely descriptions of her world -colors, scents, textures, food. The hero is missing some dimensionality -while she does describe him, I found I could not picture him and his origins and early motivations -he works for what is in part a secret police organization- are not revealed

    I sometimes felt that I was being told the story by someone who, had been part of the Brahmin elite and was somehow narrating someone else's story rather than someone who rose from a very low caste. In a way, it is a credit to Sujata Massey, who did not live in this culture or near this era that she channels the product of some elite Indian boarding school.

    Glad I read it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2818)
    Performance
    (2673)
    Story
    (2676)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold ""human error"" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Engineering Thriller -recommended"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    or, to some, Engineering Porn. There aren't many thrillers that use this much mostly plausible science and engineering. Like so many books, the ending, while appropriate, felt a bit rushed and less complete than the earlier shenanigans
    R.C. Bray is perfect. More than any recent audiobook I can remember, he WAS the main character, Mark Watney, stranded on Mars yet cracking wise in the most dire of straits.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel of North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Adam Johnson
    • Narrated By Tim Kang, Josiah D. Lee, James Kyson Lee, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (904)
    Performance
    (784)
    Story
    (789)

    Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother - a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang - and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

    Lisa says: "The most compelling listen I've ever owned"
    "Hmmm...I liked this very much but"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is an important and good thing that this book gives readers a glimpse of the true horror of DPRK. But ultimately this is a story (as Adam Johnson tells us in an afterward) and while I think it intends to show us how REAL people suffer, the fantastical, which makes it such a great read, makes the characters stay on the page.
    The narration is super. James Kyson Lee as the voice of the PA system in every home -reminded -irony in some way no?- of the disembodied PA voice in M.A.S.H.
    I had tried to post a review with a bunch of links in it. A no-no I guess. North Korea information sites and Kim Jong Il's movie star mistress, Song Hye-rim's Wikipedia page.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Uncommon Carriers

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By John McPhee
    • Narrated By John McPhee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    From Pulitzer Prize-winner John McPhee, author of The Founding Fish, comes the fascinating story of an often overlooked, yet vitally important part of America. This first-hand account of the transportation sector features evocative portraits of the men and women who deliver our consumer and industrial goods.

    Stacey says: "Entertaining!"
    "I love John McPhee -a National Treasure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    His story in last week's New Yorker about his penchant for collecting errant golf balls prompted me to start relistening to this. We had originally listed on a cross country drive so the story of the chemical tanker was perfect. Then, in Wyoming, the BNSF coal train segment was playing as we drove quite close to Powder River where the coal conveyor belt starts. It is a (dryly) FUNNY book (his narration makes it more so) with just the right amount of his personal bias built into the lush descriptions of all these folks who MOVE things.
    This is one of the few books I leave on my phone permanently.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Red Sparrow: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jason Matthews
    • Narrated By Jeremy Bobb
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (797)
    Performance
    (720)
    Story
    (724)

    Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow" - a trained seductress in the service, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America's valuable mole in Moscow.

    Melinda says: "Sexy Saucy Spies"
    "Who said spy stories were finished?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, thank you Melinda. I follow you eagerly. I don't read too many thrillers or spy stories but I trust your judgement and was not disappointed.
    This book feels real and feels contemporary. I can imagine it happening now ~12 years later. The Служба Внешней Разведки and the CIA are still at it -not surprising but somewhat out of sight these days. This book is taut, entertaining, and generally well written -Mr. Matthews uses language well. And it makes one think about the geopolitics that for many of us are normally in the background (though Syria is kind of highlighting Russia's ever-present ambitions.) Serious implications for us what with Russia still holding 3000+ nukes. The two main characters, Nate and Domenika are somehat unbelievable but really, suitable for the story. At the end of each chapter is the recipe of something described earlier. A cute twist, not disruptive and it made me hungry.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Scourge of God: A Novel of the Change

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By S. M. Stirling
    • Narrated By Todd McLaren
    Overall
    (435)
    Performance
    (219)
    Story
    (221)

    Rudi MacKenzie continues his trek across the land that was once the United States of America. His destination: Nantucket, where he hopes to learn the truth behind the Change that rendered technology across the globe inoperable.

    Chris says: "Well Done!"
    "A bit better than The Sunrise Lands"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    but still jolted by Mr. McLaren's mispronounciations. How about sluff for slough and rimpoch for rimpoche? Oh, and folks are still barring their teeth.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Witness

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6673)
    Performance
    (5798)
    Story
    (5775)

    Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever. Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems.

    Nicole says: "A great book"
    "Surprisingly good yarn though chic-ful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Good story and lots of tension. If you are someone more accustomed to conventional thrillers, you'll need to reconcile yourself to knowing in more detail what people are wearing.
    I don't think I ever read a Nora Roberts novel before and skimming some of the other titles at the bookstore I'm thinking (as some have said) that this is a bit different. Glad I enjoyed it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Protector's War: A Novel of the Change

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs)
    • By S. M. Stirling
    • Narrated By Todd McLaren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (622)
    Performance
    (352)
    Story
    (344)

    Rising from the ashes of the computer and industrial ages is a brave new world. Survivors have banded together in tribal communities, committed to rebuilding society. In Oregon's Willamette Valley, former pilot Michael Havel's Bearkillers are warriors of renown. Their closest ally, the mystical Clan MacKenzie, is led by Wiccan folksinger Juniper MacKenzie.

    JasonK says: "Not bad, but not great"
    "The Emberverse trilogy gets progressivley worse."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dies the Fire was interesting and the clichés were newish then but by the time I've heard them this many times and there've been this many coincidences, this much incredible luck, and so many implausibilies beyond the fundamental Alien Space Bat implausibility of the disappearance of explosives/guns, internal combustion and electricity, I'm just plum tired of it. BTW, I'm surprised there isn't more use of hydraulic technology.
    I like Todd McLaren's voice and his acting is good but some accents are off -don't try if you can't do them- and every ~20 pages or so there is a jarring mispronunciation. The persistent corzman/corzmen for corpsman for example is particularly grating. Okay, Obama said it this way once but multiple times in multiple books?
    I think if I had known how marginal this was, I would not have gone beyond Dies the Fire but now I'm committed and my Virgo nature prohibits simply Googling the plot to find out what happens.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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