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Texas | Listener Since 2010

  • 13 reviews
  • 39 ratings
  • 134 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett

    Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys – best friends – are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.

    Maxine Fuentes says: "Wonderful"
    "It was all downhill after the first chapter"

    Tedious (certainly not because of the narrator...he was excellent). It was so boring that I only downloaded the first section.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • A Land More Kind Than Home

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Wiley Cash
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan, Lorna Raver, Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can't help sneaking a look at something he's not supposed to - an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess's. It's a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he's not prepared.

    Janice says: "An American Tragedy"
    "It's a long way from being a Southern Novel"
    What did you like best about A Land More Kind Than Home? What did you like least?

    I bought this book because: 1) one of the narrators is Mark Bramhall, and 2) the story was touted as a Southern Novel.

    Bramhall didn't disappoint. He NEVER does. The 5 stars in the review of Performance are for him. Unfortunately, his character speaks less than any of the others.

    But the story - while it had its moments (more than a few outstanding, compelling moments early on, as a matter of fact) - ultimately it didn't deliver on what those opening scenes had promised.

    There was too much about the boy Jess. Yes, his POV was integral to the plot, but we were forced to go down too many childhood rabbit trails with him. Or maybe it was that, combined with the fact that the narrator of his voice was my least favorite.

    Finally, the ending ruined the experience for me. It seems ideally suited for a TV movie.

    The book may be set in the South, but it's a long way from being a Southern Novel.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Chiefs

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Stuart Woods
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1919, Delano, Georgia, appoints its first chief of police. Honest and hardworking, the new chief is puzzled when young men start to disappear. But his investigation is ended by the fatal blast from a shotgun. Delano's second chief-of-police is no hero, yet he is also disturbed by what he sees in the missing-persons bulletins. In 1969, when Delano's third chief takes over, the unsolved disappearances still haunt the police files.

    karen says: "In my 'Top Ten' books of all time!"
    "lst part held my interest; the rest was a letdown"
    This book wasn???t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The plot development in the first of three parts held my attention. But in Part Two, the trite southern characters arrived: the sociopathic, racist Arm of the Law, the honest, good-looking, WW2 hero with the charming, smart wife who wants to Do The Right Thing (but is he TOO ambitious?), the "wise" town leader-turned-crafty-politician, and the too brave black vet who wants his rightful place in society. Oh, yes, and lurking in the background throughout the story is the psychopathic mass murderer who walks among them.

    I didn't listen to last half.

    Narrator Hammer has a very pleasant voice and used just enough variations in his tone and mannerisms to convey the differences in characters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Garth Stein
    • Narrated By Christopher Evan Welch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: If you’ve ever loved a dog - or even patted a dog - this book, told from the perspective of man’s best friend, will tug at your heartstrings...and won’t let go until long after Welch performs the last word. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively and by listening very closely to the words of his master.

    FanB14 says: "Artful Surprise"
    "I love Enzo"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Art of Racing in the Rain to be better than the print version?

    I usually avoid dog books - typically, I'm depressed for days afterwards. But Enzo's story sounded unique, so I took a chance and was glad I did. And, while I found Enzo's best friend/owner Denny a trifle too good to be true at the end of his Job-like ordeal, I even bought into the happily-ever-after contrived ending. Enzo would want me to.

    Narrator Welch is a perfect low-keyed Enzo voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Major disappointment"
    Would you try another book from Stephen King and/or Craig Wasson?

    I was intrigued by the plot and completely bought into it throughout the book, so that's not the reason for my criticism. The story was good, very good in spots. It was the writing that disappointed - about halfway through it turned amateurish in far too many places (if I notice such a thing, then it's BAD).

    One has to wonder what happened to the editor, especially during the 2nd half of the book. At least an hour, maybe two, of repetition could have been excised, and the story would have been better for it. Also, has anyone counted how many times King used "the past is obdurate" or "harmonic" ? It was so many that they became groan worthy towards the end.

    With the exception of his Stella Voice, Narrator Wasson was excellent (however, the fact that he based some of his characters' voices on the likes of Burt Lancaster, Jimmy Stewart, John Houseman & Nixon, while amusing, was slightly distracting).

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Doc: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Mary Doria Russell
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The year is 1878, peak of the Texas cattle trade. The place is Dodge City, Kansas, a saloon-filled cow town jammed with liquored-up adolescent cowboys and young Irish hookers. Violence is random and routine, but when the burned body of a mixed-blood boy named Johnnie Sanders is discovered, his death shocks a part-time policeman named Wyatt Earp. And it is a matter of strangely personal importance to Doc Holliday, the frail 26-year-old dentist who has just opened an office at No. 24, Dodge House.

    Dennis says: "Great writing and narration"
    "Story & narration = perfection!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Doc the most enjoyable?

    I listened every chance I got - the characters lived! the dialogue was clever and smart. And I DO hope the story is true, or almost true! Mary Doria Russell's thorough research was clearly evident, and she's a superb author

    Also, Mark Bramhall was already my favorite narrator, but this reading moved him to a higher level in my opinion. I don't think I've ever heard him use so many voices and accents, and all were excellent, adding a great deal to the flavor of the story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Cloudsplitter

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Russell Banks
    • Narrated By George DelHoyo

    In October of 1859, John Brown's raid of Harper's Ferry set the stage for the Civil War.This work of historical fiction tells Brown's story from the point of view of the fiery abolition's son. Banks talks about his philosophy of writing in an interview from the American Audio Prose Library.

    Janet says: "Did Russell Banks approve this abridgement?"
    "Did Russell Banks approve this abridgement?"

    This "book" was a major disappointment. But NOT because of Banks' writing - in my opinion, his work was butchered when it was squeezed into an abridged version. Here and there were interesting vignettes and glimpses of what a fascinating talent Banks has to offer. But this chopped-up "book" was a waste of time.

    Narrator George DelHoyo's voice -- which appears to be affected, and annoyingly so -- may fit the character of Owen Brown. But listening to it for hours and hours added to the negative experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Talk Show

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs)
    • By Dick Cavett
    • Narrated By Dick Cavett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For years, Dick Cavett played host to the nation’s most famous personalities on his late-night talk show. In this humorous and evocative book, we get to hear Cavett's best tales, as he recounts great moments with the legendary entertainers who crossed his path and offers his own trenchant commentary on contemporary American culture and politics.

    Martha Humphreys says: "Witty, wry and wonderfully entertaining..."
    "Pretend he's not being pretentious, & you'll enjoy"

    I rarely watched Cavett's show (he always seemed TOO full of himself), and yet I've seen brief clips of many of the shows I missed and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Maybe that's the answer...Cavett in small doses is manageable. At least I found MOST of these columns to be either interesting, humorous (the ones about Richard Nixon, George Bush) or downright poignant (the one about Paul Newman brought tears). I DID NOT enjoy learning he was not only friends with - but GOOD FRIENDS with - the irksome William F. Buckley. And Cavett seems to get far too much enjoyment remembering tales of his childhood/teen vandalism, minor though it may have been.

    His writing skills are exceptional, and he's a pleasant narrator

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Widow's Story: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Joyce Carol Oates
    • Narrated By Ellen Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In a work unlike anything she's written before, National Book Award-winner Joyce Carol Oates unveils a poignant, intimate memoir about the unexpected death of her husband of 46 years and its wrenching, surprising aftermath.

    glamazon says: "Breathless!"
    "Did the second half have an editor?"

    I give Part One five stars - it was as emotional, as riveting as some of Oates' best fiction. And my heart ached for her because of what she was experiencing.

    Yet Part Two deserves only three stars. Besides being full of redundancies, Oates' stream-of-consciousness writing - along with her attempts to share every positive aspect of her husband's life, along with her every suicidal fantasy - gave the last half a whining quality. Though I was glad to see she'd found a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel at story's end, I was also relieved to have reached the end of book.

    Narrator was superb! Five stars for Ellen Parker!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Prince of Tides

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Pat Conroy
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Spanning 40 years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born.

    Ella says: "A "Prince" amongst novels"
    "It's a shame this book didn't have an editor"

    There's no question that it's an intriguing story in spite of it being at least two hours longer than it should have been.

    SEMI SPOILER ALERT*** However, what ruined the book for me -- with several hours left to listen to -- was when the damaged protagonist (with almost no motivation) not only forgave the two people who had most grievously damaged him and his hometown and who had indirectly been responsible for his brother's death, but he APOLOGIZED TO THEM!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kings of the Earth: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Jon Clinch
    • Narrated By Andrea Gallo, Ken Marks, Alan Nebelthau, and others

    Author of the award-winning novel Finn, Jon Clinch has drawn favorable comparisons to William Faulkner. With Kings of the Earth, he takes listeners to an upstate New York farm where the three Procter brothers live in stasis. When one dies in his sleep, the other two are soon suspected of murder.

    Carolyn says: "Insightful"
    "I don't think it's as good as Clinch's "Finn""

    BUT it's not QUITE as dark,either.

    So, if you like stories with intense character studies in the Faulknerian style,this story will appeal to you since Clinch allows each person -- whether living or dead - to speak for himself. That device makes the audio version especially effective because all the actors are ideally suited for the characters they portray. PS: be sure to Google "Ward Brothers Syracuse New York" before listening. The story is based on fact, and that background information is a great preface.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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