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Brett

That's me!

Charlotte, NC, United States | Member Since 2007

236
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 50 reviews
  • 80 ratings
  • 300 titles in library
  • 38 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
9
FOLLOWERS
19

  • Joyland

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Michael Kelly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2863)
    Performance
    (2648)
    Story
    (2651)

    Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.

    Cozy Mystery Reader says: "The sweest and creepiest coming of age story!"
    "Meh-Land"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Stephen King is a great writer, and no doubt will get plenty of 5 star reviews on his reputation alone. In this sea of glowing stars and smiling faces singing his praises, I hate to be "that guy" but I will.

    This book is nothing new and is pretty average at best. King can tell a story so it is not dreadful, and the short length of this book keeps the pacing moving better than some of his other works of late. Ultimately a handful of things made me not like this book very much.

    1. Overly Sentimental. Geez is King writing romance novels for elderly ladies lately or what!?. No offense but where's the guy that wrote freakin' Salem's Lot! The sappiness in this story was over the top - especially the ending which was almost too much to listen to.

    2. Not cohesive or focused. Was this a paranormal story or a detective story or a coming of age story? The story lines were each sketched out but none carried the weight very well and the intereaction between them was clunky.

    3. It was preachy. The story is told from the perspective of this old geezer thinking back on his 21st year with all the "wisdom" of the ages. Groan. King also throws in all these preachy bits about smoking, racism, religion, politics that did nothing for the story at all. Do we really care that the amusment park was smoke free!? These points took me right out of the story.

    4. This last bit is for all authors out there (like any are reading my review, right?). Please don't write about NC or the south in general unless you really know about the area. It is like a guy born and raised in MA trying to do a NC accent. It just sounds totally false. This book had southern stereotypes and descriptions of the locales and weather that made me go - huh? NC? really?

    I give this book a 3/5 stars. Even though it might deserve a little less, this is Stephen King after all and even I am not immune to his reputation.

    33 of 41 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (678)
    Performance
    (630)
    Story
    (627)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

    linda says: "Cormoran Strike in London's Literary World"
    "Even Better than Cuckoo"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I look back on the Harry Potter books it seems obvious to me now that Rowling (Galbraith) would move into mystery writing. The Potter books were all, at their heart, mystery novels.

    This 2nd installment of the Cormoran Strike mystery series is even better than the first (which I also ranked as 5stars). The recurring characters continue to develop and become more complex and the scenes/imagery are rich and easy to become immersed in. I found this book difficult to put down.

    I think that Galbraith (Rowling) is a great writer. Her characters come to life and in that way she reminds me of Charles Dickens.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Niall Ferguson
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1618)
    Performance
    (708)
    Story
    (701)

    Niall Ferguson follows the money to tell the human story behind the evolution of finance, from its origins in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest upheavals on what he calls Planet Finance. Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot, lucre, moolah, readies, the wherewithal: Call it what you like, it matters. To Christians, love of it is the root of all evil. To generals, it's the sinews of war. To revolutionaries, it's the chains of labor. Niall Ferguson shows that finance is in fact the foundation of human progress.

    Ethan M. says: "A mostly successful and interesting history"
    "History of the world from the perspective of money"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an historical account of money/econonmics in all of its shapes and forms. The book is arranged in chapters that discuss:

    1. The rise of money in society, credit and debt and how hard currency was replaced with paper.
    2. The rise of the bond market and the Rothschild family
    3. The stock market and the bubbles that it has produced (e.g., Enron)
    4. The start of insurance and the management of risk
    5. Housing an mortgages
    6. The effects of globalization (e.g., China's economic development)

    I found this book enjoyable to listen too, but there were times when I wish it had gone into more depth with the explanation of certain economic topics. Still the scope was large enough to give a layman like myself a good survey of topics. I especially liked chapters 1, 3, and 4 but I felt that some of the parts in the (chap5) housing discussion were a little preachy about social inequalities. Also I found the discussion on globalization a little dated - this book was written in 2008.

    The afterward of this book was also interesting but raced through the topic of behavior economics (the irrationality of economics due to human nature) way too fast for me.

    I would recommend this book to those of you that have like popular economic books (e.g., freakonomics, predictably irrational) AND also like history. You must like listening to history books to enjoy this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Reality: Exploring Our Everyday Adventures in Wonderland

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Jim Baggott
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (29)

    A unique fusion of philosophy and metaphysics set against the backdrop of contemporary culture. Have you ever wondered if the world is really there when you're not looking? We tend to take the reality of our world very much for granted. This book will lead you down the rabbit hole in search of something we can point to, hang our hats on, and say this is real.

    Ohhyesican says: "Somebody... Quick... get me outta the rabbit hole!"
    "More Quantum Physics than I wanted to Hear"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book had two distinct parts.

    The first part, which I found very interesting, was a historical account of the philosophical arguments about reality. I think that I had heard most of these at one time or the other, but this author did an excellent job summarizing and tying them together.

    The second part of the book I found less interesting. It was mostly a scientific discussion of quantum mechanics and other theories.

    I suppose that the author intended to show that in these details of science we are back to the same old philosophical arguments that we couldn't answer before. This was an interesting argument but all of the details of all the science (e.g., quantum entanglement) started to bore me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Robin Sloan
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2274)
    Performance
    (2048)
    Story
    (2037)

    The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone - and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything....

    Susan says: "Fun, thought-provoking, mysterious.... and FUN !"
    "For technophiles"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you were born after 1980, believe that computers can do everything, and worship Google with awe and reverence then this story may be for you. This novel grew from a story posted on a website.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Not Taco Bell Material

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Adam Carolla
    • Narrated By Adam Carolla
    Overall
    (875)
    Performance
    (799)
    Story
    (794)

    Funnyman Adam Carolla is known for two things: hilarious rants about things that drive him crazy and personal stories about everything from his hardscrabble childhood to his slacker friends to the hypocrisy of Hollywood. He tackled rants in his first book, and now he tells his best stories and debuts some never-before-heard tales as well. Adam Carolla started broke and blue collar and has now been on the Hollywood scene for over 15 years. Yet he never lost his underdog demeanor.

    Ron says: "Must have for any Adam Carolla Fan!"
    "Not bad but uneven and not revealing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An autobiography of Adam's life told in stages, each stage defined by a house he lived in. This book was funny, and at times even smart, but the extent and quantity of the gross-out gags had an overpoweringly negative effect.

    Carolla narrated this book himself which was fine, and it was mostly really good and original in its approach. He didn't read the book but rather told the stories off-the-cuff in a stand-up comedy style. What I found somewhat annoying here was that he would reference an image in the book and then tell everyone to go buy the print book if they wanted to see it. Also he edited the stories from the book and even left out an entire chapter.

    Overall, I wish that I could have learned more about the Carolla from this book. Why are his friendships so enduring? What has his journey from shoe-box apartments to million dollar mansions taught him? Something more than just a bunch stories about guys peeing on one another (or worse - yes, worse).

    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
    (960)
    Performance
    (855)
    Story
    (856)

    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!"
    "Wonderful - A Future Classic."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Dog Stars was the best book I have read in a long time. A story of loss, rebirth, and growth set in a post apocalyptic world. The author made me feel it all. The loss was painful, the rebirth was confusing and scary, and the growth was sweet and heart warming. I admired the hero who was vulnerable yet strong and innocent yet wise. I was sad to say goodbye to this character at the end of the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • All Seeing Eye

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Rob Thurman
    • Narrated By Jeff Hoyt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (87)

    Picking up a small, pink shoe from the grass forever changed young Jackson Lee’s life. Not only did its presence mean that his sister Tessa was dead - murdered and stuffed in the deep, black water of a narrow well - but the shoe itself told him so. Tessa’s death triggers an even more horrific family massacre that, combined with this new talent he neither wants nor can handle, throws Jack’s life into a tailspin. The years quickly take him from state homes to the streets to grifting in a seedy carnival, until he finally becomes the cynical All Seeing Eye, psychic-for-hire. At last, Jackson has left his troubled past behind and found a semblance of peace....

    Tracey says: "Finally on Audible -- GREAT read"
    "Annoying antihero."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All Seeing Eye was a slow to develop story with so much exposition that by the time any action started I hardly cared. The story was told in first person and clumsily tried to sound colloquial by using slang, wisecracks, and sarcasm. This had little effect. I never believed the main character, and I found him annoying (the narrator only made things worse). In my opinion, the world created in this story felt artificial and flimsy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pines

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Blake Crouch
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1474)
    Performance
    (1348)
    Story
    (1340)

    Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America — or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into his colleagues’ disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what’s the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town? Are they keeping the residents in? Or something else out? Each step toward the truth takes Ethan further from the world he knows, until he must face the horrifying possibility that he may never leave Wayward Pines alive…

    Linda B says: "Well done story"
    "Good Enough for TV..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Pretty good story with a decent mystery to keep you guessing. The pacing was quick, the depth was shallow, and the story was short. Not bad, good for a quick read or a read at the beach. As I understand it, they are making this into a series for TV.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Necromancer's House

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Christopher Buehlman
    • Narrated By Todd Haberkorn
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    Andrew Ranulf Blankenship is a handsome, stylish nonconformist with wry wit, a classic Mustang, and a massive library. He is also a recovering alcoholic and a practicing warlock, able to speak with the dead through film. His house is a maze of sorcerous booby traps and escape tunnels, as yours might be if you were sitting on a treasury of Russian magic stolen from the Soviet Union thirty years ago.

    David says: "Finally - Magic / Fantasy Novel for adults."
    "Decidedly Worth It!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having read his previous two books, I was eager to hear what Christopher Buehlman had in store for his readers in this, his third, novel. A story about witches and warlocks engaged in decidedly human bad behavior but on a scale that make the failings of mere mortals seem trivial.

    I must admit that the style, pacing, and perspective of this story are unlike his other two. This style was off-putting to me at first. I couldn't find the story's rhythm. It had a way of jumping around in perspective, partially introducing things in short bursts – for example like the dialogue from a chat session or a dream. It made me feel like I was missing something, and I had to force myself not to put it down all together. I stuck with it, and I am so glad. There is so much payoff in the second half of this book! Things really get good!

    The Necromancer's House is totally unique and is why I think that Christopher Buehlman is one of the great horror writers of our time. He brings deep thought to the genre and is one of my favorites. I can’t wait for his next book.

    The narrator, Haberkorn, did an excellent job with this book considering the style and the Russian accents. His reading definitely brought the story to life.

    This is book may be an acquired taste but it is taste that will leave you craving more once it gets under your skin.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Virtue of Selfishness

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By C.M. Hernert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (408)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (158)

    Ayn Rand here sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, the philosophy that holds human life - the life proper to a rational being - as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with human nature, with the creative requirement of survival, and with a free society.

    Scott says: "Rand Lovers Only"
    "Is it any better than the alternative?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So much of what is presented here means to tear down the ethical standards accepted by generations upon generations and thrust forth a new ethical framework. What rubbed me the wrong way with these lectures is that the new framework offered has the same type inconsistencies and hypocrisies as the old. It is no more practical.

    What is offered is that we should reject the idea that moral supremacy is sacrifice (i.e., altruism) and replace it with an system that values trade - nothing given freely and nothing accepted without cost (i.e., selfishness). Where the author goes wrong in my mind is that, whereas altruism is painted in a stark all-or-nothing way, selfishness is qualified. The new moral framework is to be built around the idea that mankind should be self-motivated but in a way that benefits man. Huh? Isn’t this being altruistic in some way?

    Lot’s of good discussion here but I thought that some of her arguments largely begged the question (i.e., This new moral framework is better than the others because it is superior in this way, this way and this way). I didn’t finish – Still it was very thought provoking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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