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I'm an aspiring author, a lawyer, a sci-fi fan, a father, and a harsh critic of pretty much everything. I enjoy audiobooks because I read very slowly, and audiobooks allow me to consume novels at a rate that would be impossible for me to achieve with printed text.

Charlotte, NC, United States | Member Since 2011

ratings
98
REVIEWS
63
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
80

  • Herzog

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Saul Bellow
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (88)

    Winner of the National Book Award when it was first published in 1964, Herzog traces five days in the life of a failed academic whose wife has recently left him for his best friend. Through the device of letter writing, Herzog movingly portrays both the internal life of its eponymous hero and the complexity of modern consciousness.

    Chris Reich says: "Grows Within You"
    "Rambling and pointless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Holy hell. My wife recommended this book to me, in what I can only assume was some cruel practical joke.

    I listened for an hour and NOTHING AT ALL had happened.

    I'll return to it again because my wife wants me to read it, but for all of you out there who have free will, run for the hills.

    I'll update my review if I ever hate myself enough to finish the book.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Sycamore Row

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7706)
    Performance
    (6957)
    Story
    (6957)

    Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

    Brock says: "Grisham at his best (again)"
    "Okay but a bit frustrating."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the story, and thought that it had a nice resolution. On the other hand, it suffered from a remarkably annoying premise.

    The whole story is contrived around the idea that this old, dying man changes his will at the eleventh hour, but rather than go to the huge law firm that constructed his last will, he writes it himself, and charges the protagonist with defending it.

    This causes and expensive legal battle that is the heart of the story. Fine. But it all could have been negated if the old man had just gone directly to the protagonist and had it drafted more carefully. Also, if the old man had articulated the actual reasons behind writing the will, the legal battle wouldn't have been necessary at all.

    Anyway, I feel like this plot would have been more at home in 1-hour television episode on some show about lawyers instead of taking up a full-length novel.

    I did enjoy the ride, though, and it was nice to get lost in Grisham's words again after all these years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Stand

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5995)
    Performance
    (5278)
    Story
    (5324)

    This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides - or are chosen.

    Meaghan says: "My First Completed Stephen King Novel"
    "Exactly what I remember from the mini-series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this book hoping that it would deviate significantly from the mini series I remembered from years and years ago, but that was not the case.

    The Stand (mini-series) was my first introduction to the post-apocalypses genre, and it helped to make that genre one of my absolute favorites in all of literature. That being said, this book is deeply flawed, and like so many Stephen King novels suffers from two major problems:

    1) A terrible ending; and
    2) Unnecessary use of supernatural phenomenon

    The Stand could have been one of the absolute greatest sci-fi novels of all time... had it stuck to being sci-fi. Instead it quickly veers into the supernatural, and leaves science in the dust.

    The bad guys are a little bit too evil, and the ending is just flat-out stupid.

    It is a fun journey, though, and if you haven't been tainted by the mini-series, I highly recommend reading the book because it is a very captivating and engrossing (if imperfect) ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All Clear

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1520)
    Performance
    (983)
    Story
    (1004)

    Three time-traveling historians are visiting World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler's bombers attempt to pummel London into submission.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Rescued by the second half"
    "Nice conclusion to the story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm constantly surprised that I enjoy this series because it is so far departed from what I expected it to be, and what I would normally listen to.

    Willis has created a unique historical fiction, that is only superficially sci-fi. At times this is a bit annoying, as a more interest in the mechanics of time travel would have made the plot much more interesting. As it is, this series remains 99% character driven.

    These books were captivating enough, but not particularly memorable. I enjoyed the journey but will soon forget about it and will not come back to revisit it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Count of Monte Cristo

    • UNABRIDGED (52 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By Bill Homewood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (403)
    Performance
    (361)
    Story
    (363)

    On the eve of his marriage to the beautiful Mercedes, having that very day been made captain of his ship, the young sailor Edmond Dantès is arrested on a charge of treason, trumped up by jealous rivals. Incarcerated for many lonely years in the isolated and terrifying Chateau d'If near Marseille, he meticulously plans his brilliant escape and extraordinary revenge.

    A User says: "This is the definitive reading!"
    "Fantastic narration / book unlike movie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the longest book I've tackled on audible--and the first classic. I don't think I could have gotten through this without the fantastic narrator, Bill Homewood, bring it to life.

    I was worried that this book would be a 50-hour version of the movie that I liked so much. Indeed, it was not. The book offers a richer cast of characters, a much more nuanced protagonist, and countless ambiguities that turn the book into something very surprising and deep.

    The age of the novel is very apparent. A lot of the science it employs does not stand the test of time. The use of poisons and drugs is just plain silly at times. Additionally, the the mindset of the french aristocracy is so foreign and bizarre that the motivations and emotions of characters is downright bizarre to modern listeners at times. This causes some of the impact of the drama to be nullified, which is a shame.

    I was fairly captivated the entire time, which surprised me given that the language and setting of the novel provided many obstacles to true immersion in the story. Here is where the narrator did his job phenomenally well. I have to say that I truly delighted at his portrayal of Noirtier.

    Listeners will probably need to follow along with a chapter summary at parts, as almost every character has two or more names, and some of the Dumas subtleties cause confusion that remains unresolved for long stretches. The language barrier led me to wonder if I misunderstood certain things, or if Dumas was just giving his readers credit by not spelling everything out (it was always the latter).

    I highly recommend this book with this narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spell or High Water: Magic 2.0

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Scott Meyer
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (72)

    A month has passed since Martin helped to defeat the evil programmer Jimmy, and things couldn't be going better. Except for his love life, that is. Feeling distant and lost, Gwen has journeyed to Atlantis, a tolerant and benevolent kingdom governed by the Sorceresses, and a place known to be a safe haven to all female time-travelers.

    Charles says: "Fantastic: 2.0"
    "Fun but a bit cringe-inducing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the first book in this series, though I found it unpolished and a bit small in scope. I those same criticisms apply to the sequel.

    Meyer has written about a universe where literally anything is possible. All the main characters have the powers of Gods... which is why the story feels very small when they are all content to play wizard for centuries at a time. The characters' failure of imagination is disappointing. None of them create anything new... they just emulate works of fiction of their respective time periods of origin, or they recreate the past from the same set of fairy tales.

    I found the romance in the book to be extremely cringe-inducing. It's one thing to have a couple of awkward and romantically inept characters... it's completely different when EVERYONE in the book, regardless of age, sex or background, all get giggly, shy, and generally emulate the attitudes of 12-year-olds whenever anything vaguely romantic or sexual happens. It felt like these bits of the story were written by a child, rather than a grown man.

    The childishness of the characters were not limited to their attitudes about sex, but instead extended to every aspect of life. Fart jokes were frequent, and nearly every character exhibited a childish lack of self-control. The ill-tempered Treasury agent being the prime example.

    The style of the story remains balanced between thoughtful and bizarrely cartoonish, with characters sometimes saying extremely thoughtful things, while remaining completely two-dimensional.

    Spell or High Water was an enjoyable read, but rather than showing the improvement of a growing author, it was merely a continuation of a small plot, without any growth or development in the story or writing style.

    I'd probably read another book in this series, because at the end of the day it is very fun, and I keep hoping that the author will reach his potential.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Billy Crystal
    • Narrated By Billy Crystal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1387)
    Performance
    (1262)
    Story
    (1259)

    Billy Crystal is 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like ""Buying the Plot"" and ""Nodding Off,"" Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, and his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Listeners get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever ""test positive for Maalox""), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (""the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac""); grandparenting; and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.

    Pamela says: "Growing up with Billy Crystal"
    "Good but overrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a Billy Crystal fan. I enjoy his movies, and I liked this book.

    That being said, I think that it got a lot more praise than it deserved, and I think that reading the book in front of a live audience should have disqualified it from being eligible for "best narration". It was amusing, but half of it was essentially a comedy album. Not really a fair competition.

    Anyway, I enjoyed Crystal's stories, but like all comedians of a certain age, his humor frequently felt flat. It was rehashed jokes I've heard other places for years now.

    Crystal's life was interesting, and the book held my attention. But the book was also about growing old, and was frequently depressing and sad. Like the movie "Mr. Saturday Night", referenced in the book with much self-awareness, I found it depressing to see a comedian I love grow old. Maybe that's not fair reason to downgrade my rating... and maybe it's a reflection of my age that I'm just not ready for a poignant swan-song from one of my favorite celebrities.

    Anyway, It's an excellent performance, and pretty good story. If I didn't feel it was being vastly overrated, I would have given it an additional star, but in this case, I do feel it needs to be knocked down a peg.

    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
    (12406)
    Performance
    (4811)
    Story
    (4845)

    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....

    Joseph says: "Good historical setting, but loose story."
    "Captivating and excellent throughout"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, a word on the narrator, John Lee. I've hated John Lee since I heard him butcher one of the Song of Ice and Fire books. I find that he over-enunciates to an obnoxious extent, and he frequently reads dramatic passages and descriptive passages with exactly the same energy and inflection, creating a reading with no dynamic range at all. HOWEVER, in this particular instance, I found John Lee's narration to be very good. His style was well suited to this book, and if it suffered from any of the things I mentioned before, I didn't notice them.

    Now, the book itself: I've been looking for an adventure book that had the feel the fantasy novels I've come to enjoy, but without the crutch of magic and mythical creatures. This book delivered exactly that. There were heroes and villains and vendettas and political power struggles... all very fun to listen to.

    My one complaint with the book was that the bad guys were too bad, and the good guys were too good. The characters had no nuance to them. They just fell flat. I wouldn't have minded this sort of thing 10 years ago, but after books like Song of Ice and Fire, and TV shows like Sopranos, Breaking Bad and The Wire, morally ambiguous characters have become a must for me.

    To all the people complaining about the sex and rape in this book: grow up. This is a adult novel about adult themes in an uncivilized society. They were explored expertly. Nothing felt gratuitous. Nothing felt forced or overdone. It was just intense. If you can't handle that, go read some young adult fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rithmatist

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1338)
    Performance
    (1232)
    Story
    (1239)

    More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings - merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

    Brandon says: "Beware of the chalk!"
    "Simple, short and a lot of fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sanderson tells the same story over and over in hist books... Mistborn, Way of Kings, Steelheart... they all have the same basic plot arc, protagonist and antagonist. But, Sanderson tells this story well, and the plot twists are always just different enough, and the magical mechanics are unique enough that I still find myself interest and engaged.

    I will absolutely read any follow-up novels in this series. I am very eager to find out what happens to our characters, and to learn more about the world.

    One note to listeners: do a google image search for "rithmatist diagram" so that you can find all the illustrations mentioned in the book. It isn't totally necessary, but it does add an extra dimension to the story.

    I'm giving this story a 4 out of 5 because it lacked the complexity that Sanderson is capable of, the ending was unsatisfying, and the final showdown with the antagonist was really, really, really stupid. It felt like something J.K. Rowling would have written. Our protagonist finally KNOWS who the evil-doer is, but decides to take no further action because he won't be believed... it doesn't make sense, and it was just a lazy on Sanderson's part.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rendezvous with Rama

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1695)
    Performance
    (965)
    Story
    (984)

    At first, only a few things are known about the celestial object that astronomers dub Rama. It is huge, weighing more than ten trillion tons. And it is hurtling through the solar system at inconceivable speed. Then a space probe confirms the unthinkable: Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence.

    Peter Tersteeg says: "Excellent story, terrible naration"
    "Boring and read by the voice of your GPS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This wasn't a story, it was an insanely long description of a setting.

    After reading the reviews, I was prepared for a story that was not character driven. What I didn't expect is that it also wouldn't be driven by a plot. The whole book was a very thin layer of distraction on top of Clarke's incredibly long and dull description of a large spaceship.

    The narrator was horrible. He sounded like a bored robot on tranquilizers.

    Old sci-fi rarely stands the test of time. This is a prime example. Awful, awful, awful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Crown Tower: The Riyria Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2173)
    Performance
    (2025)
    Story
    (2030)

    Michael J. Sullivan garnered critical raves and a massive readership for his Riyria Revelations series. The first book in his highly anticipated Riyria Chronicles series of prequels, The Crown Tower brings together warrior Hadrian Blackwater with thieving assassin Royce Melborn. The two form a less-than-friendly pairing, but the quest before them has a rare prize indeed, and if they can breach the supposedly impregnable walls of the Crown Tower, their names will be legend.

    Tango says: "Delicious Icing on a Terrific Cake"
    "Sullivan converted me into a true fan."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I started listening to Riyria Revelations, it was after just having listened to Way of Kings and Game of Thrones. In other words, the bar was really, really high. In that light, I found his first book to be rather lightweight and fluffy. It was fun, but lacked substance.

    It took me a long time to come back and continue with the series. When I did return to Riyria, I was very impressed by how the story developed. Sullivan doesn't have anything on Sanderson and Martin where world building is concerned, but his dialog and character development is superb. Also, the tone of his books is great fun throughout.

    By the end of the original trilogy I was hooked. The prequels kept the energy and tone pitch perfect, and I tore through this novel and the next in record time.

    I will happily buy any future audiobooks in this series. Oh, and Reynolds does an excellent job narrating.

    I highly recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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