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Jonathan

ratings
344
REVIEWS
54
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
85

  • Pavane

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Keith Roberts
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (273)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (245)

    Considered Keith Roberts' masterwork, this novel consists of linked short stories (six measures and a coda) of a 20th century in which the Roman Catholic Church controls the Western world, and has done so since Queen Elizabeth of England was assassinated in 1588. The Protestant Reformation never happened, and the world is kept in a Dark Age of steam-power transportation, with no allowance for electrical power, by a tyrannical Rome.

    Betty says: "Dense & rich - not a light listen"
    "LeCarre not Baldacci"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a story that unfolds slowly, with no dramatic event(s) at the end of every chapter as is so common in modern pulp fiction. I enjoyed it very much; but then, I enjoy John LeCarre novels - work that some find ploding. It is not Baldacci. (Whose writings I enjoy but would not need or want to reread). The meaning of the word 'pavane' well sums the development of the story.

    Pavane is much better characterized as alternative history than science fiction. There are no gizmos that don't exist in today's world. But ... there is a bit of fantasy.

    PS I use the term "pulp fiction" in the best sense. Hawthorne and Dafoe were pulp fiction writers of their time.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • A Little Night Magic

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Lucy March
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1188)
    Performance
    (1091)
    Story
    (1082)

    Olivia Kiskey needs a change. She’s been working at the same Nodaway Falls, New York, waffle house since she was a teenager; not a lot of upward mobility there. She’s been in love with Tobias, the cook, for the last four years; he's never made a move. Intent on shaking things up, Olivia puts her house on the market, buys a one-way ticket to Europe, and announces her plans to her friends - but then she meets Davina Granville, a strange and mystical Southern woman....

    Elizabeth says: "Not quite Molly Harper, but not bad.."
    "How can this review help you decide"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I try to write a review only when I think I can add something. If you've read some of the reviews you will see:
    1. This isn't a romance. Agreed from my view point as one of the few guys to review this book, too. The cook has no special depth to him and our heroine's idea of attracting him by buying herself a one-way ticket to Europe is lame. What either one sees in the other is never made clear.
    2. It is a fantasy. Agreed. It is the story of a not so young woman learning she has a paranormal ability while living in the world the rest of us inhabit. Fantasy.
    3. "Cute Story" If by that the reviewers mean that there is a germ of a good idea in the magic - it comes in many flavors - yes, I agree. To whet your appetite let me just mention one: paper birds fly.
    4. Wonderful narration by Amanda Ronconi. YES!!!

    What I will tell you is this: Ms. Marsh's fantasy community - the falls - could grow in the next book(s) into an enjoyable place to spend a few reading hours. The idea that magic can come in so many forms has plenty of room to grow. And our heroine? Well, she's not quite TDTL (too dumb to live); she just might be able to learn from her mistakes and become an adult by book 3. I am not a fan of books where the same dumb mistakes are repeated over and over.

    My considered advice: Look for a Magic title by Ms. March on sale. Try it. If you are a Ronconi fan (as I am) buy it when you run out of Molly Harper books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Prayer Box: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Lisa Wingate
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (38)

    When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out the rambling Victorian house. Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola's walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, dating from Iola's youth to her last days.

    Sara says: "A story that draws you in"
    "A book for guys? For me it is."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book about a woman who has been weak and used for most of her life - but not all. She had a baby when young and kept it. She tried to be the country club wife to a Texas jerk and when she fled him ... but she didn't have the sense to bring along enough money to support her two children. She left her kids home alone way too often seeking pleasure / the good life. Not my favorite back story. [I say this as a guy who stayed home with 2 kids for 5 years. It isn't easy. But, looking back, those were 5 wonderful years.]

    She flees to Cape Hatteras. She finds the gumption do get work as a handywoman. What she discovers is what all of us - guys and gals -- want to find. The power of a few strong grandmother-age women. Her boss and friends, her "landlady." They help her find some pride in herself.

    Neither man in the story (the bad boy surfer boyfriend and the good boy school teacher) are fully developed. We never do learn what motivates them Without the power of a central idea I would not have kept listening.

    What is that idea? Well, I would not buy this book looking for a love story; it isn't. If you want one, see almost any of the books by Charles Martin.

    So, what is the idea for which I give this book 5 stars? I won't spoil it except to say that I am in awe of the woman who grew the prayer box(es) over a lifetime well spent. Her story is intriguing, moving and Ms. Wingate makes it feel real. I wish I knew her.

    PS
    I agree with most of the negative things said about the narrator's inability to speak clearly except ... I do like her voice. If she can learn to convey soft sentences without whispering inaudibly ... she could be better than average. Not Amanda Roconi but worth listening to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Tamim Ansary
    • Narrated By Tamim Ansary
    Overall
    (388)
    Performance
    (249)
    Story
    (242)

    Until about 1800, the West and the Islamic realm were like two adjacent, parallel universes, each assuming itself to be the center of the world while ignoring the other. As Europeans colonized the globe, the two world histories intersected and the Western narrative drove the other one under. The West hardly noticed, but the Islamic world found the encounter profoundly disrupting.

    Blake says: "Explains the clash between Islam and the West"
    "Essential"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read a lot of history. (Fiction and "summer reading" too.) Along the way I've been exposed to the "story" of Western Civilization many times. Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Crusades, Ages (many), Wars (Too Many), kings and queens and tsars and Popes and dictators and Vikings, and voyages of discovery. Et al. Etc. Yada Yada.

    What I missed out on was a basic survey of the past two thousand years from a non-western perspective. Ansary offers the basic survey course of what he calls the Middle World and the course of Islam I needed. And didn't know I needed. [Although I've read a fair number of books by non-westerners.]

    Ansary reads his own work. In this case it works quite well. He adds the emotion, the emphasis, that only an author can provide. His voice is pleasant to listen to, too.

    My wife, with a science backgrounds, found Destiny Disrupted as essential, as beneficial, as I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Better Homes and Hauntings

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1005)
    Performance
    (946)
    Story
    (953)

    When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate - he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in 19th-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

    Amazon Customer says: "Disappointing"
    "Would I let (ok, want) my daughter to marry a ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "What she said." I quite agree with the reviewers who love Molly Harper's books but didn't enjoy this one (as much). What can I add from my perspective as a guy?

    Her books about vampires and werewolves and other creatures make me believe - well, willingly suspend disbelief - about them. She got me to enjoy a genre, paranormal, I loathed. Why? Snarky, odd-ball, topical, refreshingly original humor, characters with stories and romance without too much 'tall, dark and handsome.' And a plot. Plots.

    Here is the difference with Better Hauntings: I don't want to know anything more about ghosts. I still disbelieve and did throughout. Each of Ms. Harper's other books made me ask this question of myself: If the world had ... vampires ... werebeasties ... fae ... would I want to be one? Fall in love with one? [Let my daughter marry one?] Yes to all questions. None of those questions has any meaning for me if the subject is ghosts.

    Please: Don't dis my review because you think the cliché quote means I think women are some how less than men. I don't and I have many years of staying home raising kids to back it.

    10 of 10 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
    (7093)
    Performance
    (6747)
    Story
    (6759)

    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?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "If you liked MacGvyer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're old enough to remember MacGvyer, you've probably moved on to science fiction - better yet, fiction of all genres - with better plot ideas and better character development.
    If not, and you are amazed by how 91 different objects in any room can be made into a killing weapon ... or a source of food or a telescope, this book is for you.
    HUGE disclaimer: I couldn't bring myself to use up valuable reading time / listening time. I checked and I got just about half done. If it gets significantly better in the second half, good. Perhaps other reviewer will address this. For me the question is always whether to spend a scarce credit on a book. Oh hum books are not what I want.
    Second Disclaimer: I tried to remove my original3 star rating for the narrator and leave in blank. I couldn't figure out how to do this, so I changed it to five and then back to three.. I'm neither impressed nor unimpressed with the narrator. Listen to the snippet and decide for yourself.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • When Crickets Cry

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Charles Martin
    • Narrated By Adam Verner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (155)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (136)

    A man with a painful past. A child with a doubtful future. And a shared journey toward healing for both their hearts... It begins on the shaded town square in a sleepy Southern town. A spirited seven-year-old has a brisk business at her lemonade stand. But the little girl’s pretty yellow dress can’t quite hide the ugly scar on her chest. The stranger understands more about it than he wants to admit. And the beat-up bread truck careening around the corner with its radio blaring is about to change the trajectory of both their lives.

    Andrew says: "Best one so far!"
    "It is all about the heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Given the zillion reviews of When Crickets cry, I doubt I'm giving anything away to say that the heart plays starring role in the novel. Literally.

    One of extras in a good book for me occurs when I learn something about something. Building cathedrals in the middle ages in the Pillars of the Earth. Aboriginal life in the Inspector Bony stories or monastery life via Brother Cadfael. A favorite of mine in this regard is Prayers for Sale which illustrates much about life in the Colorado mining country (above 8,000 ft) in the late 1800's. Crickets explains much about the heart.

    If you are like me and thirst for some knowledge with your sweet relationship story, this is quite an enjoyable listen. I would say the same about the rowing details except that I know enough about rowing to spot a few errors. By and large Mr. Martin gets rowing right, however, so there is much to learn there too for non-rowers.

    I gave the book 5 stars overall for the reasons above. I gave the story only 4 stars because of a few too many points about which I was required to "willing suspend disbelief." The biggest one has to do with his ... oh, heck, I can't spoil it for you. Just lets say that any one who has struggled to get or renew a medical license will spot it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Girl with Glasses: My Optic History

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Marissa Walsh
    • Narrated By Margie Lenhart
    Overall
    (443)
    Performance
    (373)
    Story
    (387)

    Being a Girl with Glasses isn't just a style choice; it's a way of life. If you've ever had your specs steam up when walking into a bar, squinted into the sun on the soccer field, or laid eyes on a new haircut only after your locks are strewn across the floor, you know what it's like to be a GWG. Marissa Walsh has worn glasses since third grade. Now - 10 pairs of glasses, one pair of prescription sunglasses, and endless pairs of contacts later - she has fully embraced her four-eyed fate.

    Caryn says: "I could not finish!"
    "Calling all four-eyes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you've worn glasses for longer than you can remember, this is the book for you.

    If barns and bat sh&t look the same to you without glasses, welcome.

    If tortoise shell is an epithet, com'ere.

    This book is a hoot. While I can't vouch for the exclusively girl-only experiences, everything else is spot on. Makes me proud to have survived. And reminds me that I've had my present pair way to long. Thanks Marissa.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How to Run with a Naked Werewolf

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1724)
    Performance
    (1615)
    Story
    (1601)

    Anna Moder has just witnessed a shooting, seen her car pulverized, and rescued a wounded stranger - only to discover he's really a werewolf. And by her recent standards, things are actually looking up. Lycanthropes don't faze Anna. Doctoring a wolf pack outside Grundy, Alaska, is the closest thing to home life she's known in years. But hitching a ride to Anchorage with long-absent pack member Caleb Graham - that's a risk. Part of her itches to whack his nose with a newspaper. The rest is trying unsuccessfully to keep her own paws off every delicious inch of him.

    Jordy says: "Funny & Sexy With a Side of Serious "
    "Three's a crowd."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    S'okay. I've listened to both of the earlier volumes in this series and all of the Half Moon Hollow series. As I mentioned in a review of one of them, I'm not usually attracted to books labeled funny but ... I loved the constant stream of puns, non-sequiturs and plays on clichés and commercials in those books. The romances between the feisty woman and strong fellas was enjoyable without too much (for a guy) bodice-ripping.

    Perhaps Ms. Harper's run low on her supply of quips and one-liners. Please, if this is the first Molly Harper book you've encountered, don't buy it (now). Start one of the earlier books. They are GREAAATTTT, as my friend Tony (or was it Flicka?) used to say. Do buy it when you need the ending of the Grundy story.

    Yes, I will buy more books from Ms. Harper and sample anything narrated by Ms. Ronconi.

    [Just, please don't tell Amazon or Kindle my buying plans. I suspect them both of raising prices based on the individual's buying history ... if I buy one, the next one seems more expensive. Perhaps I should sneak in as an avatar?]

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses: Half Moon Hollow, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Molly Harper
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2078)
    Performance
    (1923)
    Story
    (1916)

    Nola Leary would have been content to stay in Kilcairy, Ireland, healing villagers at her family’s clinic with a mix of magic and modern medicine. But a series of ill-timed omens and a deathbed promise to her grandmother have sent her on a quest to Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky, to secure her family’s magical potency for the next generation. Her supernatural task? To unearth four artifacts hidden by her grandfather before a rival magical family beats her to it. Complication One: The artifacts are lost somewhere in vampire Jane Jameson’s occult bookshop. Complication Two: Her new neighbor, Jed Trudeau, keeps turning up half-naked at the strangest times....

    Diana Turmenne says: "One of the best spin offs I have read!"
    "Get it now"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If this book is free, or close to it (as it was when I wrote this review) do yourself a great big favor and buy it NOW. I don't much like humor books, but ... Her quips, jibes, and sarcasm are delivered deadpan, just when one expects a predictable sentence.

    Just imagine what one can do with the line: "He's so vain." If your veins aren't running, that is.

    I'm now paying serious $ / credits for Ms. Harper's other books. Enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Like a Mighty Army: Safehold, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By David Weber
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    Overall
    (488)
    Performance
    (449)
    Story
    (454)

    For centuries, the world of Safehold, last redoubt of the human race, lay under the unchallenged rule of the Church of God Awaiting. The Church permitted nothing new - no new inventions, no new understandings of the world.What no one knew was that the Church was an elaborate fraud - a high-tech system established by a rebel faction of Safehold’s founders, meant to keep humanity hidden from the powerful alien race that had destroyed old Earth.

    Roy J. Meek says: "A long suffering reader ploughs on"
    "Needs to be read ... to see maps ... 3.5 stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The writing is tauter than the last book, which is good because the series is getting bloated.

    David, it is time to bring this series to a conclusion.

    What isn't good is that this book demands maps. There are constant references to various towns and terrain and the ways in which the forces are trying to out flank each other. Without access to the maps (which I assume the printed version includes) I just gave up and skipped over pieces of the plot that relied on geographical information. Buy the book. Or photocopy the maps from the book at the library. Or, better yet, take it out of the library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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