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Mark

MTF

Waltham, MA, United States | Member Since 2010

223
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 125 reviews
  • 151 ratings
  • 323 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
37

  • Time and Again

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs)
    • By Jack Finney
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (466)
    Performance
    (372)
    Story
    (376)

    Transported from the mid-twentieth century to New York City in the year 1882, Si Morley walks the fashionable "Ladies' Mile" of Broadway, is enchanted by the jingling sleigh bells in Central Park, and solves a 20th-century mystery by discovering its 19th-century roots. Falling in love with a beautiful young woman, he ultimately finds himself forced to choose between his lives in the present and the past. A story that will remain in the listener's memory, Time and Again is a remarkable blending of the troubled present and a nostalgic past....

    Mark says: "Best time travel novel; my very favorite audiobook"
    "Best time travel novel; my very favorite audiobook"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At the end of Stephen King's 11/23/63, the author thanked Jack Finney for writing the Time and Again, the classic of the genre. That planted the seed in my head to check out the audiobook. Stephen King was right. I liked 11/23/63, but it does not compare to the great Finney novel. I have read Time and Again twice, and loved the audiobook just as much as I enjoyed reading and rereading that novel. This story makes New York City in the 1880's totally come alive. I felt transported in a way that no other time travel story has done. Si Morley is the man who travels back from 1970. He is an artist, and describes 19th century NYC as only an artist can do. This novel is also a mystery and love story, and has an action-adventure element to it. The only weakness with this story is the very flimsy science that this time travel experiment is based on. Don't let that ruin this otherwise amazing and wondrous novel. I have listened to many audiobooks in the past few years, and Time and Again may be my very favorite. I already know that this will be one I will listen to again. The reader is great. It's a first person narrative, and the voice fits perfectly with the narrator, Si. He also sounds like he is from 1970. One other good feature - there are few details from modern life, and the "present" could be 2012 as well as 1970. The author clearly wanted to write a novel that would not be dated in a few years. He succeeded.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3194)
    Performance
    (2848)
    Story
    (2834)

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "Too long mystery/historical fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like mysteries, and I like historical fiction, and this novel seemed like a great combination of both, with some witchcraft thrown in. There were engaging parts of this tale of a witchcraft trial in a small southern settlement in 1699. I liked the two main characters, a magistrate and his curious, smart, and precocious clerk. My problem was that there were not 30 hours of material in this story to keep it engaging the whole time. There were times I asked myself if I liked it enough to stick with it for another 20 hours. It barely passed that test. The novel did pick up near the end, even if it descended more into true pop fiction. In short, I give this a mixed review. I did stay with the whole thing, which says a lot. Still, it could have been a lot better 20 hour novel with better editing. The slow pace, though, was in keeping with the times, and the reader was quite good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cuckoo's Calling

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (8490)
    Performance
    (7678)
    Story
    (7693)

    After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

    Tracey says: "Unbelievable debut mystery set in London"
    "Too talky for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The start of this novel grabbed me. I liked the two main characters in this mystery - a disabled vet turned private detective (Strike) and his office temp woman (Robin). But as the story went on, it became just one interview after another, as Strike tried to see if the celebrity suicide was in fact a murder. Not much happened, and the personalities of the main characters took a back seat. Halfway done, I decided that I'd rather find something to listen to that would engage me more. I did like the writing, but my mind began to wander, making it harder to appreciate the nuances of testimony and evidence. I expect that there are many who like this kind of old fashioned novel, but it was not enough to keep my attention.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Providence of Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brian Staveley
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (606)
    Performance
    (552)
    Story
    (550)

    Having learned the identity of her father's assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, the people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.

    Christopher says: "Leaves you wanting more."
    "an impressive fantasy sequel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved The Emperor's Blades. I liked The Providence of Fire. I should say that I rarely read fantasy, but coming of age stores are one of my favorite genres. That's likely why I preferred the first novel. The second is a much more complex story, and the plot was cool and the writing once again amazing. I actually wish that I had read this instead of listened. I don't have a great auditory memory. I would have liked to more easily flip back to reread parts. This was my problem with later books in The Game of Throne series, which I suppose means that Staveley is in good company. While I liked this novel, real fantasy buffs will probably love it. I look forward to volume 3, and plan to read that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (894)
    Performance
    (742)
    Story
    (738)

    The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career - 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: "From Powerful to Powerless"
    "History at its best!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This continues one of the great series in American history. LBJ is one of the most interesting and complex characters in US history, and Robert Caro is one of the great writers of nonfiction. This combination cannot be beat. The earlier books are great, but this book stands on its own as well. There is a lot on the Kennedy brothers (Jack and Bobby) which I enjoyed as well. The book covers Johnson's years running for VP with Kennedy, his years a vice president, and the first few months of his presidency. This held my attention like an engaging novel. I learned a lot too. I cannot speak highly enough about Robert Caro and his LBJ series.

    This is a fairly long book, and for the first time, I read the ebook version, and tried Whisper Sync to switch back and forth between audio and reading. The narrator was great, and the synching was all automatic! I did need to download the Audible app on my iPhone, and listen through that and not iTunes. When I switched devices, within 5 seconds, I was asked if I wanted to go forward to the spot the other device was at. This book was equally compelling reading or listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The President's Pilot

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Robert Gandt
    • Narrated By Thomas Block
    Overall
    (461)
    Performance
    (419)
    Story
    (414)

    A year and a half into her first term as President of the United States, Libby Paulsen is in a world of trouble. Her controversial agenda has placed her in a doomsday clash with a right wing cabal led by an enigmatic Air Force general. The conspirators will stop at nothing - including assassination - to remove Libby Paulsen from office. When the cabal targets Air Force One, Libby's Presidency - and her life - rest in the hands of a maverick pilot named Pete Brand, a man with whom the President shares a long-smoldering secret.

    Matthew says: "Gives a whole new meaning to Snakes on a Plane!"
    "nonstop action, intrigue, and fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this novel. It was as suspenseful and addictive as those first seasons of 24, the TV series. This is the story of a plot by a right wing element of the military to kill the president and vice president, and covertly take over the US government. Is it realistic? No. A conspiracy could not get that big without a leak somewhere, but if you suspend your belief a bit and sit back to enjoy the ride, you might have a blast. I did. I really could not stop listening! I have given almost no 5 star ratings to novels of this genre. I bought this on a whim, and it was so much fun. Much of it takes place on Air Force One, as the president's pilot pulls out all stops in his effort to save the president. Of course, the president (a woman) and the pilot have a past. I'll say no more. I enjoyed this from the first second to the last. One caution - I was shocked at how bad the reader seemed at first with his stilted pronunciation and old man voices. I thought I'd quit soon, but the novel sucked me in so fast, and at one point, I started to like what the reader brought to the book. It all worked for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Me Before You: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4134)
    Performance
    (3714)
    Story
    (3734)

    Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

    Bonny says: "Will & Louisa - each has what the other one needs"
    "Very engaging novel, start to end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel grabbed me from the start, and I loved it right to the end. A working class 20-something English woman becomes caretaker for a wealthy quadriplegic young man. This story is filled with interesting and believable characters, and touches your heart throughout. There are small twists and turns which I won't say too much about, for fear of being a spoiler. While this feels like a story that will draw more female listeners and readers, I think men and women will both like this. It is both a feel-good and sad story. I liked Moyes's One Plus One, yet liked this even more. This was my favorite audio-novel in quite a while.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Fighting Chance

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Warren
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Warren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (664)
    Performance
    (617)
    Story
    (617)

    As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and then become an elementary school teacher - an ambitious goal, given her family’s modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but 15 years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: could she come to Washington, DC, to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws?

    Amy says: "Great Book. Great Narration."
    "Mostly interesting look at money and politics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this to learn more about my senator. I expected more equal parts memoir and politics, but it was almost all politics, especially after the first couple hours. The most fascinating part was the battle for financial reform after the economic collapse during the Bush years. Everyone knows that politics and and money are deeply connected, and this book made that connection so clear. I admire Elizabeth Warren for the battle she fought to level the playing field. That said, she repeated her same message again and again, making parts of this feel repetitive. And while I believe that her empathy for the "little people" is real, I wanted to hear more of her ideas on the ways to tackle many of the country's problems. Elizabeth Warren's voice was too much at times. What works for a revved up 20 campaign talk can get tiresome for a full book. I am still glad I listened to this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cop Town

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Karin Slaughter
    • Narrated By Kathleen Early
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (901)
    Performance
    (754)
    Story
    (763)

    Atlanta, 1974: It's Kate Murphy's first day on the job, and the Atlanta Police Department is seething after the murder of an officer. Before the day has barely begun, she already suspects she's not cut out to be a cop. Her male uniform is too big, she can't handle a gun, and she's rapidly learning that the APD is hardly a place that welcomes women. Worse still, in the ensuing manhunt she'll be partnered with Maggie Lawson, a cop with her own ax to grind.

    Ronna says: "Women cops in bigoted 1974 Georgia"
    "slightly juvenile but still engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This police story features two women trying to make it as police officers in Atlanta in the 1970's. A big part of this was about their hurdles in that all-male world of police. I was okay with that, but virtually every male officer we meet is a chauvinistic lout. I could buy that (even as a guy). The women were too naive with a total lack of confidence. Even that I bought, but those women were stupid too often, with me the reader frustrated with their obtuseness. Of course they grow on the job over a very short period of time. It was very predictable. The characters lacked depth and nuance. It is also a book that will appeal more to women, I think. As a guy, I sometimes felt like I was eavesdropping where I was not supposed to be. With all those criticisms, I still gave this three stars because it was a fun engaging cop story where I was rooting for the good guys to beat the bad guys. The writing is good for this genre, and the action sequences are pretty gripping, even if I know where things are going.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • NOS4A2: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Kate Mulgrew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3598)
    Performance
    (3336)
    Story
    (3339)

    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.

    Jacqueline says: "Finish to Start Excellent is Novel This"
    "Too familiar territory"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book because I have enjoyed many Stephen King novels, and this story seemed similar. The first 15 minutes were great, and then I quickly grew bored. What makes many Stephen King books so good is the way the reader cares about everyday people before the creepiness and supernatural kick in. Thirty years ago, I may have liked this, but I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I had read this before, and I quit halfway through the first part. The novel was too long for me to wait and hope it picked up. Maybe it did, but I didn't care to wait.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brewster

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mark Slouka
    • Narrated By Brian Troxell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    When Jon and Ray form a tight friendship, they find in each other everything they lack at home, but it’s not until Ray falls in love with beautiful, headstrong Karen Dorsey that the three friends begin to dream of breaking away from Brewster for good. Freedom, however, has its price. As forces beyond their control begin to bear down on them, Jon sets off on the race of his life - a race to redeem his past and save them all.

    Mark says: "OK 60's coming-of-age story"
    "OK 60's coming-of-age story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel had the feel of a true life gritty memoir. It's about trying to fit in during tough high school years. It focuses on three misfit friends and a girlfriend of one. The protagonist deals with the guilt of surviving the death of a brother. Running track is his outlet. The time and place rang true, and as a guy who grew up in the same era, I can say that the author had the language of the times right. There is not too much of a plot line (making it more artsy...), with some themes running through it. You will probably guess the main theme early one, but I won't be a spoiler. The story never engaged me as a whole, yet I enjoyed many parts, and stayed to the end of this short novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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