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Brian

Dallas, TX, USA | Member Since 2004

21
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
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  • Lone Star Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By H.W. Brands
    • Narrated By Don Leslie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    Lone Star Nation is the gripping story of Texas' precarious journey to statehood, from its early colonization in the 1820s to the shocking massacres of Texas loyalists at the Alamo and Goliad by the Mexican army, from its rough-and-tumble years as a land overrun by the Comanches to its day of liberation as an upstart republic.

    Brian says: "Texas: From Spanish colony to statehood"
    "Texas: From Spanish colony to statehood"
    Overall

    As a native Texan and student of Texas history I have to give H.W. Brands credit for producing such a comprehensive narrative of the people and events that led to Texas's fight for independence from Mexico and annexation into the United States. I have never seen a better explanation of the role Andrew Jackson and the U. S. government played in these events. I would recommend this book as a 'must read' for anyone with an interest in Texas History.

    My only complaint is with the reader. Texas place names are famous for their excentricities of pronunciation. Hearing the reader repeatedly mispronounce the names of places like Bastrop, Brazoria, and San Jacinto, as well as his frequent mistakes with Spanish words and names,is like fingernails on a chalkboard to anyone familiar with the common pronunciations.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John M. Barry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1212)
    Performance
    (569)
    Story
    (579)

    No disease the world has ever known even remotely resembles the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Presumed to have begun when sick farm animals infected soldiers in Kansas, spreading and mutating into a lethal strain as troops carried it to Europe, it exploded across the world with unequaled ferocity and speed. It killed more people in 20 weeks than AIDS has killed in 20 years; it killed more people in a year than the plagues of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

    Nancy says: "Gripping and Gory"
    "It would be twice as good if it were half as long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The editor should have used a heavier hand. There is too much information about things that are only loosely related to the main story. The first third of the book is more about the history of medical education in America than the epidemic. The salient points could have been covered in one chapter.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have approached it like a detective novel. Concentrate on the story of the different teams of scientists racing to defeat the culprit.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Scott Brick?

    Someone whose tone wasn't so overwrought and melodramatic.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    There is both good and interesting information in this book, but you have to slog through a lot of other stuff to get to it. It reminded me of the time I was listening to a pianist in a hotel lobby who added so many embellishments to everything he played I was tempted to offer him $20 to play every other note.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Scott Sowers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3436)
    Performance
    (1153)
    Story
    (1173)

    An innocent man is about to be executed. Only a guilty man can save him. Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high-school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

    Suzn F says: "I confess, I loved it!"
    "Caricatures instead of characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Confession?

    The only character in the whole book with any depth or nuance was the actual killer. The rest came across as cartoon characters following very predictable stereotypes. Grisham is a better writer than this. The death penalty is a serious issue. This story came across more like The Dukes of Hazzard try drama.


    Would you ever listen to anything by John Grisham again?

    Probably. I have read several of his books before and enjoyed them.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The reader followed Grisham's tone, so it is probably not his fault, but his performance only enhanced the stereotyping of so many characters.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Confession?

    The scene of Dante's mother bathing and dressing her dead son (while touching) added nothing to the narrative. The mother of the victim of the crime is only shown as a self righteous publicity hound.


    Any additional comments?

    Grisham wove a number of actual events into the story, even got the highway numbers from Livingston to Huntsville right, but failed to figure out that the members of the Court of Criminal Appeals are called "judges", not "justices". His cause would have been better served by a work of non-fiction than this very poorly crafted novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Detection

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Laurie R. King
    • Narrated By Alyssa Bresnahan, Robert Ian Mackenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (235)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (61)

    The Art of Detection is another spellbinding tale starring San Francisco homicide inspector Kate Martinelli. The victim is Sherlock Holmes aficionado Philip Gilbert, whose collection of priceless memorabilia is definitely worth killing for. It's up to Kate and her trusted partner Al Hawkin to follow the clues and bring a rather peculiar murderer to Justice.

    Jean says: "A story within a story"
    "Two stories weighted down by an agenda"
    Overall

    I was intrigued by the idea of a story within a story, but quickly got bogged down in what is really three stories: two detective pieces and a pedantic homage to gay San Francisco. It's hard to believe that this clunker was written by the same author as the Mary Russell novels. Kate Martinelli is no Milo Sturgis, and Laurie King doesn't come close to Jonathan Kellerman in creating believable and symapthetic characters- gay or straight- in a contemporary story. It's too bad because the concept of exploring the world of fanatical Sherlock Holmes devotees through the mystery of a "missing" Conan Doyle manuscript had lots of potential. As it turned out, this book is a waste of time.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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