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Lawrence

master-chef

San Francisco, USA | Member Since 2012

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 24 ratings
  • 122 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
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  • The Guards

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Ken Bruen
    • Narrated By Gerry O'Brien
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (89)

    Still stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda Siochana, and staring at the world through the smoky bottom of his beer mug, Jack Taylor is stuck in Galway with nothing to look forward to. He is teetering on the brink of his life's sharpest edges, his memories of the past cutting deep into his soul and his prospects for the future non-existent.

    John says: "This is literature, not just crime fiction"
    "Almost flawless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bruen captures the pathos and humour of a drunken Irish dick. Self destructive and so human, it is hard not to identify with the lead (I can't call him hero) of this book. Beckett meets Chandler and a stone bottle of cheap gin.

    Offered wine after a dinner of a six pack of beer, Jack says, "Ah fuckit man," then confides that that is the abridged version of the Serenity Prayer.

    You get the picture.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Revival: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By David Morse
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2603)
    Performance
    (2377)
    Story
    (2393)

    In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs - including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession.

    Thug4life says: "Not fit for a King"
    "Foreplay so much better than the climax"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    King is the master of characterization, suspense and tempo. This is a wonderful book, full of believable characters who we identify with in spite of their myriad flaws. Then we get to the punchline and it is so extrinsic it feels like it an escapee from another genre. As if el Diablo got a wrong number.

    Hugely disappointing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with All the Gifts

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By M. R. Carey
    • Narrated By Finty Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2151)
    Performance
    (1968)
    Story
    (1970)

    Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

    Amazon Customer says: "Spoiler-free review below - Amazing book!"
    "Engaging wth Zombies as something other than Other"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Engaging, exciting, devastating.

    Why is it that both zombie tales and porn written by women are so much more satisfying?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By James Wesley, Rawles
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (861)
    Performance
    (754)
    Story
    (764)

    America is in the thrall of a full-scale socioeconomic breakdown. The stock market plummets, hyperinflation destroys the value of the dollar, and the population, unprepared for hardship, panics. Practically overnight, the high technology infrastructure and chains of supply collapse and wholesale rioting and looting grip every city. Law enforcement, transportation, electricity, fuel, and medical supplies are all in the past now, as the country staggers beneath its own weight.

    Glenn says: "Good Story Line"
    "Right wing how-to manual dressed up as a story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Far right ideology rolled into a novel. Less subtle and literary than Ayn Rand. ("There's no government like no government.")

    What is good
    You will learn how to prepare for a societal collapse: what to buy, what to learn, where to make your stand etc.

    What is bad
    This book is horribly racist. The only black character winds up dead with his fingers chopped off after a few paragraphs. Hispanic women might be alright but the men are brutal, dissipated savages, raping and looting and too drunk to fight.
    In order to qualify as a hero, you gotta be 6'2", blond, ex military and a strong believer in Jesus. (The only Jews that get a mention are the kind that believe in Jesus!! The only Muslims are suicide bombers. Israel and Utah collapse, etc.)

    Not particularly well written either.

    But judge it for what it is: a pretty comprehensive how-to manual that won't put you to sleep.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Goldilocks: Modern Wicked Fairy Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Selena Kitt
    • Narrated By Holly Hackett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In this modern retelling of a fairy tale classic, Goldie Lax is a safecracking prodigy who learned her craft from her father and her grandfather before him. When she pairs up with Richard Campbell, who can hack any system, together they make the perfect team, mixing both business and pleasure. When Goldie's grandfather, who survived the holocaust only to end up a nursing home in his 80s, tells her about a horrific crime that robbed a good friend of his family's inheritance, Goldie enlists Campbell's help.

    Lawrence says: "Better than expected"
    "Better than expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A little happily ever after for the girls, a little nasty for the boys and a little story to string it all together.

    "Erotica" is allowed to be trivial. A classic of modern pornography it ain't. None the less, I enjoyed the drive home from work more than usual.

    Holly Hackett. I know it's a tongue twister but you can't narrate this kind of book and pronounce it sphincsta!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Angel Time: The Songs of the Seraphim

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Anne Rice
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (66)

    The novel opens in the present. At its center: Toby O'Dare - a contract killer of underground fame on assignment to kill once again. A soulless soul, a dead man walking, he lives under a series of aliases - just now: Lucky the Fox - and takes his orders from "The Right Man." Into O'Dare's nightmarish world of lone and lethal missions comes a mysterious stranger, a seraph, who offers him a chance to save rather than destroy lives.

    K. Pounds says: "Good, but the resolution felt a bit anticlimactic"
    "Poor allegory"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A redemption tale for an un-involving, one dimensional character.

    This jumps from being a not very good book about an eighteen year old who discovers that he is a first class hitman to being a very bad book about one man's quest to save the Jews of Norwich in the thirteenth century.

    The Jews are so pious and persecuted and so in need of Rice's rescuing that I found it insulting.

    The final straw was brother Toby discovering that it wasn't a dream after all and that his angel needs to take him into another time again - opening the way to make this abysmal story into a series.

    When an author credits wikipedia for his/her research, you know its gotta be fluff.

    I had hoped for something between Lestat and The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. No luck.

    Also, the narration was preachy and irritating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hellbound Heart: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Clive Barker
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (166)
    Story
    (166)

    Frank Cotton's insatiable appetite for the dark pleasures of pain led him to the puzzle of Lemarchand's box, and from there, to a death only a sick-minded soul could invent. But his brother's love-crazed wife, Julia, has discovered a way to bring Frank back - though the price will be bloody and terrible...and there will certainly be hell to pay.

    Kenna says: "Not what I expected"
    "Well written rubbish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Right off, this is not my genre. This book had as much characterization as middling pornography - but wasn't as much fun. Unhappy wives turn into murderous monsters on the basis of a chance encounter with an ex lover turned animated skeleton trying to escape from a hell he chose by mistake... Puh lease!

    Not frightening, not imaginatively gory and to top it all, predictable and moralistic.

    I am the wrong tree for this Barker.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Shovel Ready: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Adam Sternbergh
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (72)

    Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a blown-out shell of its former self. Now he's a hitman. In a near-future New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to "tap in" to a sophisticated virtual reality, and those who are left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets. His new job is not that different from his old one: waste disposal is waste disposal. He doesn't ask questions, he works quickly, and he's handy with a box cutter.

    Lawrence says: "Noir garbageman in dirty bombed New York"
    "Noir garbageman in dirty bombed New York"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Arthur Morey's Tom Waites voice narrates this first person, garbage man come passionless killer come unlikely hero novel with a convincing mix of insight and resignation.

    This book was unexpectedly well written. Rich references give a back story to a man and a New York both devastated by a dirty bomb. The violence is imaginative and sometimes shocking. The characters carry their own motives and complexities. We bond with uncharming people.

    If I have a criticism of the book it is that it has two distinct trajectories in it. Part one is futuristic noir. Part two is dystopia conditioned by an imagined technology. Part one is anti-hero, part two is the unlikely redemption of the hero. It works, but I preferred first half Geiger counters to the second half's "lymnosphere."

    Suffice it to say that I really look forward to Sternbergh's next.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Things They Carried

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Tim O'Brien
    • Narrated By Bryan Cranston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1595)
    Performance
    (1473)
    Story
    (1461)

    Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

    Darwin8u says: "Grief, terror, love, longing"
    "Vietnam is incidental to O'Brien's insights"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Engagingly written - and read. This is about so much more than war.

    Truth in fiction is a hobbyhorse of mine. O'Brien's insights into truth vs authenticity and the relationship between identity and memory have altered my understanding.

    I recommend it to anyone who wants to "get" war without having gone to war and prescribe it for anyone thinking of writing their own fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Danielle LaPorte
    • Narrated By Danielle LaPorte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (227)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (202)

    As the creator of DanielleLaPorte.com - deemed "the best place online for kick-ass spirituality," Danielle LaPorte’s straight-talk life-and-livelihood sermons have inspired over one million people. Bold but empathetic, she reframes popular self-help and success concepts.

    Joan says: "A must read.....liberating!"
    "This is good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Read by LaPorte, much of the otherwise too cute vernacular is completely authentic. It is intimate, insightful and far less fluffy than I had feared. (Starting a new business? LaPorte's most important advice: "Go and fetch the money." At the same time, she frames how much is enough.)

    The text is peppered with apposite and unusual quotes. She is generous to those whose ideas have influenced her, giving acknowledgement and thorough references in case you want more background.

    I am precious about my listening time but this one will get a second listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Zoo City

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Lauren Beukes
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (55)

    Zinzi December has a Sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit, and a talent for finding lost things. But when a little old lady turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, she’s forced to take on her least favourite kind of job: missing persons.

    Dave says: "Urban Fantasy That Does Flinch"
    "Appalling narration spoiled a so-so book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Zoo City floats your boat or it doesn't. The essential idea of emotional baggage being carried around in the form of an animal as well as conveying a special sensitivity or power to the damaged person is interesting. The characterisation is light. The descriptions of South Africa are perhaps less remarkabe if you live in Johannesburg - as I do. Personally I found the end too neat and convenient and the final redemption unconvincingly complete.

    I had a much bigger problem with the narration. It was shocking! The accents were inconsistent and poor. Like listening to an Austrailian actor doing half a dozen accents he has heard for an hour each, all you hear is ham Austrailian. Nobody speaks like that. As a consequence of having a non South African reader, words were seriously mispronounced - in three languages! Slang words especially lose their impact and emotion when said incorrectly. There were five or six moments when I almost stopped listening to this audiobook because listening to it being read so badly detracted from the writing.

    If this is your genre and you are intersted in Zoo City, I recommend reading it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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