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Mark

English Lit BA highest honors UC Berkeley, 1974. Listening to books for pleasure or education is fun and it separates good writing from bad.

Tempe, AZ, United States | Member Since 2006

ratings
257
REVIEWS
13
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
13

  • The Book of Air and Shadows: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Michael Gruber
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (403)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (80)

    Jake Mishkin's seemingly innocent job as an intellectual property lawyer has put him at the center of a deadly conspiracy and a chase to find a priceless treasure involving William Shakespeare. As he awaits a killer (or killers) unknown, Jake writes an account of the events that led to this deadly endgame, a frantic chase that began when a fire in an antiquarian bookstore revealed the hiding place of letters containing a shocking secret, concealed for 400 years.

    Nicholas Winn says: "Not your average story."
    "Post-Modern Pollution"
    Overall

    This is some of the most self-indulgent prose I've seen (heard) in a while. He has the elements of a good story buried in the whiney narration. Because of the self-conscious feel, it seems like it was written by the Lit. professor rather than the attorney.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    Overall
    (25129)
    Performance
    (19009)
    Story
    (19074)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "Spoiler Alert"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This yarn fairly bristles with hooks and dragged me along kicking and screaming by the time I had finished this book. And still had to go on to read the next 4. I want to go and throttle G. R.R.Martin for killing off his best characters, while the worst thrive; that's too much like real life, not fiction.

    Dotrice's characterizations are nothing short of phenomenal, but it must be allowed that Martin's narrative skills of description, setting and tone are themselves top notch. Martin's inventiveness is terrific.

    So although these novels have been very frustrating for me, I am eagerly awaiting the next one: after all, in for a penny, in for a pound!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Holy Bible: King James Version

    • UNABRIDGED (77 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Remnant Publications
    • Narrated By Eric Martin
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (2)

    Listen as the King James Bible comes alive through the award-winning narration of Eric Martin. Now you can enjoy the spoken Word almost anywhere: traveling in the car or by plane, subway, or train; while exercising; working around the house; or even in your favorite recliner. Listening to the Bible is like having a personal conversation with God. Your devotional life will never be the same!

    Mark says: "The Greatest Stories Ever Told"
    "The Greatest Stories Ever Told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The greatest stories ever told by the worst narrator in the world. The man could lull a hungry cobra to sleep.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Angelopolis

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Danielle Trussoni
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (63)

    A decade has passed since Verlaine saw Evangeline alight from the Brooklyn Bridge, the sight of her new wings a betrayal that haunts him still. Now an elite angel hunter for the Society of Angelology, he pursues his mission with single-minded devotion: to capture, imprison, and eliminate her kind. But when Evangeline suddenly appears on a twilit Paris street, Verlaine finds her nature to be unlike any of the other creatures he so mercilessly pursues, casting him into a spiral of doubt and confusion that only grows when she is abducted before his eyes....

    Pam says: "Deeper mysteries"
    "Weak Sequel; Schmuck Hero"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How is the world going to survive with the impulsive love-sick idiot Verlaine leading the angelologists? The most rash hero since Achilles; he makes psoriasis look healthy. Every other character in the book is interesting; I want to kick him. Is Ms. Trussoni in love with his original like some Pygmalion? It's hard to figure, because he basically drags the book from a strong 3 - 4 star to a 2.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2567)
    Performance
    (2365)
    Story
    (2365)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Tango says: "Enchanting Debut Novel - Delicious!"
    "The Qabballah Collides With The Desert Demi-God"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an only in New York City story; with the press of pre-WWI immigration from the Middle-East and Eastern Europe could two such unlikely beings, who are only human in form, meet.

    The imaginative sparks this meeting and Ms. Wecker's plot(s) sets off, and the tremendous cast of characters, keeps this deep and richly textured novel, with Mr. Guidall's always wonderful narration, marvelously entertaining.

    One star off; I would have tightened it up quite a bit if I had been the editor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Monster Hunter International

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6873)
    Performance
    (6067)
    Story
    (6062)

    Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a 14th story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.

    Konstantin says: "Suprizingly entertaining"
    "Not My Cuppa"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book disturbed my sleep. Monsteriferous bloodbaths, I've found, are not my thing. That is all this book is. Correia's other series had some redeeming features, the alternate present, better characters, but this - oy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Douglas A. Blackmon
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (246)
    Performance
    (169)
    Story
    (171)

    In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history - an Age of Neoslavery that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II.

    Roy says: "Will Take Your Breath Away"
    "Steel Yourself"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story of how the US let itself and its African-American people down after Reconstruction and Emancipation is more nasty and bitter than the Civil War itself. All the Civil War ended up doing was preventing the spread of slavery to the new territories and states. Once the US Army left, the racist White Supremacist southerners found clever new ways of re-instituting their hateful practice of getting cheap labor, and their sadistic jollies at the same time.

    I am conservative as they come, but if anybody tells you that Affirmative Action or Reparations are wrong, I will hereafter reply that they are a blunt instrument, but not half so blunt as those which beat upon the backs of the Grandfathers, and Great-Grandfathers of my African-American fellows.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Wanted Man: A Jack Reacher Novel, Book 17

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2331)
    Performance
    (1990)
    Story
    (1979)

    Four people in a car, hoping to make Chicago by morning. An hour behind them, a man lies stabbed to death in an old pumping station. He was seen going in with two others, but he never came out. He has been executed, the knife work professional, the killers vanished. Within minutes, the police are notified. Within hours, the FBI descends, laying claim to the victim without ever saying who he was or why he was there. All Reacher wanted was a ride to Virginia. All he did was stick out his thumb. But he soon discovers he has hitched more than a ride.

    Bill says: "Wanted Man is Wanting ~ And I Want 14 Hours Back"
    "Jack Fights the Cobwebs"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having the FBI as the antagonist in a Reacher novel gives us a very un-concrete un-villainous villain. Not one that inspires passionate hatred in Reacher. Although Mr. Child, being a Brit may see these agencies as being the ultimate 'dark side'. I'll have to wait and see.

    Dick Hill brings his great gifts to a story without much momentum, and tries his level best to give it some of the old Reacher swagger, but I think the material fails him. There is only so much narration can do.

    Others have thought that Lee Child's gifts may be dwindling, I ( hope) and say, nay, nay, in the last two novels he has had these U.S. governmental villains. He's done such great work before, with such believable villains. But if this is all we get in the next ones; it's so long Reacher, it's been really nice hanging out with you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In Session: Dr. Morgan Snow with Steve Berry's Cotton Malone, Lee Child's Jack Reacher & Barry Eisler's John Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 44 mins)
    • By M. J. Rose
    • Narrated By Natalie Ross, Phil Gigante, Scott Brick, and others
    Overall
    (1034)
    Performance
    (841)
    Story
    (864)

    As a therapist specializing in sexual issues, psychiatrist Dr. Morgan Snow isn't easily shocked, or shaken, as readers of the popular "Butterfield Institute" novels know. There are times, however, when the need for her services leads her out of the office... and into unfamiliar worlds. In these stories, the therapist matches her wits -and her training - against three men of mystery: Jack Reacher, John Rain, and Cotton Malone.

    Rose says: "Thank you for the free story, however........"
    "Analyze This!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The concept of psychotherapy for these hard-asses is very funny. The fact that it is a woman psychotherapist who self confidently believes that her analytic style just might yield better results than the practitioners of violence, and certainly without so much collateral damage adds to the tension. And then you have the sexual tension. Dr. Snow is not embarrassed to use all the tools at her disposal to straighten out these psycho-killers.

    By the end she's only straightened out one thing on each. . .this was an entertaining listen; but don't make this your one credit for the month. It disappeared on a puff of wind.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pawn

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Steven James
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    Overall
    (184)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (112)

    Steven James' Christy Award-nominated crime thriller pits FBI Special Agent Bowers against a serial killer who enjoys torturing women. After visiting the mountain vistas where the murderer posed his dead victims, Bowers receives a taunting call from the "Illusionist." Although Bowers gets close, his insidious foe continues to elude him.

    Bill says: "Entertaining Enough, But Don't Listen Too Closely"
    "A Nasty Piece of Work"
    Overall

    If you are into hunting down killers who have offered the reader/listener really vile and despicable descriptions of gruesome slasher scenes you might like this. Truly repugnant.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil’s Redhead

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By David Corbett
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Freelance photographer and wildcat smuggler Dan Abatangelo blows into Vegas to hit the tables and taste the night life. In his path waits Shel Beaudry, a knockout redhead with a smile that says, "Gentlemen, start your engines." The attraction is instant - and soon the two are living the gypsy life on the West Coast, where Dan captains a distribution ring for premium Thai marijuana, His credo: "No guns, no gangsters, it's only money." But the trade is changing.

    Mary says: "The Devil's Redhead"
    "Unfulfilled Promise"
    Overall

    David Corbett had the plot elements of both an Elmore Leonard caper novel and an Oprah book club weeper. He couldn't decide which one he was going to write, and the book doesn't work either way. Instead he gives us throw away political correctness of the Northern California school and turns "The Devil's Redhead" herself into helpless trailer trash.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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