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Mark

MTF

Waltham, MA, United States | Member Since 2010

168
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 108 reviews
  • 134 ratings
  • 295 titles in library
  • 30 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
36

  • A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17206)
    Performance
    (13350)
    Story
    (13386)

    A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

    Alisha says: "Good listen, but what's up with the chapter set up"
    "Not quite as good as the first, but still fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I won't tell much about this novel, because it is the second in a series. Read this only if you have already read Game of Thrones. This just picks up where the last ended. Like Game of Thrones, some chapters engaged me and some didn't. With Game of Thrones, about 80% of the chapters engaged me and 20% didn't. A large part of it was who the chapter was following. With Clash of Kings, the author failed by not drawing me into the new characters. I did not care too much for any of the new ones, but loved following the stories of the most of the characters from Game of Thrones. As a result, I enjoyed about 65% of the chapters. Not enough to give it the 4 star rating I gave the first book, but I liked it just enough that I plan to listen to the next novel in this fantasy saga. I do not read too much fantasy, and so to interest me enough to want to listen to another 35 hours or so, some things were very good. I like that magic plays a very small part of these books. They are really human medieval-like with a touch of magic here and there.

    Tyrion is by far my favorite character, followed by Arya and then Jon Snow. I like Catelyn Stark, and care about Sansa even through she is not interesting as a character. Davos and Theon were two new characters, and Theon only became interesting to me towards the end. Daenerys's story and character continue to bore me, with the young dragons the one interesting thing about her. The wildings as a group did intrigue me and finding out more about them is a big part of my interest in continuing with this series. Neither of Robert's brothers were especially interesting.

    Again, the reader is great. Perfect for this novel.

    I am unhappy that very little is resolved at the end of this. The "to be continued" seemed pretty abrupt. Think of this series as one really long novel.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By David Miller
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (470)
    Performance
    (431)
    Story
    (429)

    In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to hike 2,172 miles of the Appalachian Trail. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail is Miller’s account of this thru-hike from Georgia to Maine. Listeners are treated to rich descriptions of the Appalachian Mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspiration that fueled his quest, and the rewards of taking a less conventional path through life. While this book abounds with introspection and perseverance, it also provides useful passages about hiking gear and planning.

    Phillip says: "Most Informative Book on the AT"
    "Like the trail, a bit repetitve"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you want to learn about what it's like to hike the Appalachian Trail, you might really like this book. If you want to get into the mind of the hiker, read Cheryl Strayed "Wild" instead. David Miller, in AWOL, steered clear of most of his personal thoughts. He played it safe, and I don't really feel I know him after listening to this book. He wrote a diary of his daily experiences and published it as a book. I enjoy the outdoors and enjoyed comparing his hike with my cross country bike tours (you eat better bike touring). I ended out skipping a few parts in the middle because it was too repetitive. At the end, the author says he'd like to do the hike again, but I never gathered that from his daily entries. By the way, AWOL is his trail name. It's not about getting lost. Finally, the wrong narrator read this. His smooth voice never matched the character writing those words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Snow Child

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Eowyn Ivey
    • Narrated By Debra Monk
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1335)
    Performance
    (1166)
    Story
    (1153)

    Debut novelist Eowyn ivey’s experience living in the Alaskan wilderness brings a palpable authenticity to The Snow Child. Alaska in the 1920s is a difficult place for Jack and Mabel. Drifting apart, the childless couple discover Faina, a young girl living alone in the wilderness. Soon, Jack and Mabel come to love Faina as their own. But when they learn a surprising truth about the girl, their lives change in profound ways.

    Bonny says: "Magical, realistic and well worth listening to"
    "good at times (to a guy)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm guessing that women might like this more than men. A middle aged couple connected with a young girl who may be real or may be their snow girl come-to-life.My sister recommended it and I gave it a shot. I was intrigued with a book about the Alaska wilderness in the early 20th century. I was okay with a fairy tale aspect, and this drew me in at times, while at other times I thought it was too much. The characters seemed a little "light" with the men too often portrayed as stereotypically dense compared to women (maybe men are, which is why women would like this more). There were enough parts that worked, though, that I stayed with this until the end. I did not think this was too slow, a common criticism of others. The pacing seemed right for this story. I liked the fine line this walked between fairy tale and true-life. It keeps one guessing.This felt a bit like a Young Adult novel, and a good one at times. Not my favorite but somewhat entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dog Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Peter Heller
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1050)
    Performance
    (932)
    Story
    (936)

    Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists beyond the airport.

    Melinda says: "Absolutely Stellar!"
    "a great novel!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved The Dog Stars. It felt like a fresh take on a post apocalyptic world (a flu variation wiped out most of humanity). This first person narrative focused more on the narrator's state of mind, past and present. This story transplanted me to his world. While there are scenes of action and violence, they are few and far between, with the horror of the world being more psychological. It's a tale of Hig, his beloved dog, his airplane, and his brilliant and angry survivalist partner Bangley. I was fascinated with the relationship between Hig and Bangley. While there were some times when the narration was a little over-the-top wistful, I still loved this book. It has stayed with me in a way that few books do. This lends itself especially well to the audio format. This had a bit of the feel of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, with The Dog Stars being more engaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Accounting

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By William Lashner
    • Narrated By Eric G. Dove
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (205)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (187)

    Jon Willing was just a teenager when he and his buddies Augie and Ben stole a fortune in drug money. Brazen with youth and stoned out of their gourds, they thought they had the perfect plan for getting away with it. They were wrong. Twenty-five years later, Jon’s marriage is in ruins, his kids are virtual strangers, and the recession has decimated his finances. When he finds Augie murdered in Vegas, Jon knows his past has risen from the grave to grab him by the throat. Now Jon Willing faces a choice: run to a paradise of wine and women and endless sunshine or confront the demons from his past and fight for what’s left of his imperfect suburban life.

    Charles Atkinson says: "A Great Suspense With Great Depth of Character"
    "I couldn't put this down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel grabbed me from the start. I found myself really caring about the protagonist, who narrated the story. He's a middle-aged guy who made a mistake as a teen which continues to haunt him and his family. I was engaged with his present and past life, and was surprised with how much I loved this story. It was heading towards a 5 star review for me, but the exciting, action-packed climax did disappoint me, feeling like something I have read in so many thrillers. The mystery and characters drew me in, but the end just went for the action. Still, I strongly recommend this 4.5 star novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brothers: On His Brothers and Brothers in History

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By George Howe Colt
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    George Howe Colt believes that he would be an entirely different man had he not grown up in a family of four brothers. In Brothers, he movingly recounts the adoration, envy, rivalry, affection, anger, and compassion in their shifting relationships from childhood through middle age. In alternate chapters, Colt moves from a quest to understand how his own brothers shaped his life to an examination of the complex relationships between iconic brothers in history.

    Mark says: "Memoir combined with history"
    "Memoir combined with history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    George Colt mixes the story of his life as one of four brothers (coming of age in the 60's and 70's) along with famous and infamous brothers throughout history. The author's own life story is fascinating, and was my favorite part of this book (it was about a third of the book). This would have been a 5 star pure memoir. Stories of different brothers in history are woven throughout the book - some being major chapters and others being shorter references. These include The Booth brothers, the Thoreaus, the Marx Brothers, and the Kelloggs Brothers. Some of the historical pieces are more interesting than others (the Kelloggs chapter was the most interesting). The way the author left and then returned to a set of brothers was a bit disconcerting. I am close in age to the author, and I enjoyed listening to this book and thinking of my own brother and myself, as well as my own three sons. While this could have been better edited, with some slow parts here and there, I still liked much of it, and loved a lot too. It's a book that stays with me more than other books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Reason to Live (Marty Singer Mystery #1)

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Matthew Iden
    • Narrated By Lloyd Sherr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (410)
    Performance
    (348)
    Story
    (346)

    In the late 90s, a bad cop killed a good woman and DC Homicide Detective Marty Singer got to watch as the murderer walked out of the courtroom a free man. Twelve years later, the victim's daughter comes to Marty begging for help: the killer is stalking her now. There's just one problem: Marty's retired...and he's retired because he's battling cancer.

    William says: "This book was a distraction"
    "predictable but enjoyable mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This very formulaic mystery is about a retired police detective fighting cancer and getting dragged back into a former case where the murderer seemed to walk free. The main character is likeable and believable, and the narrator is very easy to listen to. This novel was a pleasant, fun way to pass the time. There is mystery, action, and romance. This was good "escape fiction."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Michael C. Hall
    Overall
    (931)
    Performance
    (856)
    Story
    (860)

    Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

    Michael says: "Subtle yet Extravagant"
    "Great writing, boring story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think that this story would be better to read, given the great writing Capote uses for his descriptions. It is harder to savor great writing on audio, I think. I never really cared about any characters, and quit halfway through. I understand that the author is a great writer, but that was not enough for me to keep my interest in this book.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Blessings

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Anna Quindlen
    • Narrated By Joan Allen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (292)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (58)

    Anna Quindlen, best selling author of A Short Guide to a Happy Life, returns with this "immensely appealing" novel. The secrets of the past, how they affect the decisions and lives of people in the present; what makes a person, a life, legitimate or illegitimate, and who decides; the unique resources people find in themselves and in a community - these are at the center of this story of love, redemption, and personal change.

    Marilyn M Felix says: "A book club favorite"
    "Very boring!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had read or listened to other books by Anna Quindlen and loved them (One True Thing and Black and Blue). This was just boring. Half the book is flashbacks, and I never cared much about characters from the past. Even the modern story, which had my interest for a while, lot its momentum. In this story, a young man finds a baby in a basket and wants to raise it on his own. He befriends his boss, a strict 80 year-old. None of these characters were realistic to me, and so my heart was not broken, as happened with so many readers and listeners.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Officer and a Spy: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    Overall
    (300)
    Performance
    (262)
    Story
    (261)

    Paris in 1895: Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of 20,000. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus' guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military.

    Ryan says: "Top Notch Historical Fiction"
    "History comes to life in this true life spy novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel tells the tale of Alfred Dreyfus, a Frenchman convicted of treason in the 1890's. It's a tale of politics, the French secret service, injustice, and whistle-blowing. It is a dramatic legal thriller at times. I did not know the history well enough, so I was riveted to this saga, not sure of the outcome. The second half was great! The first half was so slow, I was tempted to stop listening and get my credit back. The story is told through the eyes of Georges Picquart, the a high level French spy in the army. Much of the first half was too much about Picquart's life, and only when it swung back to the Dreyfus tale did it get really good. I am glad that I stayed with this because the second half of the novel is very good, great at times. It is also a story that has stayed with me since I finished a day ago. This was a little bit of work for me to stay with, but the payoff was very big. The parallels to modern US politics (the rift between the parties) and whistle-blowing were uncanny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nine Inches: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Tom Perrotta
    • Narrated By William Dufris, Andi Arndt, Tom Perrotta, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (15)

    Tom Perrotta’s first book, Bad Haircut, consisted of linked stories featuring a shared protagonist. Now, nineteen years later, he has written and compiled his first true short story collection. This twelve story book features a group set in Perrotta’s trademark suburban setting, focusing on the fissures in families and unexpected connections among members of typical American communities, including “Senior Season” and "Nine Inches".

    Mark says: "great short stories capture modern day life"
    "great short stories capture modern day life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    These short stories try to capture modern life for teens and adults. They succeed with both. Many of there are absolutely phenomenal. Many are very good. Some were good but forgettable. A short story has to draw in the reader very quickly. These did so. Believable characters combine with interesting situations. It's impossible to rate a short story collection, because all stories will never be great. That was the case here. But I rated this 5 stars because the very best stories were just so good, and I cannot remember reading or listening to a book of short stories that I enjoyed as much. I will definitely explore this author further!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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