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Virginia | Member Since 2003

119
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 242 ratings
  • 1198 titles in library
  • 68 purchased in 2014
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  • Changes: The Dresden Files, Book 12

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5535)
    Performance
    (4002)
    Story
    (4003)

    Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it-against Harry.

    Amazon Customer says: "WOW. I'm stunned!"
    "WOW. I'm stunned!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Butcher's latest Dresden File is OUTSTANDING. Yes, totally worthy of All Caps OUTSTANDING. If you think that because you've read his past Dresden novels, you know how this one is going to end... prepare to be shocked. "Changes" is definitely an appropriate title for this book. I won't go into the plot, because anything beyond what the publishers already described would be far too spoilerish.

    I also have to say something about James Marsters- the narrator. Holy Cheese Doodles is this guy good. He can make a shout sound like a shout without it hurting your eardrums, he can meld his voice so it sounds, very believably, like a female whisper. He can produce the crack of dry humor and the choke in his throat when deep sorrow is called for. He did an excellent job of narrating this book and I was left wishing he had been hired to narrate the Codex Allera books that Butcher has also written. (but that is another review.)

    Can't say enough good things about this one. Definitely worth the buy.

    30 of 31 people found this review helpful
  • Off to Be the Wizard

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Scott Meyer
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1479)
    Performance
    (1389)
    Story
    (1398)

    It's a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble. Oh, and boy meets girl at some point.

    Charles says: "Fantastic"
    "I love this concept."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Hilarious plot, very relatable for real nerds. Luke Daniels really made this story come alive. Not sure I'd have liked it as much if I'd read it instead of listened. He did a brilliant job.

    The only thing I'd add to the other reviews is that Meyer's depiction of Gwen is completely flat. (and she's literally, the only female character. Well, except for Martin's Mom, who has a very tiny part to play) It was as if Meyer stuck her up on a pedestal and didn't know what else to do with her. She's the most attractive and clever person in the realm, and completely uninteresting. No flaws, no depth. She does nothing except perform a predictable bit of deus ex machina during a higher action scene. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but I really felt like there was too much emphasis on how *amazing* and *foreign* females are to males in the world of the nerds. Being a gamer chick, I found it pretty tiring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sherlock Holmes in America

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Jon L. Lellenberg (editor), Martin H. Greenberg (editor), Daniel Stashower (editor)
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (327)
    Performance
    (283)
    Story
    (284)

    Just in time for Sherlock Holmes, the major motion picture starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law: the world’s greatest fictional detective and his famous sidekick Dr. Watson are on their first trip across the Atlantic as they solve crimes all over 19th-century America - from the bustling neighborhoods of New York, Boston, and D.C. to fog-shrouded San Francisco. The world’s best-loved British sleuth faces some of the most cunning criminals America has to offer and meets America’s most famous figures.

    J. Comeaux says: "Laugh out loud stories clever and smart"
    "Some Were Excellent, Some Were Highly Questionable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As with most multi-author anthologies, this one is a jelly bean bag of stories. Some are worth savoring, others are bland and easily forgotten.

    Actually, while listening I couldn't help but question the publishers decision to include a few of the stories. The authors didn't seem to much like Conan Doyle's Sherlock. It was as if they took the name and made an entirely new character that lacked any resemblance to Doyle's work. The worst offender was Carolyn Wheat's "The Case of the Royal Queens" - a silly story that almost completely ignored Doyle's character.

    Of the stories written, I thought that Lindsay Faye's "The Case of Colonel Warburten's Madness" stood out as the most true to the original character. Not at all surprising as she did such a masterful job writing "Dust and Shadow"- she's done fabulous work getting into the minds of Watson and Holmes.

    Another great story was Daniel Stashower's "The Seven Walnuts"- even without the direct interaction of the famous detective, Sherlock and Watson's presence is clearly felt. I was delighted by the creativity and humor shown by this author and wouldn't mind reading more from him.

    In addition, Steve Hockensmith's "Excerpts from an Unpublished Memoire Found in the Basement of the Home for Retired Actors" also hit a perfect note, incorporating humor and Holmes' special talents to make a greatly entertaining read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • True Evil

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs)
    • By Greg Iles
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (486)
    Performance
    (297)
    Story
    (298)

    Dr. Chris Shepard is 36 years old, newly married, and well on his way to a perfect life. Or so he believes. But that future is forever cast into doubt the day Special Agent Alexandra Morse walks into his office and drops a bombshell: Dr. Shepard's beautiful new wife is plotting his murder.

    Garry says: "True Evil"
    "Definitely NOT for Hypochondriacs."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I struggled for a few minutes, trying to decide if I should give the story 3 stars or 4. It's really more like 3 1/2. Couldn't decide so I gave "Story"- 3 stars and "Overall"- 4.

    The plot had some fascinating, and truly terrifying qualities. DEFINITELY not for folks who've been effected by cancer! CRIKEY. Iles has a devious streak!

    As for the characters - they had just enough oomph to keep you interested in what happened to them- not quite enough to care about them, though. Mostly You'll just be rooting for the villains' downfall.

    Speaking of the antagonists- be prepared for stereotypes. There was very little that was realistic- or original- about the "bad guys." It was unfortunate that the villains' rants came across as political smearing- it wasn't subtle, and really distracted from the story. Fortunately there were only a few truly eye-rolling moments and the stereotypes were silly enough that they're easy to dismiss.

    As for Dick Hill- he's an adequate narrator, but having listened to him enough times, I've come to the conclusion that he only has four voices. Male- manly. Male- snobby. Female, and female- whiny. They're all southern. Don't expect much more than that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Poet

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Buck Schirner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3733)
    Performance
    (2349)
    Story
    (2338)

    Our hero is Jack McEvoy, a Rocky Mountain News crime-beat reporter. As the story opens, Jack's twin brother, a Denver homicide detective, has just killed himself. Or so it seems. But when Jack begins to investigate the phenomenon of police suicides, a disturbing pattern emerges, and soon suspects that a serial murderer is at work.

    Tom says: "Is Connelly the Best Crime Writer Or What?"
    "Good enough."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not so sure about Connelly's choice in making Jack McEvoy the main character in this book. while a lot of interesting things happen to him and around him, he was kind of... I don't know. Whiny? Unable to connect with the people around him? Pondered his own belly button too often?

    Isn't he supposed to be the kind of talented reporter that gets people talking? He never acted like he was. McEvoy must have one hell of a golden pen, because I just didn't see it in his interactions with the other characters.

    That said, the plot was pretty good, though I didn't really care about the twists at the end. Felt like Connelly didn't supply enough info during the rest of the book to make the revealing of his villain make much sense.

    I hate giving so much negative criticism to a book review. I think I'm just disappointed that I wasn't completely in love with this one. Maybe other reviews shot my expectations too high. I don't know. It's definitely worth a lesson, once. I probably won't listen to it again, and it won't be super high on my list of books to recommend. But worth picking up if you're looking for something to read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Diana Rowland
    • Narrated By Allison McLemore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1311)
    Performance
    (1219)
    Story
    (1218)

    Angel Crawford is finally starting to get used to life as a brain-eating zombie, but her problems are far from over. Her felony record is coming back to haunt her, more zombie hunters are popping up, and she’s beginning to wonder if her hunky cop-boyfriend is involved with the zombie mafia. Yeah, that’s right—the zombie mafia. Throw in a secret lab and a lot of conspiracy, and Angel’s going to need all of her brainpower—and maybe a brain smoothie as well—in order to get through it without falling apart.

    Lupdilup says: "A seameless continuation to a great series!"
    "Suffers from too much editing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Rowland's editor needs to put down the red pen and back away.

    LOVE this zombie series, love the humor, the sciencey lab crap, the icky brain gore, and the thoughtful way Rowland touches on addictions and our relationships with people who have them. Seriously good themes, and they're all here in this book.

    That said, the STORY here felt abridged. I had to come back and check to make sure I hadn't actually bought that version of the book. When I saw that I really HAD bought the Unabridged version, I was pretty disappointed. There wasn't much to this mystery. A few scenes after Angel meets her boyfriend's mafia-esque uncle, she's sitting in front of the evil villain monologuing on about his/her evil shenanigans. Cut to a brief climactic action scene AND! Story's over. With not much closure. (no spoilers here, but seriously, that's it?)

    I know Rowland is capable of more than this, and her first in the series was SO GOOD, I'm going to go ahead and get book three. Still... feel like I was a bit short-sheeted, you know?

    PS- Allison McLemore is, as ever, one of my top five favorite narrators on Audible. This chick ROCKS.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1421)
    Performance
    (1300)
    Story
    (1297)

    Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale....

    Nancy J says: "I LOVE this Book!"
    "Narrator needs to slow down."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I try not to be too hard on narrators, but the truth is they can either make or break a book in audio. Holdbrook-Smith didn't have an unpleasant voice, he enunciated just fine so he was easy to understand, but he read so quickly it was hard to get a handle on what was happening.

    The narrator really needed to give his reading a sense of pacing appropriate to what was happening in the story. There were a few times when a joke would just fly by, giving the listener no time to appreciate it. There were other times that the suspense of a scene was ruined because he sped through it so quickly- there was no time for me to get worried for the characters.

    It was almost as if he'd made a bet with the production team that he could keep the book under 10 hours, and he was determined to squeak it in.

    As for the story itself, it was good. Although, I think I'd have been able to appreciate the work Aaronovitch put into it better if I'd read it instead of listened.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 1776

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By David McCullough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4721)
    Performance
    (1903)
    Story
    (1912)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: If you ever thought history was boring, David McCullough’s performance of his fascinating book will change your mind. In this stirring audiobook, McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence, when the whole American cause was riding on their success.

    Mark says: "Front Seat on History"
    "Important History almost never taught or told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm going to try to be honest here, because I think this is an important book that deserves to be read. That said, I think there were a few production issues, and you might want to consider them before you decide whether or not to purchase as an audio book or read the text. So here we go...

    Once you've read about this time period, you'll find yourself wondering why on earth you never learned about it while in grade school? Not just because it's important to understand our roots, but also because it's damn good entertainment.

    You might be disappointed if you are looking for a more personal telling of the events in America during 1776, but instead find a straight recitation of battles and troop movements. That said, McCullough does sprinkle in a fair amount of quotes from correspondence in this telling, for which I'm very grateful. Still, many times I found myself wishing he would explain the context of a decision or delved a little deeper. If you're a history nut who knows a bit about the subject, you may find yourself wondering why the author chose to leave certain things out. What the author did choose to include was fantastic.

    Perhaps I'm being a bit unfair in my assessment. Looking back, the dry nature of the book could easily be chalked up to the publisher's choice to have the author narrate it. McCullough has a very pleasant voice- almost too pleasant. I found myself drifting off a few times and thinking of other things while he read from his book with little intonation at all, regardless of whether or not he was reading from dialog or a battle scene.

    Do you remember in school when the class was asked to read from the textbook? And the toneless monotone everyone used? Oh yes. Exactly like that.

    There was nothing grating or annoying about his reading, it was simply forgettable. Easily tuned out. Easy to be distracted by other matters while you're listening to it and suddenly you realize you haven't heard a word of what happened in the last five minutes or so and now you need to rewind a bit.

    Even worse, in the middle of a paragraph or statement, the narrator suddenly goes silent for 10 seconds or more. The audiobook is still playing, but the editors have left huge gaps of dead-air in the middle of the book. It happened at least once a chapter and I always found myself looking over at my smart-phone to make sure everything was working properly, when suddenly it would start up again. It was really annoying.

    It's a shame 1776 was produced in this way, because looking back at the whole of the book, I think it was well worth a read, even worth owning a hard copy on the bookshelf. I suppose that's something for me to keep in mind the next time I notice a historical text narrated by the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The First Assassin

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By John J. Miller
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    Washington, D.C., 1861: As the United States teeters on the brink of civil war, Colonel Charles P. Rook organizes security in the nation’s capital and monitors the death threats pouring into the White House. He surrounds Abraham Lincoln with bodyguards, covers rooftops with sharpshooters, and investigates rumors of conspiracy fomented by secessionists. Yet amid the chaos and confusion, a mysterious killer slips into the teeming city.

    Amazon Customer says: "Entertaining start for a little known writer"
    "Entertaining start for a little known writer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "For people who like this sort of thing, this is just the sort of thing they'll like" - Book review by Abe Lincoln

    You'll need to be patient and stick through the first 1/4 of this book- in the beginning there is quite a bit of "explaining the situation" by Miller, and not a lot of showing. It's obvious the author has a rabid passion for historical fact, so it takes him a while to settle into his tale.

    That said, if you stick with it, you won't be disappointed. Miller does a fantastic job of setting the stage and presenting his characters. Eventually he seems to hit his stride and is better able to share the historical tidbits naturally in the course of the story. Well worth a listen.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Child Thief: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Dan Smith
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (134)

    A troubled World War I veteran races across the frozen steppe of 1930's Ukraine to save a child from a shadowy killer with unthinkable plans. Luka is a war veteran who now wants nothing more than to have a quiet life with his family. His village has, so far, remained hidden from the advancing Soviet brutality. But everything changes the day a stranger arrives, pulling a sled bearing a terrible cargo. In the chaos, a little girl has vanished, and Luka is the only man with the skills to find the stolen child and her kidnapper.

    David says: "Brilliant--both the writing and the narration"
    "Cold, Subtle, and Full of Suspense"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Smith could have chosen any of the characters in his story to be his main character. He might have made it a "coming of age" tale and chosen one of the sons. Or a sinister tale of desperation and sorrow by choosing one of the children who were stolen. These days, it's become popular to have an "anti-hero" and make the villain the protagonist; in which case he might have picked the Baba Yaga to tell the story.

    All of those plot lines have been done before, however, and some of them are getting quite tired. Instead, Smith chose to tell the story from the perspective of Luka, a father and retired Russian soldier living in the Ukraine- the result surprised me. Luka is one of the most well written characters I've ever come across.

    Still, it's not just Luka's story. There is tremendous depth and subtlety everywhere you look here. It's clear how much thought Smith put into crafting this. Even the setting cold, quiet, and dangerous- is given a personality. The result is an utterly unique tale that is haunting me days after finishing it.

    As for Bronson Pinchot- I fell in love with him as a narrator while listening to Larry Correia's Grimnoir Chronicles (for which I hear he's been nominated for an Audie- well done, sir). I cannot imagine a better actor to voice this story. In the beginning, the thick Ukrainian accent threw me. By the end, however, I could not help but marvel at how absorbed I became in the story- completely thanks to Pinchot's abilities. He successfully creates distinct men, teenagers, soldiers, women's and children's voices without distracting you. He voiced both the bark of command and the choked crack of despair during this novel- I really can't praise his work enough.

    You will want to listen to this book. You will want to re-listen to this book. It is that good.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Warbound: Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3153)
    Performance
    (2950)
    Story
    (2941)

    Only a handful of people in the world know that mankind's magic comes from a living creature, and it is a refugee from another universe. The Power showed up here in the 1850s because it was running from something. Now it is 1933, and the Power's hiding place has been discovered by a killer. It is a predator that eats magic and leaves destroyed worlds in its wake. Earth is next. Former private eye Jake Sullivan knows the score. The problem is, hardly anyone believes him.

    D says: "Started Strong-Finished Strong"
    "Hands down, my favorite book of 2013"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Might as well add my two thumbs up to the couple thousand people who have already given this series 5 stars. (this is #3)

    After learning a bit more about Correia, what I find absolutely incredible is that he's only been writing for a few years, 6 or 7 from what I understand. He's incredibly prolific, and with a natural sense of action and pacing in his books.

    Pair him up here with Bronson Pinchot and you've got a series that kicks literary hiney.

    You're probably also going to want to snatch up a copy of the kindle version, because you're not going to want to put these books down- even in bed at night when wearing headphones gets to be a tad bit tangly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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