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  • 29 reviews
  • 338 ratings
  • 152 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2018

  • The Graveyard Book

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman

    When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family.

    Felicity Fairchild says: "A book by Neil Gaiman"
    "Wonderful story, brilliant writing and narration"

    I read this after being tormented by the mediocre pulp of "Game of Thrones" and "Red Mars". What a relief to return to a real writer and storyteller, and one who can narrate his own work brilliantly as well. An enchanting story, believable and captivating characters, real imagination of an offbeat world so masterfully painted that you don't hesitate to suspend disbelief to enjoy it. The only downside is the fact that most of Gaiman's books are blacklisted by Audible's narrow-minded publishers, available only to listeners in the USA.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Duma Key: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By John Slattery
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A terrible accident takes Edgar Freemantle's right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation. When his marriage suddenly ends, Edgar begins to wish he hadn't survived his injuries. He wants out. His psychologist suggests a new life distant from the Twin Cities, along with something else.

    OldDog says: "Play the Book and Let the Book Play You"
    "First half good, second half sucks"

    This is one of those books that gets off to an excellent start and then just dies on you. In this case it seems to be because the author changed his mind about what kind of book he was going to write around half way through. In the first half it looked as though after his accident, King really wanted to write a thoughtful, personal book about the process of recovery and reevaluating your life, and he does this really well. If he had gone on with this it could have been a really good book.

    Even in the first half of the book lots of the characters need a little more work -- for example, it got to the point that every time Wireman said "Hey muchacho" I wanted to kick someone. A good editor would smack his author for that, I guess if you're Steven King your editor doesn't dare any more. In real life people who do that are tools; normally they only appear in TV advertising. What makes this really annoying is knowing that King can do this a lot better if he wants to. After all, he wrote one of the best books around on good writing, but here he breaks all the rules.

    Then things go downhill very badly. King suddenly remembers, "Hey, I write horror stories," and decides to switch genres. Unfortunately, the horror story is awful. It has a kind of Fifties B-movie quality, and is about as scary as the 585th episode of Scooby Doo. Strangely, all the psychologically insightful observation apparent in the first half disappears, replaced by a kind of macho-like macho hero revenge story. I suffered through it dutifully to the end but it just didn't get any better.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett

    Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys – best friends – are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.

    Maxine Fuentes says: "Wonderful"
    "Unfortunately dull"

    I have loved John Irving's books in the past, especially Garp and the Cider House Rules, but like Widow for a Year this one was a big disappointment. I tried very hard to like it and it has its good points -- the writing is beyond reproach, as always -- but the bottom line is that it is horribly dull. It seems that like many very successful writers, Irving has fallen into the trap of believing that everything that comes from his pen must be outstanding because it comes from his pen. Unfortunately, it just ain't so. Owen Meany is padded with so much dull, plodding exposition that contributes nothing to the story line or the characters and does nothing to keep your attention that ultimately, reading this book is a chore.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Doomsday Book

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies - it's the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong.

    mudcelt says: "Timely, beautiful, terrible and haunting"
    "Desperately in need of editing"

    There are a lot of TV documentaries nowadays that take a tiny snippet of real information that could easily be covered in five minutes and stretch it out for an hour or more. Connie Willis' writing is like that, but in the reading it stretches to 26 hours.

    Sadly, she's actually quite a good writer, with reasonably good ideas, she just has no sense whatsoever of when suspense has reached a point where it needs to be resolved. Instead, she tortures her readers for hours by holding out a carrot of some revelation that never comes, forcing them to slog their way through the molasses of page after page after page of filler material without any real content, that contributes nothing at all to the progress or understanding of the story.

    I have always considered abridging to be a crime against literature, but in this case it is a crime that this book was not abridged. At least two thirds of it is wholly extraneous and could be slashed without any loss at all. Many passages could be cut from ten pages to two paragraphs and the result would be much, much better.

    The fact that this book was published in this form is probably more the fault of the editors than the author. Many writers produce first drafts as bad as this, it's the job of the editor to tell them as gently as possible that it has the makings of a very good book -- and it does -- but that to be more readable there needs to be less of it.

    Or as Mark Twain said, the art of good writing is knowing what to leave in the pen.

    9 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Michio Kaku
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this thrilling journey into the mysteries of our cosmos, best-selling author Michio Kaku takes us on a dizzying ride to explore black holes and time machines, multidimensional space and, most tantalizing of all, the possibility that parallel universes may lay alongside our own.

    Robert says: "Don't be afraid"
    "Fascinating and illuminating"

    This is one of the best and most comprehensible books on this subject I have ever read -- almost all of it was absolutely fascinating. The only place it falls down is when the Kaku starts to speculate, or rather fantasize, about the future, then it just gets silly. Those chapters could have been left out and the book would have been much better. He does also suffer from the "Now we know everything" illusion that has been putting blinders on thinkers since the dawn of human history.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Friend of the Family

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Lauren Grodstein
    • Narrated By Rick Adamson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Pete Dizinoff never counted on a wild card: Laura, his best friend's daughter - 10 years older than his son, Alec, and irresistibly beautiful, with a past so shocking that it's never spoken of. When Laura sets her sights on Alec, Pete sees his plans for his son not just unraveling but being destroyed. Believing he has only the best of intentions, he sets out to derail this romance and rescue his son. He could never have foreseen how his world would shatter in the process.

    Susan says: "Interesting read"
    ""Second-rate" would be undeserved praise"

    This audio book is sub-standard in every way: It's badly written with a cookie-cutter plot and stereotypes instead of characters and the narration is awful. I struggled through a couple of hours and then gave up, if I had the choice I'd rather watch paint dry.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Mote in God's Eye

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
    • Narrated By L J Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Mote In God's Eye is their acknowledged masterpiece, an epic novel of mankind's first encounter with alien life that transcends the genre. No lesser an authority than Robert A. Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read".

    J. Rhoderick says: "A great read!"
    "Good but greatly overrated"

    Like many others I bought this after hearing Jerry Pournelle on TWiT and Leo Laporte's constant gushy praise of it. Jerry and Leo are both nice guys, but this book never goes beyond mediocre at best. The story is slow and predictable, the characters are wooden and two-dimensional and the writing is just awful. The politics never get beyond primitive jingoistic militarism. I'm going to finish it, but I really wish I hadn't bothered.

    0 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire: The Millennium Series, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to publish a story exposing an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government. On the eve of publication, the two reporters responsible for the story are brutally murdered.

    David says: "irritatingly engrossing"

    The first book in the series was a solid thriller and quite entertaining, particularly as the story was quite unusual. This one feels unfinished, and it's really a chore to read it. Everything sounds long-winded and forced, and the author's high-horse moralistic pontificating starts off by being annoying and gets more and more obtrusive as the story goes on. This is made absurd and a little disturbing by the salivating glee and intensity with which he portrays the "evil perverts" that he claims to be combating. Strangely, these characters have much more humanity and force than all his good characters combined. I constantly got the feeling that these were the people that the author was really secretly identified with, as though the book was really an inner battle attempting to atone for his own dark side. Combined with the boring story I found this a major turn-off, given the subject material, and eventually gave up.

    8 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    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"
    "Tedious, verbose, inconsequential"

    Another man with a word processor who just can't stop typing. Someone once said that if you make a movie over three hours long you'd better be David Lean. In the same vein, if you write a book of this kind that's this long, you'd better be J.R.R. Tolkien, or at least Martha Mitchell. Unfortunately, Martin is neither, despite the cutesy "R.R." in his moniker. if you can't tell the difference between World of Warcraft and Tolkien you might actually enjoy this book. Otherwise, don't waste your time.

    7 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Red Mars

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Kim Stanley Robinson
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel, Red Mars is the first book in Kim Stanley Robinson's best-selling trilogy. Red Mars is praised by scientists for its detailed visions of future technology. It is also hailed by authors and critics for its vivid characters and dramatic conflicts.

    For centuries, the red planet has enticed the people of Earth. Now an international group of scientists has colonized Mars. Leaving Earth forever, these 100 people have traveled nine months to reach their new home. This is the remarkable story of the world they create - and the hidden power struggles of those who want to control it.

    David says: "The first Mars colony"
    "Well researched, needs work by a real writer"

    Some books are long for a reason. This isn't one of them. You could remove two thirds of the words from Red Mars without losing anything. The background of hard science is excellent and fascinating but Robinson can't write his way out of a paper bag. He can't create characters, can't do dialog, can't plot and writes love scenes like a 14-year-old. If it could be completely reworked by someone who can write this could be an excellent book.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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