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richard

Arlington, VA, United States | Member Since 2010

32
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 60 ratings
  • 874 titles in library
  • 113 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
3

  • Anita

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs)
    • By Keith Roberts
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    Overall
    (418)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (378)

    Meet Anita Thompson: she's young, she's lovely, she's clever, and she's a witch. A real one. Anita lives in two worlds: the modern world of supermarkets and sports cars, radio and rock-and-roll, where she is a thoroughly modern girl with a thoroughly modern interest in boys and fast living and her own independence. But she also lives in the ancient and rustic world of traditions, cauldrons, and familiars.

    troy says: "I would buy you this book! (if i could afford too)"
    "An absolute delight."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Amusing stories that put you in the mind and heart of a free spirited young witch. Ms. Barber masterfully narrates each of the tales so that the text falls away and leaves the feeling of being there. Top marks for all.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with All the Gifts

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By M. R. Carey
    • Narrated By Finty Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1072)
    Performance
    (986)
    Story
    (990)

    Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

    Lulu says: "Still Can't Believe I Liked This. A Bunch"
    "A lsurprising, literate take on an undead genre."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, a disclaimer: I adore Ms. Williams' voice, just as I did her mother's. That said, I have always had trouble distinguishing the influences of the text and those of the narrator in great audiobooks, and that is the case here. Ms. Williams reading is so precise, her diction so engaging, and her timing so exact that she carried me along with her as if riding some stream, through lazy drifts and breakneck cataracts. But it is the writer, not the reader who crafts the text though which that stream runs, and Carey, or whatever his real name is, can flat out write. In a real sense, he too, like his Melanie, has all the gifts, and I delighted he shares them with us in this tale. I look forward to his next book and Ms. Williams' next adult effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bleeding Edge

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Thomas Pynchon
    • Narrated By Jeannie Berlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (120)
    Performance
    (114)
    Story
    (102)

    Maxine Tarnow is running a nice little fraud investigation business on the Upper West Side, chasing down different kinds of small-scale con artists. She used to be legally certified but her license got pulled a while back, which has actually turned out to be a blessing because now she can follow her own code of ethics - carry a Beretta, do business with sleazebags, hack into people's bank accounts - without having too much guilt about any of it. Otherwise, just your average working mom - two boys in elementary school, an off-and-on situation with her sort of semi-ex-husband Horst - till Maxine starts looking into the finances of a computer-security firm....

    Robert says: "A fine wine in a dirty and cracked glass"
    "Plotz! plotz! Kvetsh! Try giving it a chance, nu?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I admit that I had much the same negative reaction when I started Bleeding Edge. But over time, Ms. Berlin's reading has come to charm me. Not only does she embody the sound and style of New York Jewish protagonist to a T, but in a way her bumpy reading reflects the uncertainty and disorder of her character as she stumbles from one clue to another on the journey Pynchon has laid before her. I now find Ms. Berlin's reading to be refreshing. I can see why Pynchon blessed the reading, and I find myself agreeing with him.

    Shalom.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • A Discovery of Witches

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Deborah Harkness
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10273)
    Performance
    (7717)
    Story
    (7762)

    Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library.

    haesel says: "Where was this woman's editor?"
    "Off pace disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This review is written at the beginning of the second section of the narration. Someone needs to do a better job categorizing and describing audible's selections. This was supposed to fantasy and turns out to be mostly romance. This book starts strong, with an interesting premise, a clever cosmology of characters, and an effective dramatic problem. Little by little the work degenerates into insubstantial chick lit romance, leaving behind everything having to do with the work's point. By the time the story reaches France, just into the second section of the narration, we are deep into what kind of soap the heroine showers in, how much she knows about riding, how clever and willful and independent she thinks herself to be, how she tingles (for at least the tenth time) at her Vampire boyfriend's touch, & etc. In short, drivel that has nothing to do with the premise or plot. It completely interferes with the flow and tension of the narrative. If I were not interested in the original premise, I'd abandon this book; if the drivel keeps up, I still might.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Walter M. Miller
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (958)
    Performance
    (840)
    Story
    (849)

    Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true landmark of 20th-century literature—a chilling and still-provocative look at a postapocalyptic future.

    Joel D Offenberg says: "A Classic"
    "Introibo Ad Altare"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One of the landmark jewels of science fiction, Walter Miller's Canticle will be, for some readers of a certain age, a treat for the ear, the heart, and the soul. However, so much has changed since the author crafted this work, e.g., the thaw of the Cold War, the disappearance of Latin since the Second Vatican Council in 1965, and the steep decine of the Catholic Church with its rigors and obedience, that many of the central premises and conceits of the book simply no longer commonly exist today. For me, the book was as fresh as when I read it in 1967 as a high school student. I hope that a younger audience enjoys it as much as I have.

    Warning: There is a LOT of Latin in this work. This could make it difficult to parse as an audio experience unless you have a pretty good grounding in this tongue. You might want to get the kindle text to read with it. I think you will find it to be worth your while.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Hobbit

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9795)
    Performance
    (8793)
    Story
    (8955)

    Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all.

    Darwin8u says: "Victory after all, I suppose!"
    "Perfect Rendition"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While I have always been disappointed that Tolkien chose to write this tale as a children's story, I bow to its elegant simplicity of plot and complex development of background and character. We see the seed of the greatest adventure trilogy in English planted and flourish. What is really impressive, however, is Rob Englis' narration which catches every nuance of mood and shade of personality. A phenomenal execution!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Robin Sloan
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2693)
    Performance
    (2424)
    Story
    (2411)

    The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone - and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything....

    Susan says: "Fun, thought-provoking, mysterious.... and FUN !"
    "What's the fuss??"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not sure I understand all the hype surrounding this book. Other than presenting an overview of Google's organizational talents, it really is kind of a limp tale. I suppose it will appeal to young technocrates and those who like bibliocentric mysteries. Think of it as The Club Dumas Very Light. Perhaps it belongs on the Young Adult shelf. Despite the text, Ari Fliakos does a good solid reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Twelve: A Novel: The Passage Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Justin Cronin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3056)
    Performance
    (2708)
    Story
    (2710)

    In the present day, as the man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, is so shattered by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as "Last Stand in Denver", has been forced to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a landscape of death and ruin.

    Amanda says: "Expanding The Story In Every Direction"
    "Boooooringggg."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Compared to The Passage, a fresh and refreshing take on the vampire/living dead/viral/wolf thing that US readers have taken to devouring with their Big Mac and shakes, The Twelve is simply tedium.

    Mr Cronin would have done well to retain a good editor and to have condensed his "trilogy" to one volume.

    Mr Brick, a narrator of skill and accomplishment, must have thought that by sounding mystical and awed he might improve the job. He just sounds overwrought and ponderous. But at least he tried.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • SmartPass Plus Audio Education Study Guide to King Lear (Unabridged, Dramatised, Commentary Options)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Mike Reeves
    • Narrated By Joan Walker, Terrence Hardiman, Lucy Robinson
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    Here is the multi award-winning SmartPass study guide with and without commentary options. This is a full-cast, unabridged performance, with comprehensive commentary and analysis, enabling students to fully understand and appreciate the play. Judge for yourself whether Lear is "a man more sinned against than sinning" in this moral tale that pits wisdom and age against ambition and youth. Experience and examine the power of Shakespeare's most cruel and violent tragedy.

    Philip says: "Excellent guide to a Great Play"
    "A qualified critique"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If one has never read Lear, or any other Shakespeare, maybe this voice-over Lear would be informative. If, on the other hand, you have a passing knowledge of the play, any of Shakespeare's other works, the history and manners of Elizabethan England, or even the English language, this reviewer suggests giving this recording a pass. This series must have been conceived for high school students and this text is marred by dumbed down writing and teacherly, slightly condescending narration. I didn't think it was possible to make Lear unlistenable, but Mister Reeves and Ms. Walker have succeeded.

    My five star rating is for the play, which I consider Shakespeare's finest. The two stars are for the concept and execution of the voice-over narration.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Laurie R. King
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1818)
    Performance
    (1141)
    Story
    (1142)

    In 1914, a spirited American girl named Mary Russell meets a retired Sherlock Holmes in the English countryside. Instantly realizing that Mary is gifted with astonishing deductive powers, the Great Detective emerges from retirement to join her as she tracks down a fiendish assassin.

    Marie-Elizabeth Finamore says: "Best of British restraint"
    "Brilliant, my dear!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a marvelous concept: pairing an aging Holmes with his dopelganger in the form of a clever and gifted young woman who, with charm and grace, narrates their discovery of each other as well as the growth of her formidable sleuthing skills. Ms. King captures Conan Doyle's tone and language, while taking the genre to an entirely new level.

    Perfectly narrated by Jenny Sterlin. Unreservedly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King - The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Walter Borneman
    • Narrated By Brian Troxell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (289)
    Performance
    (251)
    Story
    (257)

    Only four men in American history have been promoted to the five-star rank of Admiral of the Fleet: William Leahy, Ernest King, Chester Nimitz, and William Halsey. These four men were the best and the brightest the navy produced, and together they led the U.S. Navy to victory in World War II, establishing the United States as the world's greatest fleet. In The Admirals, award-winning historian Walter R. Borneman tells their story in full detail for the first time.

    Andy says: "war wasn't simpler 75 years ago"
    "Gripping and informative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author provides a concise history of America's four fighting admirals in context with the development of sea power from the turm of the century through World War II. While not a detailed biography, it is an excellent survey of the men and the circumstances of their rule.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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