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Michael

ARCADIA, CA, United States | Member Since 2004

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 32 ratings
  • 415 titles in library
  • 26 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
7

  • Circles

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Ruby Standing Deer
    • Narrated By Karen Rose Richter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    With much of the world still undiscovered, a small band of people live a peaceful life, until the dream vision of a young boy, Feather Floating in Water, changes everything. Only nine winters old, Feather's dreams turn his seemingly ordinary childhood into the journey of a lifetime. He must help his people face a terrifying destiny from which they cannot turn away. He must find a way to make his people listen. Bright Sun Flower, the boy's grandmother, guides his beginnings, teaching him about the Circle of Life, and how without it, no life can exist.

    Michael says: "Beautiful coming of age with a touch of fantasy"
    "Beautiful coming of age with a touch of fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this experience. Karen Rose Richter is an accomplished narrator who gives vivid life to these many characters. Her performance is beautiful. Like another reviewer mentioned, her ability to distinguish between genders and all ages, is great, and one never gets confused about who is speaking. Her tone is just right for this story, warm, sometimes funny, but gentle. The story is interesting. I found the book to be like a fable at least in the first half. Feather goes through many incidents and adventures, and he learns lessons from them. Point of view switches when necessary to tell the story that the author wants to tell. So at first it seemed somewhat shallow prose--but that's only if you're comparing it to any other novel you might have read. The depth is in the mix. The second half of the story gets tense and thrilling.

    The spiritual practices and shamanism in the book has a feeling of authenticity, and is described in intricate detail, narratively. I'm not sure, but I think the predictive visions are meant to be fantasy. It is a book that unfolds at its own pace. It is not "a western", or any other distinct genre. Of course, as you're listening, your heart breaks for these wise, gentle people whose way of life is about to be wiped off the face of the earth by history. It was impressive that the wise characters in the story make the point several times that not ALL of the invaders are evil. That they will find friends among them. And then that is demonstrated. That kind of grace is rare in books and in life. While I had minor emotional responses to the first half of the book, the second half pays major dividends. There's so much detail about day to day life, and the spiritual lives of the people, their decisions and thought processes, that the effect becomes profound.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Oasis

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Brian Hodge
    • Narrated By Paul Heitsch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    A golden time - that's what Chris Anderson, his brother Aaron, and their friends expected of that final summer. Freedom, and lazy, pleasure-filled days before the responsibilities of college and career. An idyll in their newfound private place on the shores of three small lakes. But Tri-Lakes is no oasis. A millennium ago it became the focal point of a powerfully malevolent force, and the remnants of an ancient Viking bloodfeud. Hatred is its source. Blood gives it power. And only sacrifice can banish it.

    Angela Fitzgerald says: "Wonderful!!"
    "Twilight of the Gods"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brian Hodge's Oasis is the story of an ancient blood feud between Viking chiefs, one who worships the old gods, and the other who has been converted to Christianity. But that's far in the background, for 3/4 of the book we are treated to an idyllic story of teens coming of age in the Midwest, yearning to discover their adulthoods. This first part of the book reminded me of Summer of Night or Stand By Me, a heartfelt tale of true friendship and bonding in late adolescence. I enjoyed the characters, who were vivid and distinct. Paul Heitsch's narration provides distinction between the characters so that I was never confused about who was speaking. The narration is musical and coherent, which allowed me to see the story played out in my mind's eye, this the experience I want from an audiobook.

    What could have been a potboiler, contemporary fantasy, turned out to pack an emotional punch I was not expecting. So the book stayed with me long after the last chapter ended. This is not Raiders of the Lost Runestone. It displays a keen literary talent, though the story drags somewhat in the middle of the book, when only a few flourishes of the evil awaiting the heroes are shown. It doesn't build like a horror/thriller, but the ending is spectacularly fiery. I recommend this book highly.

    The title seems odd and doesn't compliment the contents of the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Declaring His Genius: Oscar Wilde in North America

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Roy Morris Jr.
    • Narrated By Christa Lewis
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Arriving at the port of New York in 1882, a 27-year-old Oscar Wilde quipped he had "nothing to declare but my genius." But as this sparkling narrative reveals, Wilde was, rarely for him, underselling himself. A chronicle of his sensational eleven-month speaking tour of America, Declaring His Genius offers an indelible portrait of both Oscar Wilde and the Gilded Age. Neither Wilde nor America would ever be the same.

    Michael says: "How Oscar Got His Groove"
    "How Oscar Got His Groove"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brilliant book, brilliant narration. This history is full of character and facts about Oscar Wilde's tour of the U.S. early in his career. It is extraordinarily full of anecdotes and descriptions of encounters Oscar Wilde had with the luminaries of his day, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Ward Beecher, Walt Whitman, Jefferson Davis, and many others. Also revealing was that Wilde, far from being a mere aesthete prancing about in knickers and dancing slippers, was a man of substance, who knew how to navigate the waters of class (the Miners of Leadville, CO come to mind), and treat even those who were contemptuous of him with dignity and respect. The force of this book is in the visceral way the reader is allowed to understand how the American Tour changed Wilde for the better, which gave him a backbone of iron, and changed his sensibilities. There was one Oscar Wilde before America, and a different Oscar Wilde after. This book reveals how that happened, with a joyful wit worthy of its estimable subject. Christa Lewis narrates with a gentle touch, and a wry sense of humor at moments that increase ones appreciation of the ironical positions Wilde finds himself in throughout his experiences. Brilliant narration. Only scant mentions are made of the scandal which looms in Oscar's future. And these are done only to serve the narrative, and not because of any salacious intent. I recommend the book to everyone. 7 hours in the contemplation of beauty and the beautiful is a treat for the soul.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spider and Stone: A Forgotten Realms Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jaleigh Johnson
    • Narrated By Pearl Hewitt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Lolth - patron deity of the drow, Spider Queen, regent of the Demon Web Pits - has once again stirred the dark elves into roiling aggression against the rest of Faern, reveling in the chaos born from her dark schemata. This is the Rise of the Underdark. In Iltkazar, the last subterranean kingdom of the once resplendent dwarven realm of Shanatar, King Mith Barak faces a siege of drow soldiers, spies, and assassins looking to seize the powerful city and the ancient magical artifacts hidden there.

    Michael says: "Brilliantly told story, brilliantly narrated."
    "Brilliantly told story, brilliantly narrated."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I very much enjoyed listening to this book. I think Pearl Hewitt is one of the best of the best narrating books these days. Her characterizations are varied and emotionally evocative without becoming too overly dramatic -- very nice, pleasant delivery that invites me to become fully immersed in the story. I don't want technical fireworks, I just want the story, and Pearl delivers. The novel itself: I've only read a few of these WotC tie-ins, and I don't like stories that take place completely underground. That said, Jaleigh Johnson does a fantastic job of making sense of this world and structuring a dramatic, engaging plot. The characters (which are hers, and not WotC's at least to the best of my knowledge) are fully motivated by personal backstory and interesting. The wild spell scar magic is dramatic, as is the climax of the novel which features two stunning twists I did not see coming. I strongly recommend this book. I do not like all the game nomenclature--but that will be a strong plus for some readers. The battles are vividly described and narrated with coherence and flair. I strongly recommend this book for those interested in Drow and the Forgotten Realms.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Race for the Dying: A Dr. Thomas Parks Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Steven F. Havill
    • Narrated By Chris Andrew Ciulla
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    A newly minted graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1890, Dr. Thomas Parks heads to the big timber country of Puget Sound to practice trauma medicine. An hour after stepping off the boat, he's nearly crushed to death by a less-than-sure-footed mule and finds himself a patient rather than a physician. As he convalesces, he discovers that his host, a venerable physician friend of his father's, is running an elaborate medical scam, selling worthless concoctions nationwide, with enormous sales.

    Michael says: "Good Story, Energetically Told"
    "Good Story, Energetically Told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What does Chris Andrew Ciulla bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Chris Andrew Ciulla brings life to these characters vividly and energetically. I enjoyed his performance, he has a fresh, youthful sound, which was just right for the main character, Dr. Parks. He does a fine job of distinguishing between the many characters and keeping their voices consistent, as well as making the female characters sound believable. He handles the 1890s idiom perfectly. After getting used to his rhythm I saw it all in my mind's eye--which is exactly what I want from an audiobook.


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

    Saw 101: Snake Oil


    Any additional comments?

    The book was compelling and interesting. I was immersed in the story after the first few chapters, and I cared about what happened to the characters. I would have liked a little more sense of place, as I lived 30 years in the Pac NW, and I only got a little bit of description--but that's a matter of personal taste.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Throat

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Peter Straub
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (80)

    Tim Underhill, now an acclaimed novelist, travels back to his home - town of Millhaven, Illinois after he gets a call from John Ransom, an old army buddy. Ransom believes there’s a copycat killer on the loose, mimicking the Blue Rose murders from decades earlier - he thinks his wife could be a potential victim. Underhill seeks out his friend Tom Pasmore, an aging hermit who has attained minor celebrity as an expert sleuth, to help him investigate. They quickly discover that Millhaven is a town plagued by horrifying secrets....

    Gerald says: "Very enjoyable culmination of Mystery & Koko"
    "Straub is Superb"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Throat the most enjoyable?

    The story. Narration is also very good. The midwest accents are spot on. It takes a moment to get used to the TV Weatherman type of narrative delivery, but that sense soon passes. His dialogue is consistently excellent. I can always tell when a different character is speaking, and that's all I need.


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

    The plot is a slow accretion of character elements and events that accumulate into a story that involves many lives, with threads that lead in many directions and incidents from decades past. It is a novel you can brood about and parse and enjoy just thinking about. The characters are very real and authentic. The conflicts are external and internal. It is everything you want in a novel.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    All of the scenes from Tim Underhill's point of view regarding Vietnam. Especially the body detail scenes.


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

    The Heart of Darkness is closer than you think.


    Any additional comments?

    Other reviewers are unfairly critical of Patrick Lawlor's performance. Give it half a chance already.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just After Sunset: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King, Jill Eikenberry, Holter Graham, Geor
    Overall
    (1053)
    Performance
    (397)
    Story
    (401)

    Just After Sunset - call it dusk, call it twilight, it's a time when human intercourse takes on an unnatural cast, when nothing is quite as it appears, when the imagination begins to reach for shadows as they dissipate to darkness and living daylight can be scared right out of you. It's the perfect time for Stephen King.

    J says: "King scores another coup"
    "Just Brilliant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Just After Sunset?

    Stephen King has developed a sense of grace and wisdom in his writing now.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Just After Sunset?

    The Things they Left Behind


    Any additional comments?

    One of the things I didn't like about Stephen King's writing, at least before his retirement, was his prolixity, which gave everything the same weight. I gave up reading halfway through Lisey's Story. But this collection is downright brilliant. Emotional, real. Taut and graceful, like a highwire act. Several deeply felt moments. I'm loving every second. His best writing bar none, since Hearts in Atlantis.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: From the Secret Files of Harry Pennypacker

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Michael B. Druxman
    • Narrated By Scott O' Neill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a revisionist history of Hollywood's Golden Era and the tabloid press that covered it. Harry Pennypacker was a prolific and revered newspaper columnist; a colleague of Louella Parsons, Walter Winchell, and the other great columnists of the day.

    Unfortunately, nobody has ever heard of him because the papers never ran his articles. They were too hot. Too dangerous. Too likely to tarnish the delicate image of silver screen icons. The newspaper syndicate couldn't fire him because he had an ironclad contract, so Pennypacker wrote his stories...and the editors buried them. Until now.

    Vanessa says: "Don't. Just don't."
    "Shocking Hollywood Scandal that Never Was"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood again? Why?

    For Scott O'Neill's brilliant performance.


    What other book might you compare Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to and why?

    This is like Hollywood Babylon meets the National Lampoon.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Lon Chaney scene


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. And it's possible because it's so short.


    Any additional comments?

    The text is packed with fun and humor, and Scott O'Neill brings it to vivid life. He has a ratatat delivery reminiscent of the old newsreels, but then provides a unique voice for each character being interviewed. Mr. O'Neill can claim the title "the Man of 1,000 Voices" (there were really only 69, but who's counting?) Laugh out loud moments abound in this feast of hilarity.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares: Novellas and Stories of Unspeakable Dread

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Joyce Carol Oates
    • Narrated By Adam Verner, Christine Williams
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    An incomparable master storyteller in all forms, in The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares Joyce Carol Oates spins six imaginative tales of suspense. The Corn Maiden is the gut-wrenching story of Marissa, a beautiful and sweet, but somewhat slow, eleven-year-old girl with hair the color of corn silk. Her single mother comes home one night to find her missing and panics, frantically knocking on the doors of her neighbors.

    Michael says: "Very Unsettling"
    "Very Unsettling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares the most enjoyable?

    The writing.


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

    Yes. The pacing is remarkable, which JCO manages through point of view. Nobody gets deeper into character and motivations than Joyce Carol Oates.


    Have you listened to any of Adam Verner and Christine Williams ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    If you could rename The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares, what would you call it?

    If You Have a Twin, Run!


    Any additional comments?

    I've been a fan of JCO for many years. This is a strong collection, but not her best. I'm still always floored by her gift for incident and apt words. As always you have to piece together the story--she doesn't spoonfeed you. You understand the story only after it's done, because she's so close to point of view. The characters stumble and grope. It's like life.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lost Light: Harry Bosch Series, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Len Cariou
    Overall
    (2526)
    Performance
    (1033)
    Story
    (1049)

    Four years ago, LAPD detective Harry Bosch was on a movie set, asking questions about the murder of a young production assistant, when an armored car arrived with $2 million cash for use in a heist scene. In a life-imitates-art firestorm, a gang of masked men converged on the delivery and robbed the armored car with guns blazing. The crime was never resolved, and the young woman's murder was in the stack of unsolved-case files Bosch carried home the night he left the LAPD.

    Harris says: "Dashel Hammet Redux"
    "Brilliant, Incisive, an Absolute Pleasure!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Lost Light: Harry Bosch Series, Book 9 to be better than the print version?

    Don't know. I never read--just listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The character of Harry Bosch is likeable, wise and moral. The political subplot is current and topical. Harry has problems, but they never compromise his better judgment. He doesn't have to go through hell to get his point across. (Though his problems are problematic!)


    What about Len Cariou’s performance did you like?

    Everything. Cariou's delivery is exquisite, perfect. He captures character more in attitude than inflection and that keeps me from getting confused. He doesn't overact, and trusts the text. He's a brilliant reader. (I've been a fan for many, many years, but this is all true). I hope he reads other titles by Connelly


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

    Homeland Insecurity.


    Any additional comments?

    This is my first Michael Connelly novel. Impressive writing skills. Brilliant technique. I enjoyed it immensely and will return for many more servings I can assure you! The flow, the pacing, the tension, the action, it was all great. He revealed details and clues masterfully. I noticed one extremely minor technical mistake in the LA demographics, but hey, nobody's perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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