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W. Brooks

Seattle, WA United States | Member Since 2012

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 23 reviews
  • 59 ratings
  • 198 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015
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  • Life of Pi

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11284)
    Performance
    (6427)
    Story
    (6479)

    Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon it's just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean - for 227 days. Pi's fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle.

    Theresa says: "Best audio of the year for me"
    "Great book. Super movie."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was a little slow getting started, but once it got moving it was super.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ben MacIntyre
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (528)
    Performance
    (269)
    Story
    (262)

    Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero. The problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began.

    Scott says: "Intrigue and True"
    "Slow start, but then turbo charged"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read mostly fiction, but was longing to read something with more substance. This Agent Zigzag book seemed like it might offer the intrigue of a good fiction book, but a real story with real people in it. And boy did it deliver. I also enjoyed the epilogue where Ben MacIntyre brought us to the 21st century with what happened to these real characters. Altogether, a great read

    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
    (7808)
    Performance
    (6936)
    Story
    (6997)

    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.

    Keith says: "Worth the wait!"
    "Long but a good read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I managed to go a few years without reading Stephen King and now in the past year I've read several of his books, including On Writing (part autobiography, part writing tips). Of the novels, this is my favorite so far. It's long. I can't see why the publishers originally forced him to cut it. This is King's original version. I can't tell you what was sacrificed in the first published version. What I liked about this one was how so many of the characters were so fully developed. The only exception to that was Randall Flagg. King didn't give us any hint about why things were happening to him. I suspect that was on purpose, but I don't know why. I also liked the way the main story line wrapped up. Having said all of that, I was ready for it to end.

    Another insight from reading The Stand is how much technology has changed our lives in the one generation since 1990. The protagonists could have really used a good smartphone. If nothing else, the GPS would have been working.

    You don't have to be a Stephen King fan to enjoy The Stand. There is a little bit of the supernatural in it, but not too much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17676)
    Performance
    (16413)
    Story
    (16418)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Macgyver on Mars"
    "Glad I left my comfort zone on this one"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't read much sci-fi, but the reviews said this wasn't like a regular sci-fi. What a fun read. At first I thought all the "science" would grow old, but it didn't. In fact, I found myself hanging on it. Not bad at all! And you got to like the main character. About 3/4 of the way through, I was curious to see if this one would be made into a movie. It has all the elements. So, I called up my IMDB app and sure enough, Ridley Scott has one in the works starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain due for release next November (2015).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Giver

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Lois Lowry
    • Narrated By Ron Rifkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3078)
    Performance
    (2237)
    Story
    (2281)

    December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man, the man called only the Giver, he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

    far_to_go says: "Annoying music"
    "Didn't really do it for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had higher expectations. Perhaps too high. I hated the ending. Just seemed too simplistic, too predictable. I ended it feeling cheated a bit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Edge of Eternity: The Century Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2974)
    Performance
    (2653)
    Story
    (2656)

    Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution - and rock and roll.

    Elisa says: "Some good, some bad"
    "Not disappointed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I consume Follett's trilogies. I like the historical richness of them. I learn from them. Mostly, though, I'm taken by the characters and the situations they find themselves in. This book, as is his style, could stand alone without having read the previous ones in the trilogy. But knowing the family back stories does make it a little richer. It's a long listen, but worth it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Not My Father's Son: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Alan Cumming
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (699)
    Performance
    (646)
    Story
    (650)

    With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as the celebrated actor of film, television, and stage. At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always incredibly brave and honest, Not My Father's Son is a powerful story of embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.

    Angie says: "If You've Been Through Something Similar..."
    "Wow. What can I say?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved listening to this book. I loved Alan Cumming's story and never tired of his voice. I've been a fan of his since The Good Wife started its Sunday night run a few years back. I had no idea, until recently, anything else about him or some of the outrageous roles he has played. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this book.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King
    Overall
    (2558)
    Performance
    (1424)
    Story
    (1419)

    The prolific, perennially best selling author recounts his early life and writing struggles, gives advice on the crucial aspects of the writing art, and talks about his much-publicized, near-fatal accident.

    Bill says: "Excellent!"
    "Got me writing again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I write for a living. Not fiction, mind you. I write for businesses. Many years ago, I took some time off to travel throughout Southeast Asia. On a train about a day outside Bangkok, my mind stumbled across the idea for a novel. Never happened to me before. As I meandered across northern Thailand, the story wouldn't leave me. I made my way south to an island off the Thai coast. There I spent a month in a little beachfront shack furiously writing longhand into notebooks. It consumed me.

    Then my visa expired. As I left the country, it was as if I had sent my story into hibernation. It was something that I never really understood. How do we walk away from things that fill us with passion?

    Fast forward about 25 years. I had hung on to those pages. Nearly 80,000 words. I pulled the notebooks out and started to read. Perhaps, I thought, there was something there for me. The situation no longer worked, but the story still had potential. I changed the setting, the characters and the time. I started over. Again, though, the world of family and job intervened. I didn't intend to set it aside, but that's what happened.

    They say third time's a charm. I think it might be true. As I listened to Stephen King read this book, the confidence I felt on the island returned. So much of what he said, I do. Except for that month on the island, though, I never gave myself to it.

    When I came back to the book a couple years ago, I found myself consumed with worry about where the plot would end up. Stephen King showed me how to trust my characters. And I do trust my characters! I've created some good ones with the potential to be both heroes and villains. Good people with serious flaws and god-awful ones with slivers of goodness.

    I think the thing that I'll take from book that will make the most difference is to just keep at it. Knowing that someone like Stephen King relies on a daily word goal shines a spotlight on why my book had languished for so long. Good days, bad days. Doesn't matter. Give yourself a daily word goal and write until you hit it. He said to start small. I'm following his 1,000-new-words-a-day suggestion. I still have to work and pay attention to my family. And I'm not going to give up my 30 or 40 Audible books a year. Surely (sorry for that adverb, Stephen) I can muster a thousand words a day. I could have a draft done by late spring.

    I don't know if this book would inspire others as it has me. I do know that it was the right book at the right time for me. Thank you, Stephen King.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Allegiant: Divergent Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin, Aaron Stanford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10084)
    Performance
    (9164)
    Story
    (9260)

    What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation - like a single choice - changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected? The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times best-selling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of listeners in Divergent and Insurgent.

    Judy says: "What a let down!"
    "I didn't care for the ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not going to say much for obvious reasons, but I didn't like the choices the author made in wrapping up this trilogy. I felt the path she chose was maybe a valid option, but totally unnecessary. I gave the other two installments in this series much higher marks. It's a good read - and clearly made for Hollywood.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Six Years

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Harlan Coben
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3182)
    Performance
    (2745)
    Story
    (2766)

    Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd. But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for...but she is not Natalie....

    G. House Sr. says: "Obsession, mystery, and you're hooked!"
    "Not a fun read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read a lot of books in this genre. I didn't care for this one. I like stories to give me useful clues as to what in the world is going on. This one didn't. I kept expecting the pieces - and there were lots of them - to fall into place, but that happen didn't until late in the book. There could have been a good story here, but it needed more care in the telling.

    0 of 0 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
    (10150)
    Performance
    (9131)
    Story
    (9141)

    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)"
    "Best Grisham in a long time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you liked the early John Grisham better than the more recent one, you're going to absolutely love this book. A great story with a number of twists and turns. This book is actually a sequel to his very first novel, A Time to Kill, with that book's first protagonist again in the lead role in this book. This book was so well done. It has an easy writing style, which should never be confused with slow. The characters - all of them that matter- are richly drawn.

    And special kudos to the narrator, Michael Beck. He managed to give distinct accents to a host of characters that made the book easy to listen to. I clicked on Beck's name and discovered that he has made a career of voicing Grisham's books almost exclusively. It's easy to see why.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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