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Robin Charleston

avid reader

Chicago, IL USA | Member Since 2007

ratings
72
REVIEWS
29
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
32

  • The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Stephen L. Carter
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (79)

    Stephen L. Carter’s thrilling new novel takes as its starting point an alternate history: President Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Two years later he is charged with overstepping his constitutional authority, both during and after the Civil War, and faces an impeachment trial.... Twenty-one-year-old Abigail Canner is a young black woman with a degree from Oberlin and a letter of employment from the law firm that has undertaken Lincoln’s defense....

    Doug says: "Worth It For Serious Readers"
    "Alternative history? Sort of. Good listen? Yes!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    I would put this in the top one-third. I've listened to a LOT of audiobooks, though.


    What other book might you compare The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln to and why?

    I would compare it to a number of mass-appeal civil war/reconstruction histories, also to some alternative history novels.


    What about Paul Boehmer???s performance did you like?

    Good pacing, differentiation among speakers without being artificial or corny.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Revelations towards end about conspiracies.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a fun audiobook for someone who is a bit of a history "nerd" and enjoys alternative histories that are not focused on the intricacies of military theory and or an intimate knowledge of the period covered. I liked it a lot. It is not very much like Carter's other novels, which I also read and enjoyed, in that it has a bit more universal appeal and is not focused on a particular ethnic group and class, but it is equally well written and plotted.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel: Murder, Money, and an Epic Power Struggle in China

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Pin Ho, Wenguang Huang
    • Narrated By James Chen
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    The downfall of Bo Xilai in China was more than a darkly thrilling mystery. It revealed a cataclysmic internal power struggle between Communist Party factions, one that reached all the way to China’s new president Xi Jinping. The scandalous story of the corruption of the Bo Xilai family - the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood; Bo’s secret lovers; the secret maneuverings of Bo’s supporters; the hasty trial and sentencing of Gu Kailai, Bo’s wife - was just the first rumble of a seismic power struggle that continues to rock the very foundation of China’s all-powerful Communist Party.

    Robin Charleston says: "Entertaining but unnecessarily long"
    "Entertaining but unnecessarily long"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Some of the time was well-spent, I suppose, but the book seemed far too long -- padded out with details that were unnecessary to the plot and in some instances irrelevant.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Pin Ho and Wenguang Huang again?

    Maybe.


    What three words best describe James Chen’s voice?

    Neutral, well-paced.


    Do you think A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. Nothing sufficiently incomplete or interesting to warrant follow-up.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Carl Hoffman
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (57)

    The mysterious disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in remote New Guinea in 1961 has kept the world, and even Michael's powerful, influential family, guessing for years. Now, Carl Hoffman uncovers startling new evidence that finally tells the full, astonishing story.

    Melinda says: "'Safe Return Doubtful'"
    "A naive adventurer and his weird fate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. The story is interesting, involves the scion of a rich and famous family, and illustrates the folly of combining wealth and arrogance, even for the food intentions.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Savage Harvest?

    Can't really say without spoiling the plot -- but it's the revelation of what probably happened to the main character.


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    Excellent pacing and voice, did not distract from the content.


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

    Sometimes the assumptions one makes about "primitive" people may prove fatal.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Walter Kirn
    • Narrated By Stephen Bel Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (144)
    Performance
    (126)
    Story
    (125)

    In the summer of 1998, Walter Kirn - then an aspiring novelist struggling with impending fatherhood and a dissolving marriage - set out on a peculiar, fateful errand: to personally deliver a crippled hunting dog from his home in Montana to the New York apartment of one Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector who had adopted the dog over the Internet. Thus began a 15-year relationship that drew Kirn deep into the fun-house world of an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege who ultimately would be unmasked as a brazen serial impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer.

    Sharon says: "Zzzzzzzzzzzzz - this one put me to sleep"
    "Bizarre and interesting in an icky sort of way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Blood Will Out?

    Didn't really love it, but I was fascinated by the gullibility of the narrator/author, the evilness of the main character, and the overall bizarreness of the events that the book recounts.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Most interesting was how thoroughly and devastatingly the villain of the book conned just about everyone.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I didn't really like any of the parts involving the poor dog.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Revelation of how an innocent person was taken advantage of and murdered.


    Any additional comments?

    Just bizarre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wise Man's Fear: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2

    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Patrick Rothfuss
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9798)
    Performance
    (8119)
    Story
    (8192)

    "My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep...."

    Joe says: "Excellent, Imaginative, Beautiful, Page Turning!!!"
    "Highly addictive listening -- top notch"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Wise Man's Fear the most enjoyable?

    Great plot, amusing characters, well-written and well-performed narrative.


    What other book might you compare The Wise Man's Fear to and why?

    The Name of the Wind, of course -- the first book in the series.


    Which character – as performed by Nick Podehl – was your favorite?

    Kvoth I guess.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    The book and the series live up to the already-established reputation as one of the great fantasy series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Red Road: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Denise Mina
    • Narrated By Cathleen McCarron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (77)

    Alex Morrow faces her toughest opponents yet in this brilliant new thriller about criminals, consequences, and convictions. Police detective Alex Morrow has met plenty of unsavory characters in her line of work, but arms dealer Michael Brown ranks among the most brutal and damaged of the criminals she's known. Morrow is serving as a witness in Brown's trial, where the case hinges on his fingerprints found on the guns he sells.

    Bonny says: "Denise Mina does it again"
    "A bit hard to follow, but worth sticking with"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Red Road in three words, what would they be?

    Complicated, character-laden, surprising


    If you’ve listened to books by Denise Mina before, how does this one compare?

    Like the other books in this series, the plot was a bit hard to follow at times. This book's flashbacks were particularly confusing initially, and I mixed up the back stories of some of the characters. (This would only happen when listening; if I were reading I would simply flip back to ascertain who was who.)


    Which character – as performed by Cathleen McCarron – was your favorite?

    The protagonist, Alex Morrow -- smart, sympathetic, tough.


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

    No. I was tempted not to finish it several times.


    Any additional comments?

    This novel features a lot of slow bits and, as I mentioned above, I experienced some character confusion. The narrative and plot did not become compelling for me until I was more than halfway through. At that point I was definitely hooked.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ghost Story

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Peter Straub
    • Narrated By Buck Schirner
    Overall
    (280)
    Performance
    (256)
    Story
    (255)

    For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past - and get away with murder. Peter Straub's classic best seller is a work of "superb horror" (Washington Post Book World) that, like any good ghost story, stands the test of time - and conjures our darkest fears and nightmares.

    Jaimie says: "Great Story! The Best of Peter Straub"
    "Too good for the "horror" label!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Ghost Story the most enjoyable?

    It's a scary story that is beautifully plotted. Having it narrated is a real treat.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The camaraderie of the key characters, and the unfolding story of the evil that pursues them.


    Which character – as performed by Buck Schirner – was your favorite?

    Stella -- even though not a main character.


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

    The worse thing that could happen . . . .


    Any additional comments?

    I have read this book several times over the years. It's my ideal of a scary story, and the audio book version does it justice. Very satisfying.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Back to Blood: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (528)
    Performance
    (434)
    Story
    (438)

    As a police launch speeds across Miami's Biscayne Bay - with officer Nestor Camacho on board - Tom Wolfe is off and running. Here is a big, panoramic story of the new America, as told by our master chronicler of the way we live now. Based on the same sort of detailed, on-scene, high-energy reporting that powered Tom Wolfe's previous best-selling novels, Back to Blood is another brilliant, spot-on, scrupulous, and often hilarious reckoning with our times.

    Cynthia says: "Masterful Story-tel!ing & Great Narration!"
    "A Tom Wolfe Tour de Force!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Back to Blood the most enjoyable?

    Lengthy, meaty plot, snarky tone and point of view.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Back to Blood?

    Opening scene in which protagonist scales a sailboat mast to rescue/capture a refugee.


    What does Lou Diamond Phillips bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Pacing of the reading -- If I just read the book I would be tempted to race ahead and would miss the full impact (and fun) of some of the subplots.


    If you could rename Back to Blood, what would you call it?

    Title is as good as anything that I can think of.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best from Tom Wolfe in a long, long time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Child's Child: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Barbara Vine
    • Narrated By Sarah Coomes
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (34)

    When their grandmother dies, Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling, book-filled London home, Dinmont House. Rather than sell it, the adult siblings move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair - until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend. A devilishly handsome novelist, James Derain resembles Cary Grant, but his strident comments about Grace’s doctoral thesis soon puncture the house’s idyllic atmosphere. When he and Andrew witness their friend’s murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel.

    Yennta says: "Wha?"
    "Perfect pairing of narrator with story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Child's Child?

    Fascinating intertwined plots -- a novel within a novel -- and the narrator's accent and delivery fit the moods of both perfectly.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Child's Child?

    The end of the main (contemporary) story -- jeopardy and resolution.


    What about Sarah Coomes’s performance did you like?

    Accents, changes of pace to evoke characters and plot tempo.


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

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    I will say that the end left me puzzled. I had expected the two plots to be pulled together more in some common resolution than was the case here.

    1 of 1 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
    (2309)
    Performance
    (1971)
    Story
    (1960)

    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"
    "It's Lee Child! Of course it's great!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to A Wanted Man the most enjoyable?

    The plot, the performance, and of course the main character.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Further exploration ot the adventures of Jack Reacher. I can never get enough.


    Have you listened to any of Dick Hill’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes. Just as good as the others.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes -- but I don't want to insert a spoiler. Suffice it to say it was toward the end -- just when I thought that I knew what was going on.


    Any additional comments?

    I would read/listen to anything by this author!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gun Church

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Reed Farrel Coleman
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett, John Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (55)

    Kip Weiler is a self-destructive, washed-up, middle-aged professor. Once a superstar of the literary set, he has bottomed out after years of drinking and not writing anything worth a damn. As the novel begins, he’s teaching classes at a small, rural community college. Kip's talent, money, and chances have just about run out, when he rescues a classroom full of his students from a deranged student gunman who opens fire and takes the class hostage. Things then begin to change for Kip - seemingly for the better....

    Karen says: "Glad I took the chance"
    "Worthwhile because of the performance!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Reed Farrel Coleman and/or Joe Barrett and John Keating ?

    Not sure.


    What was most disappointing about Reed Farrel Coleman’s story?

    Poorly drawn female characters, drawn-out final scene, somewhat unsurprising and unsatisfactory ending, and main character who starts off being being likeable but rapidly grows unsympathetic.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    First visit to the gun church.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Probably not.


    Any additional comments?

    The performance is excellent. If I had been reading this book instead of listening to it, I probably would have flipped to the ending midway through and given up on it.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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