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Josh

South Haven, MN, USA | Member Since 2004

47
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 18 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2014
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  • The Fires of Heaven: Book Five of The Wheel of Time

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Robert Jordan
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4555)
    Performance
    (2587)
    Story
    (2620)

    In this sequel to the phenomenal New York Times best seller The Shadow Rising, Robert Jordan again plunges us into his extraordinarily rich, totally unforgettable world.

    Jeff says: "The fires of Heaven"
    "Sigh - are you sick of this stuff yet?"
    Overall

    I have really tried to like these books, I had a hard time with the first one, but after plowing through it I was pleasantly surprised by books 2, 3 and 4 actually being pretty good. This 5th book unfortunately stalls and when not boring me to sleep it annoyed me back to listening to the radio for a while.

    OK, WE GET IT, the men think the women are stubborn and the women think the men are stubborn and stupid. Lay off it already and get back to the plot perhaps? Books 2-4 still had some of this pointless, childish, annoying and now extremely tiring battle of the sexes stuff, but at least it didn't detract from the main storyline. Every time this book switches to the female reader I groan because all Nineveh al'Meara does is annoy me. Jordan should take a lesson from George R.R. Martin and the Song of Fire and Ice series - make the good characters likeable, make the evil characters the annoying ones. This book does the exact opposite for most of the time. Considering that 98% of the point of view is from the good characters perspective it makes for a long read. Nineveh al'Meara finally gets served some humble pie in this book, but even that just makes her more frustrating to read about.

    My rating is a 3 instead of a 1 or 2 because there are a couple good, but short chapters from Matt's perspective. He's evolved into the most interesting character.

    One other complaint with the series as a whole - do you think it would have been too hard for the narrators to sit down for a coffee and agree on a set of pronunciations for such minor details as character names and geographic locations?

    I'll continue to read this series, assuming the rest come out unabridged. But I think a break and a few beers will be needed before reading 5 more books about how stubborn/stupid/arrogant/self-centered men/women are.

    20 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Kafka on the Shore

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett, Oliver Le Sueur
    Overall
    (1523)
    Performance
    (831)
    Story
    (825)

    Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at 15, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down.

    Melinda says: "Brilliant Meandering--what was in those brownies.."
    "Not as good as Wind Up Bird"
    Overall

    3.5 stars. My second Murakami book. While still a good book I rate it under The Wind Up Bird Chronicles which I found had a more engrossing story. Interesting to see some of the same concepts/themes in both books: cats, music, wells, wars, etc.

    This book had some very strange moments near the end of the book, a couple of which were a little too much for my taste. I also don't feel satisfied with the resolution (or lack thereof) pertaining to the strange Johnny Walker character.

    My main gripe with Murakami's books thus far is always how he ends his books. As things come to a close he tries to tie things up neatly for the central character, but leaves a lot of the more interesting subplots behind. Hard to put a finger on it - I actually would have preferred this book and Wind Up to end on a sour note for the main character instead of this feeling that the book is long enough now, let's patch in a so-so happy ending.

    As for the narration, generally a very good job with one annoying major character pronunciation change between two different readers towards the end.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Rupert Degas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1316)
    Performance
    (680)
    Story
    (676)

    Toru Okada is going through a difficult time. He is without a job, his cat has disappeared, and his wife is behaving strangely. Into this unbalanced world comes a variety of curious characters, a young girl sunbathing in a nearby garden; sisters who are very peculiar indeed; an old war veteran with a violent, disturbing story. Okada retreats to a deep well in a nearby house. And the story unfolds.

    Shelley says: "Bizarre"
    "excellent"
    Overall

    What a strange book, but very fascinating. Takes some really odd twists and some parts are very very gruesome. I love it, other reviewers warn about some sexual content for children, never mind the absolutely horrific descriptions of some war atrocities, particularly the scene in the Mongolian desert - you know what I'm referring to if you read the book.

    On a personal level I felt the ending was somewhat of a let down. Without giving much away I wished for either a tragic ending or a well-tied up ending, we don't really get either.

    It's an older work of his I think so some of the computer stuff he does is a bit hokey.

    The narration is excellent, but sometimes hard to listen to on the road. When people talk softly the narrator does too so often I had trouble hearing things while commuting. Plus some of the more gruesome parts are difficult to manage while driving.

    Still though, a wonderful book, made me think about a lot of things.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Redwall: Redwall, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Brian Jacques
    • Narrated By Brian Jacques, Full Cast
    Overall
    (537)
    Performance
    (239)
    Story
    (238)

    When Redwall was published in 1987 it catapulted author Brian Jacques to international stardom. And small wonder! This enthralling tale is jam-packed with the things we long for in a great adventure: danger, laughter, hairbreadth escapes, tragedy, mystery, a touch of wonder, a truly despicable villain, and a hero we can take to heart.

    David says: "Two paws up from an initially skeptical listener"
    "A pleasant surprise"
    Overall

    I was looking for something different after getting sick of Jordan's laboring Eye of the World series and stumbled blindly upon Redwall which I had never heard of before. Based off these reviews I gave it a shot and wasn't disappointed. While not the greatest acheivment in writing, it is very entertaining.

    It does take a few minutes to get going though, I had to get past a few chapters before I was hooked. The main character Mathias was annoying at first, and the author's overly dramatic narration at the end of chapters: "Cluny was coming!", "Cluny had arrived!", "No one would escape Cluny the Scourge!" etc. was also a bit over the top, but I'm sure kids would appreciate it more.

    The narration as a cast was done well. I had the hardest time with the author who does the bulk of the narrative, his "s" sounds sometimes were difficult. Also some of Cluny's rats were hard if not impossible to understand. There was one point where I listened to a section of dialog 5 times and I still don't know what was said. But generally the characters are very well read, Cluny, Constance, Basil, Asmodaos (SP?) and Methuselah stand out.

    Overall a good read with some nice humorous moments. I hope the next books in the series do a little more character development.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eragon: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Christopher Paolini
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7674)
    Performance
    (2862)
    Story
    (2914)

    When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

    Sandra says: "Utterly Awesome!"
    "Starts out great, goes nowhere"
    Overall

    I was pleasantly surprised by the beginning of this book. After just listening to the horrendous Sword of Shannara this had a crispness that was missing from the first in the series by Terry Brooks (I hear they get better). Then things really bog down, Eragon learns from his mentor, practices sparring, practices magic, has little meetups with some "bad guys", blah blah blah. I had this on my Muvo and I was completely surprised to find out that the book was over after another bland confrontation. What the?!?

    Yeah, it borrows from LoTR, so does every other book in the genre though, I don't fault it for that, it just doesn't have much heart. Eragon goes from a likable character to someone who's hard to root for, he must have borrowed THAT from Terry Brooks. :)

    I do give an extra star for the narrator. I cannot imagine reading this book without the narration. He manages to take some really cheesy dialog/descriptions and make it somewhat believable. Here's my favorite line (not verbatim because I cannot find it, but dang close): "Her face was a painting of perfection, like a sculpture."

    Um, yeah, ok.

    Everything right now is a time killer until George Martin's A Feast for Crows comes out.

    9 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower VII

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3551)
    Performance
    (1680)
    Story
    (1701)

    All good things must come to an end, Constant Listener, and not even Stephen King can write a story that goes on forever. The tale of Roland Deschain's relentless quest for the Dark Tower has, the author fears, sorely tried the patience of those who have followed it from its earliest chapters. But attend to it a while longer, if it pleases you, for this volume is the last, and often the last things are best.

    Dawn says: "Unbelieveable"
    "It's the journey silly (no spoilers)"
    Overall

    I honestly do not understand the nasty reviews that hate the way the book ended. It's the journey that's important, and this was a great one. Considering the afterwords to many of the earlier books in the series, I for one am grateful we have a 7th book to even review.

    The book opens furiously and in my opinion is probably some of the best writing SK has ever put to paper. There are genuine moments of joy, humor, depression, anger and anxiety that haven't been as well mixed since the 3rd book.

    My only minor complaints are that I think this could have been broken into two seperate books (or made a longer DT6) as some things just happen too quickly, certain characters who shall remain nameless sort of become afterthoughts. Confrontations that were heavily foreshadowed in early books are not all that compelling at all. Given a few more pages I think SK could have made these moments live up to expectations.

    Those remarks aside, it is a truely enjoyable book and if you do not like the ending, well, too bad. If the story had ended the way YOU wanted it to, everyone else would probably hate it. It's not your story, be glad you get to go on the journey and shut your kai-box.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Song of Susannah: The Dark Tower VI

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3319)
    Performance
    (1624)
    Story
    (1645)

    The next-to-last novel in Stephen King's seven-volume magnum opus, Song of Susannah is a fascinating key to the unfolding mystery of the Dark Tower.

    Daniel F. Webster says: "Undoing the writer's block!"
    "Love it or Hate it, but at least Try it..."
    Overall

    A very interesting and incredibly different book in the series. A lot of reviews are either a 1 or a 5 for this book. Many of the one's seem to involve the fact that there is little action, which was my original gripe with this book as well, just too much dialog. But it does finish very strong so my rating is closer to a "5". I would give it 4.5 if I could.

    I groaned at the end of DT5 when SK was hinted as a pivotal character in the series and this book adds to that a great deal. But it is also very cleverly handled to not be annoying, well not too annoying anyway.

    The Susannah / Mia conflict is very pivotal in the book (hey, look at the title). Be prepared for some bizarre stuff, I'm still not sure I understand her pregnancy after this book...

    I think this book would get a 2 or 3 if I didn't know that DT7 was just around the corner because this ends just too abruptly.

    Give it a chance, you may hate it, but I think if you don't mind a little psychology and philosophy that you'll come out thinking it was ok afterall, in fact it might even be pretty dang good.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24178)
    Performance
    (18123)
    Story
    (18180)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "One of the all time best"
    Overall

    This is one of the best stories I have ever had the pleasure to read and now listen to. It's very fun to come back to this book after reading it two years ago and to have a solid narrartor give voice to characters that even years after I love and hate. The thing about Martin that makes him so appealing is that the good guys/gals don't always and early on don't often prevail. I've never hated fictional characters like I have in this series of books, but it doesn't detract from the pure enjoyment of this compelling story. This might be a tough book to come to as an audio listener because there are dozens and dozens of main characters and hundreds of others that have small roles, it can be hard to keep them straight, as it was difficult to when actually reading the book. Still, once you start, you'll have a hard time leaving. I'm glad to see the other two books are now available as well.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful

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