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Jonathan Hoffman

Shelterdog

Portland, OR USA | Member Since 2004

27
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 183 ratings
  • 414 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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  • The Inside Ring

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Michael Lawson
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (261)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (67)

    From a bluff overlooking Georgia's untamed Chattooga River, an assassin fires three shots. The President of the United States is wounded; his best friend and a Secret Service agent are killed. Two days later, a man in Landover, Maryland, commits suicide, and in the man's home is overwhelming evidence that he was responsible for the assassination attempt.

    Jonathan Hoffman says: "Thrills & Chills"
    "Thrills & Chills"
    Overall

    My wife and I really enjoyed it. Good action, some scenes with seriously scary suspense, and engaging characters.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Salem Falls

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Julia Gibson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (822)
    Performance
    (293)
    Story
    (293)

    Jack St. Bride was a popular teacher and soccer coach at a girls' prep school when he was falsely accused of statutory rape. Released after eight months behind bars, he arrives in Salem Falls hoping to start fresh. He lands a job washing dishes at the local diner and even falls in love with the owner, Addie. But then a spoiled local girl accuses Jack of assault, forcing his past into the open and turning the town against him.

    Carolyn says: "Not My Favorite Picoult"
    "Enjoyable if you don't think too much"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's an engaging page-turner, occasionally moving. I was bothered by the needless distractions, such as: 1) The trial is, to say the least, implausible on so many levels I don't know where to begin. As a trial lawyer, perhaps I shouldn't read courtroom dramas written by non-lawyers. But I do. It was amazing how many pieces of compelling evidence, littered throughout the book, were ignore, overlooked, or used poorly when the trial came. No explanation. No trial strategy. And the stuff thrown in to make it colorful, like Addie's father bringing biscuits for the jurors and the judge and lawyers, was ludicrous. If the DA was bothered, and he was, why not move for a mistrial? 2) The narrator did the voices of the characters very well, but mispronounced quite a few words. Please, look them up: "Lomotil." Or "Corazón, as examples. 3) The author--or narrator--made a dumb mistake, when a character who is a big Red Sox fan refers to a key play in the 1986 ALCS championship as the 1987 playoffs. NO Red Sox fan ever gets such things wrong. 4) Many of the characters seem to lurch from doing one thing to the next, without much plausible reason for their actions. It seems to have more to do with the author's need for plot development than the characters' inner logic.
    Like a few other Audible books I've listened to, the intervals between chapters are sometimes messed up. In some cases, the sequence of sentences is confusing because there's no gap.
    But if you don't listen too hard, and don't think about it very much, it's a good page-turner to listen to in the car.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Dave Van Ronk, Elijah Wald
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Dave Van Ronk was one of the founding figures of the 1960s folk revival, but he was far more than that. A pioneer of modern acoustic blues, a fine songwriter and arranger, a powerful singer, and one of the most influential guitarists of the ’60s, he was also a marvelous storyteller, a peerless musical historian, and one of the most quotable figures on the Village scene. The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a firsthand account by a major player in the social and musical history of the ’50s and ’60s.

    MidwestGeek says: "Overview of NYC folk music scene of '50's & 60's."
    "The Godfather of Greenwich Village"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dave Van Ronk was far from the most famous of the Greenwich Village musicians that transformed American "folk" music in the 1960s, but perhaps the most influential. This book lies somewhere between an autobiography, an account of the life and times in the Village during that era, spiced with trenchant observations about society, musicians, politics, and songwriting. A great listen! My only quibble: the narrator mispronounces some words.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Insane City

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Dave Barry
    • Narrated By Dave Barry, The Gza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (157)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (141)

    Seth Weinstein knew Tina was way out of his league in pretty much any way you could imagine, which is why it continued to astonish him that he was on the plane now for their destination wedding in Florida. The Groom Posse had already sprung an airport prank on him, and he'd survived it, and if that was the worst of it, everything should be okay. Smooth sailing from now on. Seth has absolutely no idea what he's about to get into.

    Sylvia says: "It is Barry - it is Florida - it is INSANE!"
    "Dave Barry Lives!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had lost track of Dave Barry, so this was a pleasant surprise.

    The BAD: You've read/seen/heard the bare outline of this plot a gazillion times before: the bachelor party just before the wedding that goes awry, the "perfect" wife-to-be, who isn't, the rich father of the bride who wants everything to be perfect for his beautiful daughter etc., and so the novel isn't all that surprising in that regard. These aren't spoilers: they just demonstrate that much of the structure of this novel is utterly predictable. And to some degree, the madcap antics in South Florida are reminiscent of Barry's fellow Floridian, Carl Hiaasen.

    The GOOD: It IS Dave Barry, so when it gets funny, it gets VERY funny, laugh so hard the car is shaking funny. And more off-color than his newspaper columns, and appropriately so. I won't reveal the details of the funniest parts--they're what make it worthwhile. It's a bit like having a bunch of little Dave Barry newspaper columns that pop up unexpectedly in the middle of an ordinary novel. That's a good thing, And I would add that the stereotypical bachelor party novels/movies(and even Carl Hiaasen novels) don't feature an orangutan as a major character.

    The DELIVERY: I don't know the narrator, but he's just right for this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Marker

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Robin Cook
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (372)
    Performance
    (105)
    Story
    (105)

    Twenty-eight-year-old Sean McGillin is the picture of health, until he fractures his leg while in-line skating in New York City's Central Park. Within 24 hours of his surgery, he dies.

    Martin says: "A bit too predictable"
    "Woof Woof--What a DOG!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    1. A plot that a) didn't give away the ending at the beginning; b) was plausible; c) where the only issues that created any possibility of suspense weren't resolved within the plot, but thrown into the denouement--almost as an afterthought.
    2. At least ONE character I actually cared about.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I'm starting Harlen Coben's latest, Six Years.


    What didn’t you like about George Guidall’s performance?

    He does a terrible job portraying female characters.


    What character would you cut from Marker?

    I would start by cutting the author. And if we cut the cop, then we'd be spared the pathetic denouement/epilogue.


    Any additional comments?

    I believe the last Robin Cook book I read was Coma, and perhaps one more about the same time (long ago). I liked it. But it looks like Cook has kept the formula, but hasn't improved his character or plot development. The vast conspiracy between the health insurance company and the plaintiffs' lawyers is ridiculous enough, even if the reader/listener isn't a fan of either group. But serial murders based on THAT ridiculous conspiracy? It would be laughable on its own, but it's even more ridiculous, given that it doesn't even make economic sense, let alone simplistic page-turner-thriller sense. We knock off long-term high-risk consumers to keep our rates low. Why? Because it'll cost more to cover them in the long term. Why? Because they're at risk of dying from a sudden heart attack. Uh, wouldn't that cause them to drop dead, and cost LESS? Besides, who signs up for health insurance for LIFE? It's a year-to-year proposition for most people. As long as they're young and healthy now, why would an insurance company care if they're at risk of dropping dead 20-30 years from now? They'll probably be someone else's problem by then. The central idea of the entire story is simply so preposterous on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15842)
    Performance
    (14054)
    Story
    (14094)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Extraordinary!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Gone Girl in three words, what would they be?

    Terrific writer, excellent performance


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Two very smart main characters, each plotting against the other. Both kept outsmarting me. What will they do next?


    Have you listened to any of Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but they were terrific.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Dumb question. It's a great book. I wasn't paying any attention to how to adapt it for the Big Screen, and I don't intend to start now.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Panther

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Nelson DeMille
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2000)
    Performance
    (1687)
    Story
    (1682)

    Anti-Terrorist Task Force agent John Corey and his wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield, have been posted overseas to Sana'a, Yemen - one of the most dangerous places in the Middle East. While there, they will be working with a small team to track down one of the masterminds behind the USS Cole bombing: a high-ranking Al Qaeda operative known as The Panther. Ruthless and elusive, he's wanted for multiple terrorist acts and murders - and the U.S. government is determined to bring him down, no matter the cost.

    Parusski says: "Good Corey Story"
    "Slooow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Nelson DeMille and/or Scott Brick?

    Disappointing sequel to one of our favorite DeMille books. Not much happens until the end, and it's a LONG wait, with fairly tiresome conversation, until something finally occurs. Too little, too late.


    What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He is a terrific narrator, and he makes the best of a bad situation, but he can't make the story shorter, and he can't create action that doesn't exist.


    Do you think The Panther needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, enough!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Promise Me

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Harlan Coben
    • Narrated By Harlan Coben
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (216)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (106)

    The school year is almost over. Anxious families await word of college acceptances. In these last pressure-cooker months of high school, some kids will make the all-too-common and all-too-dangerous mistake of drinking and driving. But Myron is determined to help keep his friends' children safe, so he makes two neighborhood girls promise him: If they are ever in a bind but are afraid to call their parents, they must call him.

    Robert E. Scarcelle says: "Weak Effort"
    "Disappointed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a big Harlan Coben fan, but Promise Me was a big disappointment. First and foremost, he should stick to writing and not narrate his own books. I know that some authors can do it well, but he's terrible. Someone as talented and successful as Coben ought to be able to get someone good to do his reading, but alas, he didn't.
    Second, while I realize that his books follow several formulas, they are usually so engaging on other fronts that I don't mind. They have heart, you care about the characters, and they're written with true compassion that transcends a lot of other formulaic thrillers. This one seemed contrived. Perhaps that's a result of his lousy narration--maybe the characters would have exhibited more heart if a good narrator breathed life into them, but it was not to be.
    Harlan: PROMISE ME you will stick to writing and PROMISE ME you'll stop pretending you're Scott Brick. Unfortunately, you're not.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • World Without End

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8683)
    Performance
    (3130)
    Story
    (3160)

    In 1989 Ken Follett astonished the literary world with The Pillars of the Earth, set in 12th-century England. Readers and listeners ever since have hoped for a sequel. At last, here it is. Although the two novels may be listened to in any order, World Without End also takes place in Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building their exquisite Gothic cathedral. The cathedral is again at the center of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge.

    Laura says: "Repetitive, but still enjoyable"
    "Very good, but. . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The good: It's a nice follow up to Pillars of the Earth, and it's clever and original to create a "sequel" several centuries later. Follett does an excellent job blending the story with actual historical events, and he brings to life a period of history too few know about and fewer still care about. As always, his main characters are compelling. Overall, these make for a very good listen, and you know it's good when you pull into the parking lot and sit there until the chapter ends rather than get out of the car.

    The bad: how much badly-written sex and violence do you want? I'm no prude, but I thought a lot of it was gratuitous and not particularly well done in any event.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gate House

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Nelson DeMille
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1105)
    Performance
    (354)
    Story
    (357)

    When John Sutter's aristocratic wife killed her mafia don lover, John left America and set out in his sailboat on a three-year journey around the world, eventually settling in London. Now, 10 years later, he has come home to the Gold Coast, that stretch of land on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America, to attend the imminent funeral of an old family servant.

    James B says: "Brilliant Conclusion to Gold Coast"
    "I'm a big Nelson DeMille fan, but. . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Gate House sounded like the one everyone was bugging him to write: "Oh, you HAVE to do a sequel to the Gold Coast. It was such a GREAT book!" So he tried, and tried, and finally succumbed. But, its not the Gold Coast. It's just going through the motions. Fairly slow plot, and, with a few delightful exceptions, it lacks the sharp, hilarious, satirical dialog that distinguished most of his other novels. The narrator didn't help, either. There's a fine line between upper crust, "effete preppy snobs" and "gay," and the narrator sounder more the latter than the former. ("Not that there's anything wrong with it."), but it just sounds wrong and, in the process, detracts from the humor that might otherwise exist in some of the dialog.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26749)
    Performance
    (13386)
    Story
    (13431)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "Best Audible Book I've ever heard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a terrific book, stunningly written, adeptly performed. Having come of age during the era of the early Civil Rights movement, the time in which the book is set, these characters and their challenges brought back so many memories, mostly heartbreaking but also inspiring, of the evils of a segregationist society and the quiet courage of those who dared to challenge it. The characters are brilliantly drawn. My only regret is that the principal antagonist of the book doesn't get whist she truly deserves, but that's kind of what happened in the Deep South.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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