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Amazon Customer

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

80
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 59 reviews
  • 97 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 45 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
5

  • 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
  • Spell or High Water: Magic 2.0

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Scott Meyer
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (63)

    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
    (1386)
    Performance
    (1261)
    Story
    (1258)

    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
    (12402)
    Performance
    (4807)
    Story
    (4841)

    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
    Overall
    (1330)
    Performance
    (1226)
    Story
    (1233)

    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
    (1693)
    Performance
    (963)
    Story
    (982)

    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
    (2164)
    Performance
    (2016)
    Story
    (2021)

    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
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    Overall
    (1990)
    Performance
    (1764)
    Story
    (1784)

    One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming The Dark Knight Rises, lent her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

    Thomas M Clifford says: "In Time for the Holiday.Give the GIFT of a STORY!"
    "I forgot what a dark book this was."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book lacks the charm of the movie. It is an interesting read, in that it illuminates the source of the beloved movie. Beyond that, I could not recommend it.

    Anne Hathaway's narration was adequate. That's the highest mark I can give it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blackout

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1908)
    Performance
    (1185)
    Story
    (1187)

    In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds - great and small - of ordinary people who shape history. In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller, the past and future collideand the result is at once intriguing, elusive, and frightening.

    Monica says: "Double review - Blackout and All Clear"
    "Exactly what I expected after Doomsday Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I skipped over "To Say Nothing of the Dog", and jumped right to Blackout & All Clear.

    The novel is what I expected from Willis: Historical fiction masquerading as science fiction. I find that the bits that occur in Oxford of the Future don't interest me... mostly because they are tacked on as an afterthought. This would normally bother me, but I enjoy Willis's exploration of war-torn England, so I just let it go.

    Willis does an adequate job keeping me interested, though as a I reflect on the book, I'm at a loss to say why. The sense of peril she's trying to create never quite solidifies. And she overplays one dramatic plot device over and over.... I won't say which one--but you'll know it when you see it, and see it again, and see it again...

    I was invested and interested enough in the story to continue on to "All Clear", which I have made a dent in as off this writing. Regardless of how she wraps of the story, I can't deny that I did enjoy Blackout.

    As always I'm surprised that Willis sucks me in. Doomsday Book felt like a bait and switch-- promising sci-fi and delivering historical fiction. I knew what I was getting into this time and opted in anyway. I don't regret it.

    The book WOULD be stronger if Willis was ALSO interested in the nuances of time travel... but she is not. They are a device she uses to get the characters she wants WHERE she wants them, but the mechanics of time travel are never explored beyond wondering why the drops are always a bit wonky.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
    • Narrated By Stephen J. Dubner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (482)
    Performance
    (436)
    Story
    (433)

    The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics changed the way we see the world, exposing the hidden side of just about everything. Now, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems. The topics range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain.

    Amazon Customer says: "Very little new material - deceptively short"
    "Very little new material - deceptively short"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been following the Freaks for a while, so I was excited to get this audiobook and tear through it. But there was little in here that I hadn't heard in their previous books or on their podcast. Nearly everything they mentioned sounded very familiar.

    The book was also extremely short, but supplemented by several podcasts at the end to artificially inflate the length. I'm tempted to ask audible for my money back. I wouldn't have spent an audible credit on such a short bit of entertainment. I could have put this credit towards a 47 hour Stephen King book and gotten waaaaaaaay more for my dollar.

    I like the authors and their style, but this purchase was misleading and lacking in substance.

    Boo.

    26 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • The Android's Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2240)
    Performance
    (1944)
    Story
    (1950)

    A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most unusual way. To avoid war, Earth's government must find an equally unusual object: A type of sheep ("The Android's Dream"), used in the alien race's coronation ceremony. To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero and hacker extraordinaire.

    James says: "Philip K Dick meets Douglas Adams"
    "Exactly what I expect from Scalzi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read several of Scalzi's books now. They are light, entertaining, well-paced and just surprising enough to keep me coming back.

    I've never been blown away by Scalzi... he is very creative, but his execution never quite matches the the promise of his premise.

    Always fun. Never amazing.

    I'll be back anyway.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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