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B.J.

I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

Minneapolis, MN, United States | Member Since 2007

1003
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 131 reviews
  • 322 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
16
FOLLOWERS
491

  • Suspect

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Robert Crais
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3641)
    Performance
    (3251)
    Story
    (3251)

    LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well, not since a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner, Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty - until he meets his new partner. Maggie is not doing so well, either. The German shepherd survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before she lost her handler to an IED and sniper attack, and her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s. They are each other’s last chance.

    Jacqueline says: "Gripping Page Turner!!"
    "I LOVE that dog."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I guess I'm a sucker for dog books - especially books about big, furry dogs with an edge. And this one is terrific. The biggest issue with this book is that it's not longer. I could easily have listened to another 4 hours and been just fine with that. It's efficiently and professionally written. Maybe just a little predictable, but a good listen.

    Here's my best recommendation: if you have to do something unpleasant - like clean the garage or basement - load this one on your iPod and get to work. The time will fly by. Maggie is great company. You'll miss her when it's done.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Painted Girls: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Cathy Marie Buchanan
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Julia Whelan, Danny Cambell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (187)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (156)

    Paris, 1878: Following the death of their father from overwork, the three van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without their father’s wages, and with what little their mother earns as a laundress disappearing down the absinthe bottle, eviction from their single boarding room seems imminent. With few options for work available for a girl, bookish 14-year-old Marie and her younger sister Charlotte are dispatched to the Paris Opera, where for a scant seven francs a week, the girls will be trained to enter its famous ballet. Their older sister, stubborn and insolent 17-year-old Antoinette, finds herself launched into the orbit of Émile Zola....

    Melinda says: "Only a Pastel Version of the *Beautiful Era*"
    "Really mediocre historical fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When historical fiction is done well, it really transports you to a time in a way that can't be duplicated. I remember reading "The Alienist" for the first time and I could smell the streets of New York in the late 1800s. With many of the rave reviews on this book, I expected the same feel for Paris. It never happened.

    The premise of this story is good ... though certainly not original. "Girl with a Pearl Earring" has the same art-comes-to-life basis. While I appreciated a look at the world of ballet in Paris during the time, it wasn't any more revealing than what one would have guessed.

    This was a book club selection so I had a chance to hear what others thought about it. My feelings about the book put me in the minority - much like the reviews here and elsewhere. There were many others who thought it was terrific and appreciated the story of the sisters. Clearly we have a different view of historical fiction and how it should be written. This was simply not the book for me nor would I recommend it to others.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (225)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (209)

    Michael Lewis returns to the financial world to give listeners a ringside seat as the biggest news story in years prepares to hit Wall Street....

    Darwin8u says: "Making the system deliver on its promise."
    "Absolutely Riveting. Really."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow. Michael Lewis has really earned my admiration. He has a phenomenal ability to break down a rather complex concept into the most understandable form. I would never have imagined this book about trading would not only hold my attention, but be nearly impossible to put down.

    There's a David and Goliath thing here that makes you cheer for Brad Katsuyama from the moment he's introduced. While I was listening I desperately wanted him to succeed.

    This book kept me engaged and wishing for more. Within a minute of finishing the book I was Googling it to death. There's the mystery of 1215095, but more than that, I wanted to see exactly how this is all playing out. I am SO impressed. IEX's most recent ad - branded documentary, I should say - is stunning. I love what they are trying to do and how they're doing it. I love it that they're earning respect.

    Really, I can't ask for more in a book: engaging writing, insight into a new topic, great narration and the desire to learn more. This is non-fiction at its finest.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Post Captain: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Patrick O'Brian
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull
    Overall
    (749)
    Performance
    (327)
    Story
    (324)

    The Peace of Amiens has left Jack Aubrey with no ship, no enemy to pursue, and no possibility of prize money to supplement his meager income. His decision to seek refuge from his troubles, and creditors, in France proves doubly disastrous.

    A. F. Latronica III says: "A fair shake"
    "Absolutely perfect in every way."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I truly love this series. I'm now on my second listen to all 20 books and appreciating the details I missed the first time through.

    This particular book in the series, the second one, starts to explore Jack and Stephen's personalities more. As characters, they were established in "Master and Commander" but now are really fleshed out. Jack is growing up and growing into his role as a leader. Stephen, ultimately more complex as a character, is showing his colors more as an naturalist and volunteer spy in addition to his role as a "sawbones." The eccentricities of both are so delightful. I have to keep reminding myself that these characters were created in O'Brian's unbelievable imagination.

    I never would have guessed that I could be this smitten with nautical historical novels set during the Napoleonic Wars. But I am. I love Patrick Tull's narration and the way he gives voice to these amazing characters. It's such an engaging listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Morning I'll Be Gone: Troubles Trilogy, Book 3 (Detective Sean Duffy, Book 3)

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (201)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (184)

    It's the early 1980s in Belfast. Sean Duffy, a conflicted Catholic cop in the Protestant RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), is recruited by MI5 to hunt down Dermot McCann, an IRA master bomber who has made a daring escape from the notorious Maze prison. In the course of his investigations, Sean discovers a woman who may hold the key to Dermot's whereabouts; she herself wants justice for her daughter who died in mysterious circumstances in a pub locked from the inside.

    B.J. says: "Great conclusion to a terrific trilogy."
    "Great conclusion to a terrific trilogy."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Sean Duffy "Troubles Trilogy" books have been incredibly engaging listens - this one exceptionally so. All three books share some elements that make this series unique:

    First, the backdrop of Northern Ireland at the height of its conflicts is so different. I don't think I've ever encountered any writing that makes day-to-day life during that time any clearer. As with any good read, you come out of it knowing more than you did when you started. I'll never be an expert, but at least I have a little more understanding now.

    Second, Sean Duffy is SO flawed and SO likable. Flawed characters are nothing new. But when an author can create one that you actually admire, it's really an accomplishment.

    Third, these are never scripted books with conclusions all wrapped up like a present. The pacing is unexpected. Sometimes McKinty takes you down a path you had no idea would ever enter into the mix. And even when Sean Duffy succeeds, it's not a cinematic win. It's messy. Justice may be served, but it's not tidy.

    Fourth, Gerard Doyle makes this work. If I had read these books in print, I never would have heard the voices quite the same way. He really puts you there and gives life to every character.

    When you add all that together with the cultural references to the early 80s - music, Princess Di, Thatcher, strikers, politics, et al - the result is a lively, thoughtful series that's unusual and very well done.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Jolly Roger: Bloody Jack #3

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By L. A. Meyer
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (547)
    Performance
    (306)
    Story
    (301)

    In the third book of the "Bloody Jack" series, unlikely heroine Jacky Faber, a pirate at heart, returns to the sea in a truly swashbuckling tale filled with good humour, wit, and courage. After leaving the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston--under dire circumstances, of course - Jacky boards a whaling ship bound for London, where she hopes to find her beloved Jaimy. But things don't go as planned, and she is off on a wild misadventure at sea.

    Eileen says: "Best book in the series (so far!)"
    "Like a big bowl of ice cream."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This series is just plain adorable. Katherine Kellgren's narration is worth a credit on its own. She's marvelous as Jacky. Like a big bowl of ice cream, it's a great treat. But, it's not a meal. I've listened to the first three and I'm done.

    As a break in the routine, I've thoroughly enjoyed listening - more because of Kellgren than the rather simplistic plot. But all the talk of mizzen masts and bowsprits makes me long for another listen to the whole Master and Commander series by Patrick O'Brian. With Patrick Tull giving voice to Stephen and Jack, it's a complete meal for sure.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bloody Jack

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By L.A. Meyer
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1071)
    Performance
    (589)
    Story
    (584)

    Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of 18th-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas. There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret.

    Terry says: "Sometimes it clicks"
    "Brava, Katherine! Fabulous narration."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's a Pipi Longstocking element to this book that's adorable. No, it won't make you smarter or add to your understanding of the world. It's just swashbuckling good fun. But the best part of the book is the narration. Really, it should be Example 1 in the "How to narrate a book" tutorial. Katherine Kellgren makes this book what it is. She is Jacky. This is a simply a delightful, entertaining listen.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Follow the River

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By James Alexander Thom
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (264)
    Performance
    (223)
    Story
    (224)

    Mary Ingles was 23, happily married, and pregnant with her third child when Shawnee Indians invaded her peaceful Virginia settlement in 1755 and kidnapped her, leaving behind a bloody massacre. For months they held her captive. But nothing could imprison her spirit. With the rushing Ohio River as her guide, Mary Ingles walked one thousand miles through an untamed wilderness no white woman had ever seen.

    Marie says: "Amazing tale of survival"
    "Horrible treatment of a true story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Can I give this negative stars? I wish I could. It doesn't belong in History or Historical Fiction. The way the author has treated this story makes it a good candidate for Romance. This book is based on the true story of one of history's most remarkable survivors. That the author found a need to put bodice ripper crap in it is criminal.

    I would really love to see a serious non-fiction writer do this subject justice. Cut it by half, skip all the crap and go for facts. Mary Draper Ingles was an amazing woman. Someone needs to really tell her story. And when you're done, get a different narrator.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The White Tiger: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Aravind Adiga
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1757)
    Performance
    (624)
    Story
    (620)

    Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life - having nothing but his own wits to help him along. Through Balram's eyes, we see India as we've never seen it before: the cockroaches and the call centers, the prostitutes and the worshippers, the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger.

    With a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create morality and money doesn't solve every problem.

    Mark P. Furlong says: "Entertaining, thought-provoking, darkly funny"
    "Thoroughly original & deeply disturbing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's interesting when an author can create such a despicable character and make you like him. I think the way the other side of India is presented and the way the character tells his story allows you to see past some behaviors that are reprehensible. The cleverness in the writing buys lots of forgiveness from the reader.

    I understand why this was an award winner. It is a highly creative work. But it is disturbing while you're listening and once it's done. Because of that, it has all the makings of a very good book club book. If you simply take on the writing separate from the story, it would be a great discussion. If you opt to talk about the societal impact of progress, be prepared for a long night.

    And now the narration ... I'm burned out on John Lee. He does an okay job with this book (as he does with the kazillions of others he narrates) and his manufactured accent is consistent. He is a pro. But I would have liked it a lot more if the narrator had been authentic.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Siegfried Knappe, Ted Brusaw
    • Narrated By John Wray
    Overall
    (234)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (210)

    A German soldier during World War II offers an inside look at the Nazi war machine, using his wartime diaries to describe how a ruthless psychopath motivated an entire generation of ordinary Germans to carry out his monstrous schemes.

    Erik says: "An incredible true story"
    "This could have been SO much better."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The positive: This is the first time I've ever read anything that was so personal from a German WWII soldier. I loved the fresh perspective. I didn't anticipate his reaction to some of the events and decisions. So, content (story) gets 4 stars.

    Now let's talk about the narration and audio. To say the narration is flat is an insult to flat things. It is unbearable. Even the lighthearted moments are delivered in that same one-tone voice. And the audio? Whenever the audio needed to be edited, it was done with a clip that didn't match the audio quality of anything before or after. So all of a sudden, you'll hear a sentence that sounds completely different. It's really amateurish and annoying.

    It's really too bad the audio and narration has been this mangled. I think this book would be a great read. Forget listening until it's fixed.

    17 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Imperial Life in the Emerald City

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    Overall
    (487)
    Performance
    (183)
    Story
    (185)

    The Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, takes us into the Green Zone, headquarters for the American occupation in Iraq. In this bubble separated from wartime realities, the task of reconstructing Iraq is in the hands of 20-somethings chosen for their Republican Party loyalty. They pursue irrelevant neoconservative solutions and pie-in-the-sky policies instead of rebuilding looted buildings and restoring electricity, angering the locals and fueling the insurgency.

    Rick Grant says: "A stunning work and performance"
    "Emerald City aka Audacity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I need to say two quick things about this book before I comment on content. #1: Ray Porter is amazing as a narrator. #2: The author does a great job with "just the facts, ma'am" even though his opinions are clear. Look up any number of the things he talks about and you will find supporting facts. I value that with non-fiction.

    This is NOT a feel-good book about America's export of democracy or freeing the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein. It is a harsh look at the mechanical parts of occupation and the responsibility you assume when you decide to take over another country. It's too bad the word "hubris" has already been used by another book. This could have been titled the same way.

    There are many things I do not understand and this book didn't help. How could we as a country allow bridges to fall into rivers due to infrastructure neglect yet support the billions of dollars it took when we decided to rebuild Iraq? How do lawmakers justify their support of the billions of dollars for this and not for education and health care in our own country? When you look for skills during a crisis, why would political party even matter? And what does it take to put down your political party affiliation and just do the right thing?

    There are two particular people in the book who are incredibly effective at carrying out their tasks. Their effectiveness has nothing to do with politics and all to do with pure competence. Reading about them and their M.O. is a great lesson in how to get things done. I was impressed at the odds against them and what they achieved.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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